Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
looking beyond a person’s exterior to see their heart and soul, to love them and encourage them to be better
What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?
What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.
|Featuring:|| Emma Watson … Belle
Dan Stevens … Beast / Prince
Luke Evans … Gaston, the ruthless hunter
Josh Gad … Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick
Ian McKellen … Cogsworth the butler and mantel clock
Stanley Tucci … Maestro Cadenza, composer and harpsichord
Kevin Kline … Maurice, Belle’s father
Emma Thompson … Mrs. Potts, housemaid and teapot
Ewan McGregor … Lumière, the valet and candelabra
Gugu Mbatha-Raw … Plumette, the maid and a feather duster
Audra McDonald … Madame de Garderobe, the opera singer, Cadenza's wife, and a wardrobe
|Director:||Bill Condon—“Kinsey” (2004), “Gods and Monsters” (1998), “Dreamgirls” (2006)|
Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
This live-action remake of Disney’s acclaimed animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” retells the tale of a spoiled, selfish prince (Dan Stevens). After refusing an old woman shelter from the bitter cold, the prince is transformed into a hideous beast by an enchantress, and his castle is put under a powerful spell. Meanwhile, a young woman named Belle (Emma Watson), wants more than just a “provincial life.”
On his way to the fair, Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline), is ambushed by a pack of wolves. Trying to seek shelter, he stumbles upon the beast’s castle. Having promised Belle he would bring her a rose, he takes one from the castle gardens and is captured by the Beast. Belle later comes to his rescue, and willingly takes his place in the castle dungeon.
Now the Beast’s prisoner, Belle befriends some of the servants in the castle, who have all been transformed into household objects. For a while, Belle remains unaware that she may be the key to reversing the spell. The Beast’s chances of returning to being human are all based on the timing of an enchanted rose and how fast it petals fall. If the Beast can learn to love another and earn her love in return, the spell will be broken. But if not, he and the servants remain the way they are forever.
At many points, I felt Disney and director Bill Condon did the animated movie justice. Though, perhaps the music is the best thing here. A fantastic musical on its own (having the original and having seen the stage play), the original’s songs are brought to life in a mostly fantastic style. I will say I think both “Belle,” “Kill the Beast” and “Something There” were realized in a way that was better than the cartoon, while “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston” didn’t quite live up to the original animated versions (though the animation in the “Be Our Guest” sequence is terrific). Three new songs from Alan Menken and Tim Rice are added in, and are surprisingly effective. I found “Days in the Sun” and “How Does a Moment Last Forever” to be very touching (especially the latter’s Celine Dion version in the end credits), while “Evermore” was fantastic. Stevens’ fantastic vocals aside, the song gave me chills. I guess you could think of it as a more melancholy, male-driven version of “Let it Go” from “Frozen.”
The casting is overall great. The best performances go to Stevens, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, and Luke Evans as Gaston. Stevens really does a great job bringing his character to life, and brings some emotion behind the computer animation to help bring the Beast to life. Thompson comes very close to Angela Lansbury a handful of times, and sings the title song (“Beauty and the Beast”) very well. Evans brings a different side to Gaston that is both convincing and effective.
As for Watson, I found her performance to be a mixed bag. There were moments she did a great job, and she can sing. But, she didn’t engage me in the way that Paige O'Hara did in the original. The original Belle’s singing and speaking voice had me glued to the screen as a 3 and 4 year old (same with Jodi Benson’s original Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”), and had a kindness and warmth that Watson doesn’t quite carry here. Watson has the attitude and looks of Belle’s character, but she lacks in the heart department. I also found her reactions to the objects in “Be Our Guest” sadly unconvincing.
Visually, I found “Beauty and the Beast” to be amazing. The sets and costumes are spectacular, and really do bring the movie’s feel to life. Visual effects are a little off-kilter, at some moments, but they work very well, too, at many times. A couple of moments from the stage play appear. Many quotes are pulled cleverly from the animated movie, and, unlike the original, which starts off with stained glass windows, the opening scene is shown for real this time. And, I have to say, the way they realized it was spectacular. I felt like the animated movie was coming to life. At the same time, though, the ending didn’t quite have the same sense of awe the original had. The original ended with a beautiful stained glass window, the ending here was slightly abrupt and didn’t carry that same feel.
