OPINION: Is there still beauty in this beast of a movie?

Photo Courtesy of StillMoving.net

Photo Courtesy of StillMoving.net

Adam Kelly, Staff Writer

The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are solely those of the original author(s).  These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Vision website or North Greenville University.

Since 2010, there have been several live-action remakes of Disney moves viewers have come to know and love. From Alice in Wonderland to The Jungle Book, audiences are always excited to see how the story can be delivered by the director and actors alike.

The most recent remake, Beauty and the Beast,  has received criticism from Christians for its inclusion of a gay moment for the villain's right-hand man, Lefou. All of the news circulating around this topic has made many people decide not to see the movie. 

After seeing Beauty and the Beast this past weekend, I will be reviewing the film as a whole, but will focus on the issue at hand: is the gay moment enough for Christians to stay away from this movie? 

Bill Condon, the director of the movie, made sure to keep his version as close to the original animation as possible. Aside from a few additional songs and slightly changed moments, many of the scenes were near identical to the 1991 film. Many of the turned CGI characters like Mrs. Potts and the Beast looked incredible and matched with the portrayal of the castle. Some critics were not a fan of how much technology went into the movie, but I am not sure what they expected it to be for a live-action film. 

The actors for the movie fit their characters as well. Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (Beast, although seen as CGI for the majority of the movie) had great chemistry and gave an amazing performance. Watson was the perfect fit for Belle, and even gave the movie a boost in publicity for her performances in other films like Harry Potter.

Other supporting characters like Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth) gave equally fantastic performances for the characters they had to portray. Luke Evans (Gaston) was arrogant and egotistical, all the traits needed for the villain he played. Lastly, Josh Gad's portrayal of Lefou was amazing as well, but a little bit different from the animated film.

In both the live-action and animated movies, Gaston's sidekick shows admiration for the person he looks up to. In the live-action film though, he showed a little bit more than admiration in some scenes. None of his lines were blatant, but you could tell there was a slight change in his character.  Nothing is confirmed until the very end of the movie during the ballroom scene when everyone changes partners and Lefou ends up dancing with Stanley, one of the three main men to lead the village mob toward the Beast's castle. 

Aside from that, the only other scene worth mentioning is when Madame Garderobe (the singing wardrobe in Belle's room) attacks the three same men by dressing them up in women's clothes. They run away except the Stanley, who instead, turns and smiles in his new outfit. 

Many people are unhappy with the addition of these scenes, and I could hear quiet murmurs in the crowd during the last scene with Lefou and Stanley, but laughter was heard amongst the crowd during every other scene or line said by one of the formerly named characters. I noticed that many kids were in the theatre and that they thoroughly enjoyed it as the lights came up and the credits rolled. 

The additional scenes and minor change in Lefou's character are so subtle, they are not anything that will encourage a child to question their parents about it. As a Christian, I believe that other Christians are also reading further into it than what needs to be. In 2017, Hollywood and media alike are being as progressive as possible to move the country into a more accepting spot. Rather than boycott the film and set fire to Facebook, we need to focus inward and think about how we can influence the people around us on this subject matter. 

As Christians, we need to recognize what is right and wrong and pass this knowledge on to younger generations and people who do not understand. But, we also need to realize how minuscule the "moment" is in the movie, and enjoy the story Condon gives to us. Christians have been making a huge deal about the scene causing many to flee, but there is nothing to flee from.

There is nothing in Beauty and the Beast that will make you cover your children's eyes. Children raised under Christian households need to know issues like this, and if anything, it would be an opportunity to talk to your children about it (after watching the movie). 

Overall, the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast was incredible. From the amazing cinematography to the nostalgic soundtrack that had everyone singing in their seats, this film had me glued to the screen the entire time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The amount of success it has received has spurred news of several live-action adaptions of other beloved Disney movies and I cannot wait to see them as well.