Controversy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
When I heard that Disney was going to be doing a live action Beauty and the Beast film, I was, of course, extraordinarily excited. Although I’ve only seen the animated film once, and I’m not a huge fan of Disney Princess movies anyway, I loved the 2015 Cinderella film, which was absolutely brilliant. So, of course, I was on the edge of my seat to see if Disney could pull it off again.
And then I heard about the controversy. I’d been planning to spend some time with a couple of my friends from church and go to see the movie together, but what I heard made me hesitate. Beauty and the Beast, according to its director, contains Disney’s first gay character. Of course, controversy immediately exploded. Many Christian families decided to boycott the movie. Disney had betrayed them, they said. They were politicizing a supposedly family film, they said, making it into just another part of the normalization agenda. In part, having seen the film with my eyes open for said agenda, I have to agree.
Partially, at least.
But, here’s the thing: If nobody had said anything, I think all the ‘exclusive gay moment’ and LGBT innuendo stuff, if that’s what its intended to be, would have been, for the most part, lost on the majority of the audience. Even the ‘cross-dressing joke’ comes off as more silly and goofy than as a real statement. The only real thing I had any problems with was the final grand ballroom dance scene, which closes the film, where Le Fou, the supposedly gay character, is shown dancing with a male partner, while everyone else is paired off male-and-female. The thing is, the shot is literally about two seconds long, and if this one two second shot was removed, and if nobody had made a big deal about this, I feel like the rest of the stuff would have come off as more of the silliness of a couple of bumbling characters.
Anyway, that’s my say on the controversy. What did I think of the actual film?
Well, to be honest, on the surface this is an amazing movie. Spectacular CGI, costumes, choreography, and singing make Beauty and the Beast a feast for the eyes and ears. But… I felt it lacked the strong storytelling of Cinderella. Don’t get me wrong, I got a bit choked up when Belle rode off from the Beast’s castle to rescue her father, and maybe at a few other points as well, but it was almost as if most of what we knew about these characters had just been told to us, instead of shown. The Beast’s flip from angry captor to smitten suitor seemed to happen far too quickly. In the end, the film just didn’t resonate with me like Cinderella did, even though I probably have much more in common with Belle than with Cinderella herself. A+ for effort Disney, but, unfortunately, you just didn’t quite hit the mark.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Are modern takes on tales as old as time ever quite as good as the old versions?”
Thanks for reading! See you again soon for Wednesday with Words.