My week in film: “Beauty and the Beast” – March 17

This week I was reminded of the blissful Disney magic after seeing “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters. I also revisited one of my favorite Woody Allen films and, very similar to last week, I stumbled upon some great YouTube content.

At the Movies:

I remember watching the first teaser for the live action retelling of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) in May of last year and feeling nostalgic and delighted. I loved and appreciated the teaser’s homage to the original film’s teaser, as it is a shot for shot recreation. I was also on board with the casting: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellan.. the list goes on. After months of promotion, I felt we were all in for a treat but it wasn’t until the Disney Pictures intro that I began to really uncover my deep excitement for this film. Like many others, I grew up watching this iconic logo reveal and through all of its variations, and the intro still sparks a sense of wonder in me.
Perhaps it’s the nostalgia speaking, but this sense of wonder and delight carried on throughout the film, and even helped me overlook a few faults
I found.
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The story stuck to its roots, as Belle, a beautiful but “odd” girl, trades places with her father after a Beast locks him away in the dungeon in his enchanted castle. As Belle and the Beast, as well as the enchanted castle staff, spend more and more time together, Belle begins to look past the rugged exterior of the Beast and into his caring soul. The same iconic songs carried the plot along from beginning to end. Bill Condon, the film’s director, has experience with musicals, as he wrote the screenplay for “Chicago” (2002), which won Best Picture at the 75th Academy Awards. The pacing within “Beauty and the Beast” felt natural.

While many people disapproved of Watson’s singing voice, I felt her voice fit well. Besides a few noticeable auto tuned moments, I enjoyed her tone and pitch throughout each song. Gaston, played by Luke Evans, boasts a clear and strong voice throughout, which matches his prideful brute of a character. The Beast (Dan Stevens) also impressed me with his ballad, “Evermore,” which is new to the 2017 version.
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While all of the timeless songs are featured in the 2017 film, small moments have been transformed, but with the help of the original composter, Alan Menken. While I still prefer “Be Our Guest” in the original 1991 version, I felt the new version was a lot of fun. I just wished there was more interaction between Belle and Lumiere. But, as this sequence is heavily CGI, I understood the technical distance between Belle and the staff.
Beauty and the Beast

Lumiere, the fun and energetic candlestick, is played by Ewan McGregor.                                 Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

For me, the enchanted staff was the star of the show. Each character paid homage to the original personalities while also adding in a new flair with refreshing design. Both Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian Mckellan) take on more ornate depictions while Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) is represented more simply with a subtle but lovely design. The character I was most hesitant about however, was the Beast. From the clips and images I saw prior to my screening, I was worried he looked too generated. But to my surprise, he often looked very convincing and Dan Steven’s performance shined through the motion capture.
BatB2017c.png

Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

The production design and costumes were all extraordinary, I was very impressed with the set design as it all seemed very authentic to the time period.
 –
I was, however, underwhelmed by Belle’s iconic yellow gown. It felt very lack luster, even with the added golden detail. Within a Disney Princess film, I was expecting much more.
landscape-1478512906-beauty-and-the-beast-movie.jpg

Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

But, overall, I do believe it to be a wonderful and touching film, especially in the final act. It’s a delightful retelling of a beloved story that is a joy to revisit.
 –

The main takeaway: While a few moments felt underwhelming in comparison to the original, the strong voice and live performances, beautiful production and timeless songs work together to captivate both previous and new generations.

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Rewind and Rewatch:

Beauty and the Beast” (1991) – Lively and entertaining. Even after 26 years this animated feature proves to be the pinnacle of musical wonder.

 

 Now on Netflix:

Midnight in Paris” (2011) – Only Woody Allen can make a film about time travel so utterly clever and subtle. This film has been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw it. Romanticizing the past seems to be a trend this week, but I love indulging in this charming  Parisian daydream. Gil Pended (Owen Wilson) is an aspiring novelist and finds himself parading the streets of Paris with the literary and art icons of the Jazz Age.

YouTube:

For a few years now I have followed Amy Lee. She’s a fashion vlogger that goes by the handle, Vagabond Youth. She creates great content, and even if some of her looks are not my style I always enjoy the videos she puts out on her channel. The editing and camera work always looks clean and professional. This past week she released a video all about her experience at the recent New York Fashion Week.

I really love voiceovers coupled with text, I’ve actually used this technique in a video of mine, too. But I really enjoyed the opening moments of this video and I am excited to see what else she will create. Her Shoe Collection video is also worth checking out.

A channel that I have recently gotten into features videos all about shooting with film cameras. Plant Based Traveler‘s content is helpful while also being really attractive. The duo has evolved from their vegan travel show into a more broad, plant based, adventure channel. Recently the focus has been all about film cameras. Take a look at the first video of theirs that I stumbled upon:

Do you have any favorite YouTubers? Do you have plans to see the new “Beauty and the Beast”? Let me know!
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