Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Disney/Walt Disney Pictures. I received an advance screening of Beauty and the Beast to facilitate this review. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that support YUMMommy!
Snow White might have been the first book that I learned how to read on my own, but Belle was the first Disney princess that I fell in love with. Somehow she felt different from the other princesses before her. She was the first Disney princess that I saw bits of myself in. Her love for books and her father knows no bounds. My family can you tell that I love doesn't even begin to describe the appreciation I have for the written word and it goes without saying that I love my family fiercely,
Belle wasn't boy crazy and didn't get a big head when the hottest and most guy in town showed in interest her. And we can't forget how compassionate and patient she was with Beast. Seeing Beauty and the Beast as kid gave me a boost of confidence and showed me that it was okay to stand out from the popular crowd. That movie earned a special place in my heart from the first time I saw it. So, when I heard that Disney was making a live action version of it, my emotions were all over the place.
I had a zillion and one questions zipping through my head. Who's going to play Belle? Are they going to add some diversity to the cast? Are the customs going to be out of this world? What about Beast, how they going to make him look realistic? And most importantly, what is Beast's library going to look like, will they do it justice?!
Honestly, I don't think I've stalked the internet for movie updates like I did for Beauty and the Beast since I heard about Disney introducing Tiana as their first Black Disney Princess. When I got invited to go to an advance screening of Beauty and the Beast, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I had to know if Disney and the cast did the movie, that so much a part of my childhood and helped me to fall in love with being different, justice. Let me tell you guys I was BLOWN AWAY! If haven't made plans to round up your family to go see Beauty and the Beast, here's why you should.
Why Your Family Should See Beauty and the Beast
Diversity | There's no denying that diversity and representation matter. It's 2017 and in my opinion, there's no reason why every fictional movie shouldn't have a diverse cast. I think Disney did a pretty good job of making sure Beauty and the Beast had a diverse cast and characters. Josh Gad who plays Le Fou is son of a Jewish Afghanistan father and an Ashkenazim Jewish mother. The lovely and beyond talented, award-winning Audra McDonald plays Garderobe. The gorgeous Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Plumette.
Also, many of the extras are POCs. And while we're on the subject of diversity and representation let's dive right into this whole gay characters controversy. There about three less 60 second scenes that could hint at two of the characters in this movie being LBGTQ+. At the end of the day, we live in world where we are free to love whomever we want.
WARNING: I'm about to get on my soapbox.
While I understand that many people many not agree with the LBGTQ+ lifestyle, I don't agree that these people don't have a right to be represented in main stream media. They spend money with Disney just like you and I do. I took my five year old son with me to the screening and I can assure he is not scarred in anyway having watched this movie. So let's stop with the Disney is trying to brainwash our children and turn them gay non-sense.
Please rest assured that if your kid or either of mine decides to come out to us later on in life it won't be because they watched Beauty and the Beast. It will be because that's the lifestyle they have made the decision to live. I can't speak for other parents, but my response would be to continue to love my children unconditionally and not wage a war against them. Remember, the greatest commandment God gave us as Christians is to love as neighbors as ourselves and not just the heterosexual ones either.
Okay I'm off my soapbox. I promise.
The Beast | Initially, I was on the fence about taking JJ to see Beauty and the Beast because I wasn't sure if he would afraid or not. Having a child with sensory issues, I never know completely know how he will respond to certain things. I was watching him like a hawk to see what his reason was going to be and mentally preparing myself to have to leave the theater.
Instead, he surprised me and instead of having a meltdown, he turned to me yell-whispered, "That's the beast mommy? He's so cool!" He wasn't even scared when Beast had to fight off those hungry wolves to rescue Belle and her horse, Philippe.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this movie is LOUD. However, we didn't mind because we were too spellbound by the awesomeness playing out on the screen.
Life Lessons | Beauty and the Beast isn't just a movie about a young woman who falls in love with a beast. There are many life lessons that our children can learn from this film. For example, the entire reason the prince is cursed to begin with is because he was coldhearted, rude and turned away a stranger in need. While feeling ourselves isn't always a bad thing, the prince was feeling him way too much! He makes a great example for talking to kids about compassion and why turning our noses down at others is bad.
Then there's Belle who can teach our children how to be confident in who they are. The townspeople thought Belle was strange because she didn't fit into the mold or role of what they thought a woman should be. They made fun of her and mocked her. Nevertheless, Belle stayed true to herself and confident in who she was. Belle is also a great example of displaying compassion, unconditional love and kindness. Not only did she take her father's place as Beast's prisoner, but she treated Beast with a kindness he'd never really allowed himself to know.
While bullying has been around since the beginning of time, in today's society bullying has gotten out of hand. Gaston makes a great example/gateway to open the door to talking about bullying with your children. He's rude to Le Fou (his best friend), treats Belle with no respect because she's a woman and makes fun of her father.
Honestly, I could go on and on about all of the subtle life lessons/gems in Beauty and the Beast, but I won't. Just know that this movie can be used not only to keep your family entertained for a few hours, but to serve as a vehicle to broaching serious topics and issues.
The Cast | I'm not sure how Disney seems to always select the right actors for their characters, but I couldn't have been more pleased with the main cast members of Beauty and the Beast. Emma Watson was a great choice for Belle since they have so much in common already like being bookworms. Dan Stevens nailed his role as Beast and was utter perfection if you ask me.
And after seeing Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Gaston and Le Fou respectively, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing their characters either. And while Audra McDonald makes a brief appearance in her human form in this movie, she stuns like nobody's business.
Overall Execution | This movie left me spellbound. From the superior acting to the amazing CGI and special effects, Beauty and the Beast will have you on the edge of seat in a trance. All I can say is prepared to be blown away like I was.
Musical Numbers | If you didn't know, Disney is the king of when it comes to crafting musical numbers/performances in their movies. Remember, Frozen and Moana? And let's not forget before those movies was The Lion King, Mary Poppins and of course the animated version of Beauty and the Beast.
Hands down my two favorite musical numbers from Beauty and the Beast are "Be Our Guest" and of course "Beauty and the Beast." I definitely feel like the actors did justice to each of their specific songs they had to sing. I was surprised to find out that Emma Watson really has a pleasant singing voice that is quite suited for theatrical singing. And Luke Evans and Josh God really put on a performance with their rendition of "Gaston." Prepare to sing along, I did.
Overall, I'm proud of the way Disney brought Beauty and the Beast to life. It's my favorite movie I've seen this year and will most definitely be in my Top 3 even at the end of the year. It was breathtaking, spellbounding, funny and just amazing. Whether you were a fan of the original Beauty and the Beast or not, it's definitely worth rounding up the family to see the live action version.