Brainy Belle, Sarcastic Beast and the Periodically Accurate Teapot (Beauty and the Beast Movie Review)

One of my first memories was of watching a charming, witty, brown-haired bookworm teach the men in her life a thing or two – and I was enthralled. I am delighted to say, that Disney has done it once again and given us a brainiac for a princess.

STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

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Belle herself is physically matched with Emma Watson, however, the 2017 live-action gives us a few more (very much appreciated) quirks. For one, her everyday ‘peasant’ dress is slightly askew to show that she wears trousers/bloomers underneath – which is always seen as a deliberate wardrobe choice for empowered female characters.

The Beauty is also the Inventor in the new story – not her father, which was a wonderful way to show her independence when she invents the washing machine so she can read for longer.

Along with the addition of her dearly departed mother’s back story, there are some charming tweaks to the story which I am sure many fans will be happy with.

Belle’s script doesn’t change an awful lot when it comes to her conversations with the Beast, although there is certainly a lot more humor and sarcasm between the two of them, which adds a whole new layer to the famous library scene.

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Speaking of the Beast – he was a surprise and a half on-screen. A live-action movie meant that the actor playing Beast (Dan Stevens), could have his facial expressions portrayed more accurately, making the character far more realistic.

There have been several online comments about how the Beast isn’t attractive enough once he transforms – which is absolutely ridiculous for two reasons. Firstly – Dan Stevens is a very attractive man. Secondly – those people are missing the point of the movie. It’s a beautiful tale about a girl falling in love with the man underneath the darkness, seeing past the physical to get to his soul. Belle certainly isn’t going to go through all that, see that he’s not that hot and change her mind.

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I went to the cinema quite hung up on the change to the appearance of the enchanted antiques, ie Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, Cogsworth. However, I will concede to the fact that they are almost certainly more periodically accurate.

Emma as Mrs. Potts was a wonderful choice, although I’m not sure about her accent choice; her singing is simply perfect for the role. (Oh – and she has feet now!)

I was quite fond of the animated versions, but I am aware they faced many challenges when it came to actually animating and interacting with the character; one being Lumiere doing a can-can kick during Be Our Guest. But with the addition of some suitable limbs, he can kick away with the side plates.

lefou-comparison.jpgGaston and Lefou are interesting characters, and I’m sure there are many articles discussing at length the obvious sexual orientation of Lefou. But I am more interested in some of the more subtle aspects to their personality.

Lefou is not a simple character by any means, which is shown in the end battle when he helps Mrs. Potts and turns his back on Gaston.

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Gaston is given a new layer in regards to his attitude and violence, by making him a soldier who has recently returned from war. Whilst somewhat implied in the original movie, it is plainly said in the new version. What’s more, he is made to look a fool in terms of literacy, when Lefou says ‘Ah, je ne sais quoi’ and Gaston replies, ‘I don’t know what that means.’

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The only addition to the story that I wasn’t moved by was the Enchantress. She is added to the plot as a homeless spinster who has been watching over the corner by Belle and Maurice’s house for many years. This is probably supposed to be an act of foreshadowing, but it is certainly a change that will go straight over a child’s head.

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The Romeo and Juliet string to the plot appears once more. Not only is it supposedly the loose basis for the story, it is also mentioned by the characters in both movie versions.

Literacy plays a huge part in both, however, in the latest edition, it is far more significant. For one thing, not only can the Beast read, but he knows his Shakespeare and even goes as far as to mock Belle’s enjoyment of the famous star-crossed lover’s tale.

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The soundtrack is incredible – there is no doubt about it. It is the perfect mixture between the classic, well-loved songs, and some beautiful new tracks. The Beast gets his own song when he pines for Belle, and it really adds to his character.

The singing wardrobe has her own mini love story with her husband the grand piano, which is quite sweet to watch. She is also featured in a lot of the soundtrack as she as shown as one of the performers from the first ball at the beginning of the movie.

Whilst I will always have a place in my heart for the 1991 version, this new portrayal certainly deserves a place too. The cast, the music, and the quirks are stunning, and I can’t wait to buy the DVD, all the merchandise and probably the soundtrack.

Oh, and Disney – you need to make Enchanted Christmas as a sequel!

 

 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: Movie Review *SPOILERS*

miss-peregrines-photo1Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is one of those wonderful books that make you feel like the author is running around inside your imagination.