On the downside, some character and plot changes are a little annoying and unnecessary. How Maurice ends up being almost put into an asylum is changed drastically, and the character of Gaston is changed in this plot to almost a bipolar sociopath. I also thought that Belle being told about the spell (mostly) is not something that should have happened, as she was never verbally told about it in the animated version. Finally, a scene where Belle and the Beast travel to Paris through a magical book feels somewhat out-of-place and isn’t necessary.
There are two main messages in both the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” One is that the outside appearance should not be a guiding force in life. Instead, it’s one’s character and actions that show who we truly are. We see the enchantress change the prince to reflect, on the outside, who he is on the inside. Then, as the movie progresses and Belle influences him, we see the Beast start to show a more kind, humble spirit. In comparison, we see Gaston as being more appealing on the outside, but on the inside to be boorish and incredibly selfish. This theme is very Biblical, as 1st Samuel lets us know that God does the same thing.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’.” —1 Samuel 16:7
The second main message is the idea of sacrificial love. This is first shown when Belle sacrifices her dreams and freedom to save her father. Later, when the Beast falls in love with Belle, he chooses to sacrifice his dreams of returning to being human in order to give Belle what she wants. We also see this in a surprising backstory about Belle’s parents, where one parent makes a sacrifice in order to protect Belle. The idea of sacrificial love is a key theme in the Bible as well, as God sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, to give us a chance at having eternal life. The Apostle John’s letter comes to mind here:
My grandmother, who attended the movie with me, gave me another positive theme from the movie. The Beast’s appearance resembles what the prince was on the inside at the time—the selfish, spoiled, unkind characteristics that we as humans struggle with. We as humanity were doomed to die and spend eternity in torment and horror for the evil we have done. Belle’s love for the man inside of the Beast redeems the Prince back to humanity and back to the light. In this case, this comparison can be made for Scripture’s meaning of what true Biblical love is. It takes an act of love to bring us back into the light. Just like this, Jesus’ act of love brought us out of the darkness and into the light.
We also see strong examples of parental love in Belle’s father, and Belle shows the desire to help her friends and others. Belle is a strong and brave individual who always strives to be more than her limitations.
We also see a positive image of Jesus on the cross in a book shop.
Violence: The overall violence is amped up one or two notches from the animated movie. There are two wolf chases. One wolf looks like it has a gash on one its eyes. Maurice’s horse is nearly done in by the wolves, and the wolves snap at both Maurice and Belle. The Beast gets into a brawl with the wolves, and one sinks its teeth for a few moments into the Beast’s shoulder. The Beast drags a couple of people away somewhat violently. We see bite marks on someone’s stomach, apparently from a wrestling match. Belle throws a pot onto a character in defense. In the climax, people approach the castle with torches and swords. Gaston shoots his gun and hits its target a few times. One character falls to an apparent death. People are hit by teacups, a wardrobe, hot water, and other things in a slapstick battle between humans and enchanted objects. The Beast is tossed around and crashes into a couple of things during a fight scene. Someone is punched in the face and left for the wolves. There is comical, choreographed sword fighting in a tavern. A flashback shows someone with bruises on her face, and is shown to be fatally ill.
Language: The Beast uses a harsher word twice for what happened to him, but not in a profane context. For example, he says he’s been “eternally damned,” and also “you could have damned us all!”. Characters are called “idiots” a few times.
Drugs/Alcohol: Some alcohol might be visible at the tavern, but it’s hard to tell.
Sexual Content: Women are shown in cleavage-revealing outfits sometimes. Three women are clearly after Gaston, sighing and swooning at his appearance. There are a few kisses between couples. One very awkward and shoehorned moment shows the wardrobe attack three men and dress them in girls’ clothes. Two of them scream and run, while one smiles and marches off, giving the impression he likes dressing like a woman. The wardrobe then says, “Go on, be free!”
As many people know, this version of “Beauty and the Beast” has received a lot of controversy for what the director has called “an exclusively gay moment,” an apparent Disney first. The character of Le Fou (Josh Gad), Gaston’s sidekick, is the character assigned as Disney’s first “LGBT character.” Condon says, “Gaston is a character who wants to be like Gaston one day, and kiss Gaston the next.” Here is what I found most notable:
Le Fou comically says, after Gaston states he wants to marry Belle, “But there won’t be any more us.”
Le Fou prances around effeminately throughout the musical number “Gaston” (much more than the animated version). At one point, he has Gaston wrap his arms around him. Le Fou then asks, “Too much?,” to Gaston’s immediate disgust.
