Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.
“Beauty and the Beast (2017)” is an unashamedly romantic and quality film, featuring an all-star cast. Emma Watson delivers in a big way as Belle, both looking the part of Beauty as well as showing some real singing ability. Dan Stevens does a commendable job as the Beast, displaying beastly anger and rage, in addition to showing the gentler side of this unusual suitor to Belle. They meet on unhappy terms, as the Beast has imprisoned her trespassing father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), who was chased by wolves and who came across the Beast’s castle. The opening sequence shows us why this once dashing prince became a beast. Now, only by having a young woman fall in love with him before the last petal from a rose given to him falls, can he be set free from forever remaining the Beast
The film features lavish costumes, dancing, terrific sets, great special effects, and wonderful actors and actresses such as Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans (as Gaston), Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci. The humor works well too. For example, the Beast and Belle both have a love of books in common, but when the Beast learns Belle’s favorite is “Romeo and Juliet,” his reaction, akin to mocking it for the pining that goes on, is quite comedic. The scene in which Belle throws a snowball at Beast and then he reciprocates with a huge snowball is funny too. And the songs are memorable such as “Be Our Guest” in addition to the classic “Beauty and the Beast” song.
When the Beast rescues the fleeing Belle and saves her from wolves, they begin to see each other in a new light. She reciprocates as she cares for him, nursing him back to health following his being wounded by the wolves. Despite the positives, one annoying aspect, as well as gratuitous aspect, is LeFou’s (Josh Gad) pining for Gaston. A few of these scenes include him speaking about Gaston’s “athletic build,” his telling some women who want to be Gaston’s “girl” that “it’s never going to happen, ladies,” as well as Gaston admiring himself in the mirror and telling himself before he walks away, “I’m not done with you yet.” LeFou responds, “Me neither.” In addition, in a segment in which LeFou sings about all the great qualities of Gaston, he puts Gaston’s arms around himself, looks happy, and then says to Gaston, “Too much?” LeFou comments to one man who asks why he doesn’t have a girl, “I have been told I am too clingy.” Finally, near the conclusion of the film, LeFou is dancing with a girl but then a smiling young man breaks in to dance with him and they both dance together.
The Dove Foundation has based our reviews on Judeo/Christian concepts for over 25 years. We have a largely conservative family base who share traditional values. Although we appreciate the good things about this film, we know a lot of young people watch these movies too, and we are not comfortable in the obvious political agenda of this film, or in letting down those that look to us for guidance in what their families should watch. For these reasons, we are withholding our Dove Family-Approved Seal from the movie.