I have already written a full book review, which you can read here, but suffice it to say, this series has found its way into my heart, and I can’t wait to read Hollow City.

Now on to the movie adaptation:

I went to see it last night (the movie’s second night on the big screen in the UK), and whilst I was amazed by the casting, I did have just a couple of issues with the movie (but it was still amazing!)

Jake’s best friend

Not read the book, and you’re wondering who I’m talking about? EXACTLY! Jake has a moody best-and-only friend back home in the States…who doesn’t exist in the movie. He plays a pivotal role in Abe Portman’s death scene in regards to actually getting Jake there, and yet in the movie he has been replaced by a random female co-worker of Jake’s.

Smart-Aid

Speaking of work, they have glazed over the very reason Jake works for Smart-Aid… his family own it. It is seen as a rite of passage within the family to work in a branch of Smart-Aid before you are eventually promoted upward into the offices, just like his mother.

In the movie, he’s just a shelf-stacker with a businesswoman for a Mom and a flaky, bird-watching Dad.

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Emma and Olive

Unless I read the book totally wrong… Emma has switched peculiarities with another character. In the book, Emma has control over fire, meaning she uses a fireball to help defeat a Hallow, guide them through the bogs in the dark, and set a building on fire.

There is even a very touching comment about the warmth of her hands on Jake’s face as they embraced. Olive was the one with the air control.

This article explains more in-depth as to why their powers were swapped for the movies.

Dr Golan

…Is a woman in the movie and a man in the book. There is also a much smaller focus on the Golan-Jake relationship than there is in the book, although that is not necessarily a bad thing as it gives us more time to focus on Jake and the peculiar children.

Jake and Emma

Although I still like the teen-electricity between these two characters in the movie, the book adds a completely different layer to their budding-yet-complicated romance.

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The book contains much more teenage angst and awkwardness, whereas in the movie, Emma seems a lot more angry towards Jake rather than clumsy and romantic.

The book lets us see how Jake feels about Emma, and how weirded out he is that he is falling in love with someone that could possibly have been his Grandmother if things had gone a little differently.

The movie adaptation also has a lot less kissing – there is A LOT of kissing in the book – which is probably due to more of an emphasis in the movie that the peculiar children are just that: children.

Overview:

I love the book, I love the movie… just in different ways. Both mediums are worth delving in to, but I can definitely see some readers not liking the movie, and vise-versa. There have certainly been some questionable changes, and some aren’t really worth the big-to-do. But can we have more romance in the sequel, please? I liked that part.

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Movie Review (Blogmas Day 4)

[Originally published this on my Readwave page.

The Theory of Everything is the purest thing I have ever seen. No exceptions. Stephen Hawking is widely known to be the greatest mind of his age, but before the release of this hidden tale; we weren’t to know about Jane.

Mrs Hawking, as she later became, is the strongest soul I have ever encountered in a story. And she’s real. She hurts and she cries. She loves another and cares for Stephen regardless. She is loyal and never spiteful.

Any woman would have stopped at the sound of “motor neuron disease”, but not Jane. She is far too stubborn to quit on the love of her life. The father of her children. The god-ignoring genius she had respected and admired from the get-go.

The Theory of Everything shows us two things:

1. Stephen Hawking is pure brilliance. 

2. Jane Hawking is the most selfless human, ever. 

She gave up her twenties, her passions – and possibly even her sanity – to care for her husband. I have no doubt she truly loved him, always has. You can see it in her eyes (I, of course am referencing an actress – but even an actor has to draw from the truth.)

When Jane Hawking wrote the book [Travelling to Infinity: The True Story Behind the Theory of Everything], she had no idea what she would be doing to a world of readers. We are all curious about the famous Brit with the American robot computer speaking his beautiful science, but little did we know: he was part of a love story.

Now, I’m sure there must be a few embellishments – as every love story must have – but there is only so much love you can fake. And she doesn’t fake a single day.

I’ve seen the film twice now, and there is one thing I can confess for sure. I’ve cried both times. Never, ever, have I felt so immersed into a film as I have with The Theory of Everything. Seeing a bio-pic of a man we have all, always, admired; played by an award-winning actor (and my own personal crush): it’s awe-inspiring.

Go see it. Now. Before your time runs out.