Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

The animated version of Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. I saw it first on video, and it quickly became one of my favorite Disney movies. It was Disney's first musical to be converted to a Broadway format, and I further fell in love with the tweaks to the plot and the additional songs. So I was especially excited when I found out that they were making a movie live action remake of it.

I am happy to report that the new version is every bit as amazing as the original Disney movie, even making the occasional reference to Jean Cocteau's 1946 movie:

The new movie also answered plenty of questions that the 1991 version raised. I was wondering about some of them, and others hadn't occurred to me:

  • What happened to Belle's mother?
  • Why did Maurice and Belle move to "this poor provincial town"?
  • What is the name of this poor provincial town?
  • Where did they live prior to that?
  • Does Belle invent anything?
  • Does Gaston have any other reasons for wanting Belle, aside from her beauty?
  • Is LeFou the least bit concerned about Gaston's villainy?
  • Did any villagers besides Belle object to Gaston's war march against the Beast?
  • What was Gaston's occupation prior to the events of our story?
  • Were ALL of the Prince's servants turned into objects?
  • Was everyone in the castle at the time of the spell either the Prince or one of his servants?
  • What was the dog's name (who was turned into a footstool)? Who were her owners?
  • What happened to Mr. Potts?
  • How did the Prince get so cruel that the enchantress has to take such extreme measures to teach him a lesson?
  • What about the Prince's parents?
  • What happens to the enchantress after she casts the spell?
  • How does Belle get the heavy Beast onto Philippe after he's been wounded by the wolves?
  • Why do the Beast's servants care so much for him? Do they blame themselves at all for the Beast's condition?
  • Are all of the books in the Beast's library in English (or French)?
  • How does a moment last forever?
  • What is Cogsworth's first name?
  • Does M. D'Arque have children? (This is not actually answered.)
  • Was Gandalf ever transformed into a clock?
  • Did Gandalf ever meet Hermione Granger?
  • Did Obi-Wan enlighten anyone who didn't have "Skywalker" in their name? (Pun intended)
  • For that matter, did Obi-Wan ever meet Hermione Granger?

  • How does it look to have a snowball, dishes, rubble, mud, rubble and a falling villain thrown at you? (This is answered in the 3D version.)

  • Could there be more to the poor than meets the eye? Maybe they deserve more respect than we often give them? Are they sometimes the best of us?
  • Is everyone's hero necessarily heroic? What happens when our heroes disappoint us?
  • Both the Prince and Gaston start out as spoiled, selfish and unkind. How can their repentance or lack thereof inspire us to become kinder and unselfish?

  • What happens when the theater is almost empty because most people think there's nothing left to see, and Josh Groban starts singing your big brother's favorite song in the movie, and said big brother likes to sing, and is sitting next to you? (Hint: Josh Groban is suddenly a background singer.)

Beauty and the Beast is an amazingly well-done remake. Pro tip: stay to the end of the credits. There is no post-credits scene, but they save Josh Groban for last.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Overblown Controversy

Following are two recent posts that I shared on Facebook considering the controversy surrounding the announcement that LeFou is gay in the new remake of Beauty and the Beast.

For me, the most heartbreaking part of the furor over the rumors surrounding the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake is Christians abandoning one of the most basic tenets of Christianity, to love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't take more than a few clicks to discover that the rumors are way overblown, and more or less on par with the original animated movie. You know, the family-friendly movie you loved where LeFou is head over heels for Gaston, and (it sounds like this is reproduced in the new version) the wardrobe cross-dresses men in the battle. I've seen some people pledging to watch this movie as an alternative:

Expressing overblown contempt for something so minor goes against what Jesus taught, and is more on par with the actions of the Pharisees that He fought so hard against.

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. When asked who our neighbor was, Jesus used an example of a Samaritan, one of the groups most hated by the people He was teaching.

I'm not saying you need to go see Beauty and the Beast. Go or don't go. But if you refuse to watch it, don't tell people about the evils you think it contains that it doesn't.

As Christians, we are supposed to be a light to a dark, lost world. Instead, we're chasing away the people who need Jesus most because they disgust us. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. Jesus hung out and associated with these people. How many people that Jesus died for will spend eternity in torment because we chased them away by our scornful attitude?


I later realized that the recent overreactions and increasingly fantastical rumors about Beauty and the Beast are exactly what Gaston does in the story. He makes up a bunch of lies based on one bit of information and his fears, and stirs up vicious, destructive rage among the people of the village.

This is is an excellent blog post from someone who saw a preview of the new movie. She addresses the controversy and goes more in depth into the scenes referenced in the announcement.