At one point, once Gaston becomes dead-set on killing the Beast, Le Fou tells another character, “We’re just in a bad place right now.” The character replies, “You’re too good for him anyway.”
For two seconds during the closing reprise of “Beauty and the Beast,” Le Fou hooks up with another guy, and they start dancing. This is the supposed “gay moment” and “payoff” the director had in mind to confirm Le Fou’s sexuality. This moment feels very shoehorned and forced into the ending song. In my opinion, this blink-and-you’ll miss it moment doesn’t clearly say as much as the LGBT community hoped. The two male characters have looks of shock on their faces, almost as if it is purely an accident and intended for laughs; it is during a dance when partners change.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Other: Some characters lie and deceive. A dog is shown urinating on a hatstand at one point.
As a fan of Disney and the original film (which was the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars), I had not anticipated a movie like this in at least a few years. “Beauty and the Beast” always seemed like it was destined to have a live-action remake, as it is more of a human story than many of Disney’s cartoons. Plus, with “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book” and the excellent “Pete’s Dragon” all translating to big screen brilliance, this movie’s presence is far from a surprise (as a fan, I would love it if Disney remade “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “The Aristocats,” just a quick note if anyone from the studio is reading).
And, I have to say, at times, I really had a great time watching “Beauty and the Beast.” The transition from animation to live-action can be impressive and bring the same sense of wonder and magic the original brought. The soundtrack is spectacular, it’s a visual smörgåsbord, and the same strong moral and Biblical messages are shining here once again.
But, at the same time, this version of “Beauty and the Beast” breaks ground for Disney in a very unfortunate way. The decision to put in moments that hint at a character’s homosexuality is something that should have been reconsidered. Yes, it’s somewhat subtle. The way Le Fou acts in the “Gaston” number is much more of an indicator of his sexuality, honestly, than the two men dancing scene at the end. Yes, nothing is really spelled out, so younger kids probably won’t pick up on it, and any real uncomfortable moments are few and very brief. One might would wonder if the director had not publicized it, some might not have noticed it.
But, regardless, it is safe to say that Disney has sadly acquiesced to the left-wing pressure of “LGBT representation” in their films. It’s worth noting that staying away from worldly, political issues entirely is the reason why many go to the movies in the first place. They go for entertainment and escapism from daily worldly issues, and don’t want to be subjected to political statements, no matter how “subtle” they may be. I should also point out that this idea is not new for children’s/family movies, as similar controversy surrounded recent films such as “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Storks,” “Finding Dory,” and “Zootopia.”
Altogether, due to the subtle push of ideas that are contrary to God’s Word (as well as some intense moments and light magical elements), this version of “Beauty and the Beast” falls short of something I can recommend. It’s really a shame though, because those suggestive and awkward moments aside, it’s a really good remake with great music and some truly spectacular moments.
For parents and Christians who are unsure about what to do about this film, I would say take the content problems in this review into consideration before making a decision for yourself (and your family). Some think this movie should be avoided altogether, while some think of it as a teaching moment for their children regarding the worldly topics this movie lightly touches on. I will also say, for those who don’t have peace seeing this, the 1991 original is worthy of a re-watch. Because, while the remake does come close at times, it doesn’t quite recapture (as a whole) the same special and unique sense of awe and wonder that the original has.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
LGBTQ activists know that lightly inserting their agenda content into enjoyable and disarming movies that YOUR KIDS will watch (and view repeatedly) is MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE in achieving their goals than trying to get most non-LGBTQ parents to show their kids full-force LGBTQ propaganda and eroticism movies (although plenty of the later are produced). This same tactic is very effectively used by Liberals, to promote the message that nudity, casual sexual activity among teens, fornication or/and adultery are “totally normal and acceptable,” not sins that are actually very dangerous and lead to broken lives and more evil.
You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. —Deuteronomy 11:19 (NKJV)
Although the LGBTQ agenda is not strongly pushed in this film (likely to avoid greater financial risk), it is definitely (and purposely) there and is part of a clear trend.
1991: Disney World begins hosting Gay pride events. By 2010, Gay Days at Walt Disney World (first Saturday in June, preceded by a week of area LGBT events) “is now one of the largest gay pride events in the world” (Time and Wikipedia).
1998: At a Gay and Lesbian student conference (UC-Santa Cruz), leading Gay activist Elizabeth Birch, a lesbian and former chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reveals a recent conversation with then Disney CEO Michael Eisner in which he corrected her belief that 30% of Disney’s employees were Gay, telling her that it was actually 40%. (A video of her saying this at the conference is publicly available from Americans for Truth, who wonders what the LGBTQ percentage is now, 18 years later.)
