Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

A film that gives a new take on the tale as old as time.
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So on Friday, I got off of work around 3 o'clock and started to walk home when I decided on impulse, I'd go see a movie since the theatre was right across the street. I was intitially conflicted between seeing The Shack and Beauty and the Beast, and I decided since I'm still reading The Shack, I'd go see Beauty and the Beast, AND IT WAS FANTASTIC. `

I had my skepticism when I was going into the theater, as I do with most remakes nowadays, I didn't know if they were going to mimic the entire original Disney film, or they were going to be completely original, and the cynical guy in me said it would never live up to the animated Disney film of the same name.

Well... it came really close.

What I saw was a film that didn't only have amazing visuals, and an A-List cast, but also a beautiful homage to the original film and even a more loyal adaptation to the story its based on.

If anyone doesn't know the story I'll give you a quick synopsis.

Belle is a beautiful girl who lives with her father in a little French village. She loves books and has a sense of adventure, probably from the stories she reads, and makes her the girlfriend I always wanted. But anyway, her father is a merchant of the sorts and is going on his next business trip, but not before promising Belle to bring her a rose. However, he gets lost in the woods and comes across a mysterious castle. He at first attempts to seek shelter but he is scared out of the castle by the household objects that are alive. On his way out of the castle, he passes into the courtyard and takes one of the roses off the vine. He is then caught by the owner of a castle, The Beast.

Time passes by and Belle becomes worried as there was no news heard from her father, so she ventures out to find him, stumbling across the castle as well. He finds his father imprisoned by the beast and exchanges her freedom for his. So her father is free to go, but she is never to leave the castle again.

The Beast was actually a young handsome Prince with a cold shallow heart. One night, he refused to let an elderly beggar spend the night in the castle in exchange for a beautiful rose. The elderly beggar turns into a beautiful whitch and put a spell on him and the rest of the castle's occupants. The Beast must learn to love people for who they are, and have a beautiful woman fall in love with her in return.

We'll that is exactly what happens. Meanwhile, the handsome but shallow Gaston, through the power of good looks, rallies the townspeople to lock up Belle's dad, and go to the castle where he plans to kill the Beast so he can marry Belle.

As I said, it is the exact same story as the original classic, but more loyal to the written tale of it. This film has alot to be praised for.

Let me first start by saying that the visuals were beautiful to look at. There was a lot of passion but into the cinematography. One the things I am usualy critical of in movies is the over use of CGI. There are times in many films where the CGI is more then obvious and it takes me out of the film, but here is an exception. The CGI effects are almost unnoticable and when they are, it works with the surreal atmosphere the film creates.

The soundtrack is another plus. All the classic songs we came to know and love from the original version are here, with a song that only featured in the Broadway musical. The songs are almost note for note, with the lyrics altered just slightly to give a more modern take on the tale.

The casting is perfect. Emma Watson gave an all around, perfect performance of Belle. She really surprised me with her vocal talant. The moment she started singing, it sent chills down my spine out of amazement. I knew from the opening song, that I was in for an experience. I didn't even know she could sing! Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian McKellan gave comical performances as Lumire and Coggsworth. Emma Thompson gave a spectacular performance as Mrs. Pots when she sang the theme song. Not as good as Angela Lansbury from the original, but it came very close. Kevin Kline gave a very interesting take on Belle's father. I could literally go one forever on how wonderful the cast was, but then this article would take too long.

If there is one criticism I have with the film, it felt slightly rushed. Scenes went by a little too fast, and there were moments where it felt a little out of place. But considering this was meant for kids, and you got to keep their attention, I let it slide. It isn't very noticeable and maybe its just because I am 20 and I expect movies to be longer. That's just me. It's still a wonderful film.

This is probably one of the best Disney remakes I've seen. I'm still unable to forgive them for remaking Pete's Dragon. Seriously, the older version is better.

Anyway... Beauty and the Beast is an amazing film. If you're grew up with the original film, you'll love this one as well. And I gaurntee a whole new generation will fall in love with this tale as old as time.

I am happy to give this film a 4 out of 5 stars.


Cover Image Credit: GOOGLE IMAGES

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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