jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
[personal profile] jennaria
I might need to see it again - not so much because I liked it that much, as because I wasn't seeing it as its own movie. I was seeing it as all the bits and pieces that were the same, or changed, or in dialogue with* the animated movie, which I love with the unreasoning love of the 13-year-old Thia-let who originally saw it.

*'in dialogue with' here means 'holy crap I noticed that (e.g. why did nobody remember the castle) and they clearly noticed it as well and are saying something about it (e.g. a mention during the prologue that the memory blank was part of the sorceress's spell).'

An incomplete list of things I liked:

*More sorceress! Although both Wife and I called the sorceress's secret identity by the halfway point, and she was surprisingly...hands-off? It seemed like she was mostly present at the climax so the movie could have the sequence of last petal falls - FULL CURSE TAKES HOLD - Belle says 'I love you' (in front of sorceress) - FULL BREAKAGE OF CURSE, as opposed to Belle saying 'I love you' juuuust as the last petal falls.

*Lefou! The press has been all OMG HIS GAY CRUSH ON GASTON, and yeah, that's a thing that exists! And yes, it's not even vaguely a healthy relationship! But what intrigued me was the echos: for most of the movie, Gaston is self-centered, easily angered, and therefore dangerous, and Lefou is the only one who can bring him out of it, remind him to behave 'normally.' Then they hit the point where Gaston goes too far (trying to kill Maurice), and Lefou can't bring him back. This does mean that Lefou appears to get the clearest character arc in the movie. (As regards that famous 'authentically gay moment': I would've liked it to be longer and have had a shit-ton more foreshadowing plz. At least it's not the 'mourning at Gaston's grave' that some people speculated?)

*The Beast's castle, especially on Maurice's initial visit, is genuinely and gloriously creepy. It makes perfect sense that Maurice would quickly hit the NOPE I'M OUT point. (On the other hand, I still covet the Beast's library.) (Why did Maurice stop for the rose anyway? No seriously, why? I mean, yes, because Plot, and we get Character Explanation later, but it still seems abjectly stupid.)

On that cheerful note, an incomplete list of things I did not like:

*The Beast. Not his appearance, but he seems to have already given up when Belle appears. Several of his early bits of softening are taken away: he's not the one who takes Belle out of her cell, nor does he seem to realize that his roaring at Belle in the West Wing was maybe a bit of an overreaction. Frankly, I do not care about the possibly-magical wolves: I would've been pro Belle bringing the wounded Beast back to the castle and then just going home. Where was his character arc? I just didn't see it. Even when he's befriending Belle, he's belittling her taste in Shakespeare. Get over yourself, Mr. I Have A Huge Library And You Don't.

(On the other hand, the Prince is a noticeable improvement! ...this is admittedly a low bar to clear.)

*Multiple aspects of the climax, most centered around Gaston. Did he have a multi-shot gun? (I would object based on historical accuracy, but this is a Disney film and they are not big on historical accuracy, lord knows.) Why did they decide to go with a gun instead of bow or knife? Most importantly, where was the karma in his death? Just that he lingered to shoot the Beast again? I, personally, wanted the sorceress to specifically drop his bit of the bridge: Wife argued that Sorceress was in the business of redemption and killing Gaston is not redeeming him.

(Also, was the Sorceress supposed to be invisible or something? Because Belle doesn't even look over at her when the Beast abruptly goes all glowy and starts floating. I, personally, would be looking around for some kind of explanation, anything. Then again, the Beast doesn't seem to look around either after he transforms back, so maybe the Sorceress just peaced out once she started the transformation sequence.)

I admit, my biggest problem was that the movie did not match my lovingly developed headcanons for the original, which is not a thing I can really complain about and keep a straight face. But it did mean that I wasn't so much seeing the film it was, as the film it wasn't, so to speak, and which I acknowledge isn't fair. So maybe I'll give it a second chance. We'll see.
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jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)

September 2017

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