April 2014: The Atlantic magazine (politics: left of center) publishes an article reporting, “It's not just Frozen: most Disney movies are pro-Gay / By preaching acceptance and questioning gender, the company’s kids films offer a queer-studies crash course.”
March 2016: The Walt Disney Company threatens to BOYCOTT Georgia over the state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” claiming it is anti-Gay and Lesbian.
May 2016: The Washington Post publishes an article titled “Are we ready for a gay Disney princess? We may be closer than you think.” (The newspaper is owned by Progressive Liberal activist Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.)
May 2016: An activist starts a LGBTQ Twitter campaign that expands quickly—calling on Disney to make Frozen’s Elsa a lesbian, to promote LGBTQ to kids.
September 2016: Actress/singer Idina Menzel, the voice of Elsa in “Frozen” and the upcoming “Frozen 2” (2018), says on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “I’m all for it. I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
November 2016: The Huffington Post reports that Disney’s “‘Moana’ directors say ‘possibilities are open’ for an LGBTQ Disney princess.”
February 2017: Disney XD cable channel shows a cartoon (aimed at young teens) that includes not only boys and girls kissing, but also Gay and Lesbian kisses in an episode of “Star vs. The Forces of Evil”.
March 2017: The director that Disney chose for this “Beauty and the Beast” family film is the director of the “Kinsey” (2004) theatrical drama that endorses virtually ALL sexual sins, including homosexuality. He also directed the homosexual themed “Gods and Monsters”. Director Bill Condon is openly homosexual and proudly announces his insertion of a more overt Gay character in a Disney kids’ movie.
Secular mass media outlets tell the world that this new “Beauty and the Beast” is a “watershed moment” for Disney, sending an even clearer public message that Disney IS promoting homosexuality as normal and totally acceptable (not a sin and rebellion against God).
What’s next? The trend is clear, but not necessarily inevitable. The future depends on the response of consumers.
In light of what has been happening, it is not surprising that Franklin Graham says of Disney…
“They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out! Disney has the right to make their cartoons, it’s a free country. But as Christians we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney. I met Walt Disney when I was a young boy—he was very gracious to me, my father Billy Graham, and my younger brother when we visited. He would be shocked at what has happened to the company that he started.”
Emma is regularly on our prayer list. Time magazine placed her on their list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Few, if any, worldly celebrities people are suitable role models for followers of Christ. They have unregenerate hearts and minds, and follow the false worldviews of a sinful world in prideful rebellion against their Creator—leading fans astray from true goodness, righteousness, true justice and holiness. Our role model should be Christ. That should be enough said about this issue. If you need specific information about Emma’s worldview, read below…
…I can’t say I loved it, as it drags and drags… It’s unnecessary. The animated “Beauty and the Beast”…is a cultural touchstone, the pinnacle of the animated musical art and a work which “live action version” cannot improve upon. …[3½/4]
—Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…Let’s be upfront. From a consumer reporting standpoint, Bill Condon’s “Beauty and the Beast” is not the best deal. As a production, it’s a kindhearted but over-dressed affair. As a movie, well, you know there’s already a perfect 1991 Disney film out there. …
—Blake Goble, Consequence of Sound
…Condon’s “Beauty and the Beast” succeeds spectacularly…
—Laura DeMarco, The Plain Dealer
…even better than the original…
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
…The new “Beauty and the Beast” is a lifeless re-creation of the original…
—Emily Yahr, Vulture
…Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a complex and shaded feminist movie…
—Marina Hyde, The Guardian
…has most of the charms and positive messages of the 1991 movie, but they are marred by some annoying, gratuitous politically correct homosexual references that are on the nose, out of place and in your face… this content was indeed overt and not implied. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…beautiful indeed, but second-beast in terms of character design… …Paradoxically, despite all the palpable budget spend on fancy computer effects, it’s the cheaper, old-school, real-world bits… that pack the biggest wallops. …
—Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
…A touching, eminently watchable, at times slightly awkward experience that justifies its existence yet never totally convinces you it's a movie the world was waiting for. …
—Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…The film turns out to be just a little anti-climactic… this feels more like a re-tread than a re-invention of the first Disney film… [3/5]
—Geoffrey Macnab, Independent [UK]