Tale as old as time

Earlier this week, Brian and I had the privilege of attending a pre-screening of Beauty & the Beast in 3-D Imax.

As expected, the movie was utterly delightful. Following a similar path as live-action Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast offered a more detailed backstory for our heroine and also clued us in to more of Beast’s tale. Unlike Cinderella, the movie needed to take fewer liberties for dialogue and plot thanks to an already rich screenplay.

Belle and Beast dancing during the titular song

Fun fact: The costume designers created ethical and sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics.

With 1991’s Best Picture nominee, they knew not to mess with the story too much, adding a few new musical numbers and smart character-building dialogue to the film.

The story of Belle and Beast is more developed, showing how she might be falling for him, despite the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing. With lines like, “Can anyone ever really be happy when they’re not free?” and “we don’t like what we don’t understand,” and a slightly more diverse cast than the original animation, Disney is trying to fight some of the stigmas that have plagued earlier films.

Belle and Beast in the castle library

Let’s talk about that library, though. Seriously. Who wants one? Hand raises?

The music was…well, it was okay. Once you get past the auto tune job they did on Emma Watson and the weird filter they put on Dan Stevens’ vocals, the songs you know and love plus a few new tunes wrap the movie in a familiar melodic blanket. I enjoyed the new music, including Audra McDonald’s stellar performance as Madame Garderobe (Wardrobe) and a melancholy song, “Days in the Sun,” which replaces the Broadway and remastered animated song, “Human Again” – a song I wasn’t sad to see removed from this soundtrack as I never quite loved it.

Fandango Beauty and the Beast Ticketing Banner
The Disney CGI magic blew me away, as usual. The beast is almost real, the castle staff is incredibly detailed and ornate in a way that adds new depth to the visuals. “Be Our Guest” was everything I hoped it would be with Ewan McGregor at the helm. The scene itself was pure Disney magic at its finest.

Gaston tries to Charm Belle with flowers

Luke Evans may have been may favorite, with my opinion of Gaston waffling from moderately attractive to completely heinous and despicable. Everything I want in a fairy tale villain. His “Mob Song” was incredible, and I’m quite sure of the solo vocals, his were my favorite closely followed by Lefou’s “Gaston.”

Of course, I’m sure you’ve heard by now of Josh Gad’s Lefou coming out of the closet he’s been living in since 1991. It’s a brief scene at the end of the movie, in which he dances with another man. Blink and you might miss it. But throughout the movie, you’ll find other adorable Lefou nuggets that are sweet and funny in a very relatable way.

Gaston and Lefou riding horses

Keep an eye out for a few nods to Watson’s breakout role as Hermione Granger, including a glimpse of Hedwig and Crookshanks.

Should you see Beauty & the Beast in 3-D? I vote no, and definitely not IMAX. While the CGI work is fantastic,  you lose some of the visuals with the rapid movement in IMAX, which I also found distracting.

Overall, a fine high-budget trip down memory lane to accommodate my generation’s obsession with nostalgia. I’ll go see it again for sure. Are you planning on checking this one out? What are you most excited about?

Fandango - Beauty and the Beast Sweepstakes
Beauty & the Beast stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

All images used with permission from Walt Disney Studios.

This post may contain affiliate links that help keep this site running smoothly.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Believe in Magic. And Kindness. And Courage.

Happy movie Friday!  Today, Cinderella, in all its live action Disney glory, comes out in theaters, and I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly lovely it was.

image

Brian and I had the opportunity to see it a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait for it to come to the theater so, at the very least, I could see it again. This delightful movie takes a beloved classic and adds a depth to each of the characters that will allow itself to withstand the test of time. The theme throughout the movie is “have courage and be kind.” And Cinderella does that with grace and elegance.

image

Lily James sparkles with the perfect combination of strength and whimsy. Her performance warmed my soul. They couldn’t have cast a more lovely, vibrant Cinderella. Richard Madden (hello King Rob Stark, drool) is a heart-stealing Prince Charming who matches Lily’s Cinderella with a romantic and witty chemistry.

image

Helena Bonham Carter has so much fun with her role that you can’t help but adore Cinderella’s fairy godmother. She’s bright and flighty in one big pouf.

image

Cate Blanchett plays a chilling evil stepmother, with a background story that makes you hate her just a little less (though not much, because she’s so freaking wicked).

image

I loved this movie with all my Disney heart. Fans of the cartoon will find carefully placed hat tips to the original while still making it their own.

Yes. There are mice. And yes, I swear they talk! Brian asked me after if I could understand what they were saying, because he was SURE they were speaking throughout the movie. I couldn’t make it out. And for lovers of the mice, Gus Gus is featured (& often partnered with cheese).

image

The costumes were amazing. From the ugly sepsisters’ clashing ensembles to the magical fairytale gowns, the clothing was unbelievable.

Look for a fast cameo that I’m 95% sure is an uncredited Brandy Norwood as a nod to Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Brian couldn’t understand why I was dancing in my chair or tapping his arm, so he definitely can’t confirm the cameo.

Stay until the end of the credits for a few soundtrack wins, including Cinderella animated favorites sung by Lily James and Helena Bonham Carter. As we left the theater, I kept thinking about how magical and wonderful it truly was and how much it made me believe that magic does exist.

And of course, if you venture out to catch Cinderella, you’ll also get a viewing of the new Frozen short, Frozen Fever, in which Elsa and the gang celebrate Anna’s birthday with an original song.

image

Are you looking forward to seeing Cinderella? What’s your favorite Disney animated feature? Would you love to see it live action?

I did see this movie at an advanced screening as part of the media. I was not compensated for this post, though there may be affiliate links used. As always, all opinions are expressly mine. All images are used with the permission of Walt Disney Studios.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!