Beauty and the Beast (2017) – A Conservative’s Film Review

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By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 I haven’t seen the Disney cartoon adaptation in quite a while, but since some of my favorite people in the world were going to see the new film, I decided to go with.  I knew there was some hubbub about the inclusion of a gay character, so I was curious about the controversy and if there was any merit.   I was also intrigued enough by the trailers to see how the film was generally.

It starts with the Prince (Dan Stevens) throwing a lavish party.  He taxed the people to live his selfish life.  At the event, an old poor woman comes in asking for shelter offering only a rose for payment.  He laughs at her before attempting to kick her out.  She then manifests into the Enchantress (Hattie Morahan) and places a curse on both him and his servants.  He becomes the Beast and those who work for him become household objects.  Years go by and the Beast remains alone, bitter and angry.

In a small farm village, not far from the castle, lives a young woman named Belle (Emma Watson).  She is viewed as a strange girl because she loves to read.  Most women don’t know how to read and the men seem uninterested in it.  Though the gals in town dislike her, the most eligible bachelor Gaston (Luke Evans) wants to marry her.  Though she keeps turning him down, his determination is strong and he keeps attempting.   His best friend and right hand man LeFou (Josh Gad) looks the other way while Gaston does his evil deeds.  He also boosts Gaston’s confidence when he starts doubting himself.  Secretly, LeFou is in love with Gaston; and this is where the controversy stems from.  I think the whole thing is silly, and I’ll explain why after I go over the overall movie.

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Belle’s father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) and only living parent goes off on his horse and gets lost.  He always brings a rose back to Belle.  He happens upon the castle and is scared off when Chip (Nathan Mack), the small tea cup, talks to him.  He runs outside but before leaving cuts a rose.  The Beast sees this and imprisons Maurice.  His horse runs back to Belle and leads her to the castle.  She takes his place and despite having a rocky start, the Belle and the Beast begin to fall in love.

Meanwhile, Maurice goes back home and tells people of Belle’s disappearance, the talking antiques, and The Beast.  All but Gaston laughs at him as he has ulterior motives.  Surely, he thinks, if he wins the favor of Maurice and ‘saves’ Belle from wherever she is, he would be able to marry her.

In the cold forest, Maurice gets lost and can’t find the castle.  His road companions Gaston and LeFou are unimpressed.  Gaston is far angrier than his friend and when he turns on Maurice things go from bad to worse.  When Maurice tells Gaston under no uncertain terms shall he marry Belle, Gaston ties him up and leaves him for dead.  LeFou mildly protests but in the end goes along with Gaston.

When Belle finds out her father is in trouble, The Beast allows her to leave the castle to go be with him.  In the town, she proves that all Maurice said is true, but Gaston uses the truth to invoke fear in the townspeople telling them that The Beast must be killed.

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This brings us to the final battle between Gaston and The Beast, both fighting for Belle’s love while only one has it.

Overall, it was a true masterpiece. The songs were phenomenal. The musical numbers were performed brilliantly.  The cast was amazing.  The set design was gorgeous.  Though, I wasn’t crazy about The Beast’s new appearance, within moments I was over it and drawn into the movie.

As for the controversy surrounding Josh Gad’s portrayal of LeFou, it’s overblown, foolish and makes the conservative party look ridiculous.  I may upset some of my conservative friends the same way I did when I wrote the GET OUT (2017) review, but I call it the way I see it.

If there’s anything to be upset regarding Gad, it’s his odd way of mimicking Jack Black.  If I were Black, I’d walk away wondering if Gad stole my shtick.  In fact, the similarities between the two were far more blatant than LeFou being gay.

Still, I know many people have written that the right is angry about the inclusion of gay characters in Disney.  I don’t know how many people are really all that furious.  I don’t recall this kind of publicity or outrage when ParaNorman was released in 2012. I realize that wasn’t a Disney film, but it was still an animated gay character in a family-oriented production.  I guess I just don’t get the big deal of having gay characters.

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There are so many other things to worry about other than this.  It’s the equivalent of the left protesting because a speaker they dislike is talking at a college.  The political parties need to stay focused on their main objectives.  Whether a gay couple is shown in DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST shouldn’t be one of them.  If you dislike it, walk out.  If you are morally opposed to homosexuality than don’t buy a copy.  I probably won’t see you at one of the many ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW gatherings I go to.  It’s fine.

Also for those angry, look at this from a logical perspective.  This fairy-tale was about an animal and a woman falling in love.  You can make the argument that they didn’t have romantic relations until he was human, but still he was an animal when they fell in love.  If we’re going to look at this from a viewpoint where homosexuality is wrong (a viewpoint I don’t share) and that romantic relationships on TV can steer children into the wrong direction (again a viewpoint I don’t share) perhaps taking the kid to a movie regarding bestiality isn’t the best thing to do, regardless if a gay moment or two is shared between supporting characters.

Some claim they are upset because the fairy-tale was modified and the original DISNEY production didn’t have gay characters, but that’s a straw man argument.  If you are so dedicated to the precise reproduction of film adaptations, remakes and re-imaginings wouldn’t be so prevalent. Not to mention, there are extra songs in this version that weren’t in the original.  There are a lot of different things.

It would be different if DISNEY originally have a gay character, shot the film and because of protests, the movie was reshot to appease a small portion of the population’s demands.  I could understand it in that respect.  Even then, DISNEY is a business.  Do you think it celebrates GAY PRIDE at its parks because the company holds such progressive ideals?  No, it’s a lucrative business.  It’s capitalism.  If there’s anything the conservatives should be fighting to uphold, it’s the beauty of capitalism.  I remember hearing Ben Shapiro (see, I don’t you I really liked him. Just because I compared him to an evil child in the last review doesn’t mean I won’t sing his praises) talk about how capitalism is one thing that isn’t discriminatory.  It’s not racist, homophobic or driven by anything but the need to stay in business and make a profit.  That really hits home.  When you have time, whether your right or left, watch some of Shapiro’s talks on capitalism.

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Though, there are a few drawbacks, the good far outweighs the bad and I am thankful every day to be an American and to live in this country.  Capitalism is proven as the one sustainable economic and political system.  Republicans KNOW this and we need to pick fights carefully.  We don’t want to be the group of people who call for censorship or modification.  Leave that to the left as it is destroying their party.

There are things that I won’t watch because of my values and because of what I believe.  I won’t watch IMPACT Wrestling because of the way they treated the wrestlers who saved their company. They have no integrity.  I won’t watch the TV show THE MICK because it sexualizes children.  I won’t watch anything to do with Mama June/ Honey Boo Boo’s mom because, well because I have taste, but also because she dated a pedophile.  Still, I’m not going to protest those productions.  I just hope they sink themselves.  I hope capitalism works in my favor regarding those.

I don’t think that most Conservatives are Anti-Gay.  Some have a fear that the media portraying homosexuality as cool is detrimental to children.  I don’t believe that.  I don’t believe homosexuality is a choice so I think it’s irrelevant.   Despite that, even if you think it is, just don’t watch the programming if you don’t like it.  Yelling about it and protesting it, makes us look like the left.

As for the film, I highly suggest seeing it.  Loved every minute of it.

 

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Scared Stiff Rating:  8.5/10