“Guys go for looks / Girls go for status”
The Hold Steady
I begin this review wanting to tear this film a new one (I know, making a statement like this in a review for what most consider the most perfect children’s film ever made). Maybe it’s the few dark ‘n stormy’s that I had at a company party before I started writing, maybe it’s the pact I just made with Pixar, or maybe it’s the counter culture music I’m listening to (Talking Heads, well… currently). I think I am spoiled by Pixar with their more true character complexities. Yes, I’m talking about depth. But did I still cry at the end? Yes. Do I still love the film? Yes. Do I now feel differently about the film after film school ruined my brain? YES.
Now here is where I usually give a brief synopsis, but if you have not seen this film already you live under a rock and are not reading this, or you may be one of those Disney haters and I can respect that (while I don’t agree). So we open to see the Little Mermaid two years later (cough. cough. cough). Beauty and the Beast is based on an18th-century short story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont that has been reshaped and re-purposed for a modern audience. The film constructs a new background story concerning a flawed prince who casts off the cries for help from an old woman only to realize that she is in reality a witch who places a hex on him, morphing him into a repugnant animal. The Little Mermaid, I mean The Beast lives in isolation in a large, looming castle, surrounded by the castle’s staff, which have also been cursed and turned into various domestic objects like a candelabra (that’s right I know what that is), a clock, and a teapot (voiced by Angela effing Landsbury).
My film school education would train me to say, the film is about the choice of this dude or that dude. Belle doesn’t care to end up with the super-chinned Gaston because he wants a slave for a wife. In the meantime, she falls for a irritable animal, except is it any accident that he showers her with gifts the entire time? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is about a shallow woman rejecting one shallow man for a different one who happens to be hideous enough to enable her judgment. Gaston is the only character sincere with himself in this crooked, sanctimonious endeavor, which rewards Belle’s fortitude by having Beast regress to a chiseled Aryan in the conclusion. (this was proof that I can hate on anything). But, in argument to my film school education, this film was a game changer. Beauty and the Beast carried on with Disney’s long tradition of exceptional hand-drawn animation, also further developing the invasion of computer animation to provide the movie visuals that was all but unattainable a decade previous.
Right now I stand somewhere between these two arguments.
Audio Commentary: Producer and directors discuss the Special Extended edition. It’s a thoroughly engaging and informative track that should not be missed.
Sing Along Track: I drunkenly belted out “Be Our Guest.” I think the teapot had a little something extra in it.
Beyond Beauty: feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary. This was far longer than the film.
Deleted Scenes: I hate deleted scenes. They wind up on the cutting room floor for a reason.
Music Video: Jordan Sparks performs “Beauty and the Beast.” FML.
Bonjour – Who Is This?: I could not figure this out.
Enchanted Musical Challenge: A much easier trivia game.
Right now I think my brain is in the way of me enjoying this film like I should. My future wife is a bit pissed about my current reception of the film and this hails one of her all time favorites.
Beauty and the Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)
is available at Amazon.com and other retailers.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: Two talking inanimate objects out of five.
Review by Bro’ B – Ben
Note from Broad “Z” – I think that Bro’ B may have gone over the edge on this one!!
We received a copy for our DVD review. All opinions are (obviously) our own.