UPDATE: Here’s my 6-year-old daughter’s Beauty and the Beast review! Details on if she thought it was scary and how she liked it compared to the animated version.
I’m about to give a Beauty and the Beast review for people obsessed with the animated version and/or planning to take their kids to see it and looking for more information. Buckle up!
The live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast must be the must anticipated movie since I don’t know what. All of my friends have countdowns set. And 30-something around the world are acting like they’re 7 again.
I’ll admit I was one of them. Though it took me awhile to join the fray and really get excited for it (I really wish we could get more new animated classics versus re-hashing the old ones) once I sat down in the screening room at Walt Disney Studios and the music started, I was 7 again, bouncing up and down in my seat ready for some Disney magic.
Beauty and The Beast Overall thoughts (no spoilers)
Beauty and the Beast was a beautifully updated version of the classic we know and love so well. My favorite lines and parts from the animated version made the cut, but my favorite parts of the movie were the parts where the creators diverted from it.
In more way than one I feel like this movie was made with adults in mind—Specifically my generation. Never before have I watched a brand new movie that I could (and did) quote along with about 70% of it.
That said, I think people new, or less familiar with the animated version will still love it.
It was a musical from the get-go, and with new songs sprinkled through the movie it
It was the first movie I’ve seen in 3D in a long time that had really cool 3D effects.
Compared to the other live-action Disney updates, Maleficent is still my favorite, but I definitely liked Beauty and the Beast WAY more than Cinderella. This movie was beautifully done, and it’s worth seeing it in 3D.
What I LOVED (no spoilers)
1. Progressive: The creators managed to keep the beautiful storyline but make Belle even stronger. There were at least three interracial couples I noticed, and way more diversity.
2. Backstories: All those questions we had about Belle’s mom and The Beasts’ parents get addressed in this movie.
3. A more realistic romance: The Beast likes books too, and their relationship seemingly takes longer to build and has more important moments that bring them together.
4. More character depth: Obviously with Belle, but also with The Beast, and most surprisingly to me… Gaston. He’s even more ruthless.
5. Nostalgia: The score was similar to the animated version through several parts of the movie. The dance gave me chills. (spoiler if you didn’t see the original): As did when he transformed back into himself. I’d love to see the side-by-side because it really felt surreal watching it play back with a different look. It was like they transformed the characters into real life.
6. (Spoiler if you haven’t seen the animated version): The scene when the townspeople attack the castle was my favorite in the 1991 version and it was my favorite part in this movie too.
Ok, now that we got all that out of the way let’s talk about what you need to know when it comes to taking your kids to see Beauty and the Beast.
I’ll be taking Lil’ J to screen it hopefully early next week so I’ll updated this post (or add another) with her full review. But here are my initial thoughts.
Beauty and the Beast: Will kids like it?
I think so. And from what I’ve heard so far from other kids, it’s a resounding “YES”.
My daughter has seen the animated movie a handful of times, so she will likely have a different perspective than me, who has it memorized. There will be more surprises, and there’s a likelihood of young kids falling in love with it, really falling in love with the story for the first time.
When I showed her the trailer of them movie she said “So it’s like Beauty and the Beast but it looks, like, more realer?” Yes, baby girl, it looks more realer.
“Is there a ‘gay scene’”
I’m not quite sure what started this hoopla but after I screened the movie my husband texted me asking for a co-worker if there was a gay scene in Beauty and the Beast. Now I’m not sure exactly what a gay scene is classified as. Like a sex scene? Heavens no! Kissing? Nope. Hugging? I don’t remember that, definitely nothing in a sexual way.
What is there? I watched the two-hour movie expecting something juicy. LeFou, Gaston’s right-hand man and not-so-secret admirer, admiring Gaston as he does in the animated movie. Could people read between the lines and wonder if he’s gay? Sure. Would kids? No. Is it ever stated outright that he is gay? No.
What else is there? (This includes spoilers) Well, you know that scene in the animated version where the Plumette, the
opera-singing armoire jumps/falls on one of the townspeople attacking the castle? In the animated version, the man jumps up, realizes he’s in a dress and runs and screams. In this live-action version, she attacks three men and they come out wearing dresses. Two scream and run away, one more admires his new look, smiles, and struts away. It got a lot of laughter and applause in our little theater.
What else is there? At the end LeFou and the gentleman who liked his new dress (though no longer in his dress) pair up for a waltz in the ballroom with Belle and The Beast. LeFou is dancing with a woman at first but later in the scene swaps and dances with that gentleman. They dance. That is it. Definitely not worth the fuss.
I love diversity and diversity being represented in movies, books, and on TV. Representation matters. Personally, I think it’s important for my kids to know not all families look the same. My daughter knows blacks and whites didn’t used to be able to get married like her daddy and mommy are and I’m raising them to be accepting. That said, even if I wasn’t I don’t think I’d have a problem with that or letting my kids watch because it’s not blatant.
“Is it scary?
Another thing parents worry about with these updated children’s movies is if they’re too scary. Is Beauty and the Beast scary? Well, not really. Scenes with the wolves chasing Maurice and later Belle were a bit intense. The Beast is mean and loud at first. But again, if you know how the story goes it’s nothing any scarier.
You know your kids best. To a child seeing this movie for the first time, an extra loud and dark theater (plus 3D) makes any movie more intense. I’m bringing my 6-year-old to see it. My 3-year-old loves scary beasts, fight scenes and music so I might bring him too, knowing neither of them will get scared or cry. He’s never sat through a live-action movie though and he’d likely find some scenes (all of the non-violent, non-musical parts) boring.
One last issue I want to touch on for parents is violence. Though subtle for kids used to Marvel movies and Star Wars, if your little ones haven’t seen much other than animated movies there are a few things to take note of.
(Spoilers) There’s a scene where Gaston punches Maurice in the face and I literally gasped. It’s not in the animated version so I know a part of it was my surprise because it was new. But another part because you rarely see that kind of thing in Disney movies.
Also, at the end instead of stabbing the Beast in the side with a knife, Gaston shoots him, several times. I was like “holy crap!”. Again, it could have been the diversion from the animated version that gave that more of a shock factor to me, but I didn’t like the change. Maybe ratings wise shooting is more normalized than stabbing but gun violence is a trigger for me so this was something that bothered me a little. I knew it had a happy ending (though I worried for a second cause dang!) so I was ok.
Hopefully giving you a little warning helps you prepare, or prepare your kids if need be.
Overall I think kids will be mesmerized by the beauty, the music, and wonderful enchantments that made us 30-somethings fall in love with the movie 26 years ago.
I hope you’ll go see it and let me know what you think!
Ok, so that’s a lot of information. I’ll probably just post Lil’ J’s review in a separate post after she’s watched it since I’ve blabbed here enough.
Are you going to see Beauty and the Beast? Will you take your kids?