Posted in Music, TV/Movie Stuff, Writer's Corner

“Beauty and the Beast” (Or, How I Defied Nostalgia and Learned to Love the Beast)

Sometimes, I’m willing to defy nostalgia.As you know, I am a very nostalgic person.  I like my music old, my movies left as they were, and my TV shows in all their dated glory.  If you tell me that Chicago and Kenny Loggins suck, well then…you suck!

I love nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia.  I like things to be left alone, no matter how dated something looks or feels, it was relevant at one time and that is all that matters to me.  One thing I like is when movies are left in their original film.  In other words, remakes make me unhappy when I’m convinced they are doing a disservice to the original.

But as I proved with Power Rangers last month, I can be swayed with a little persuasion.  And free movie tickets on my Regal card.  And the right company.

It is rare that I see a movie with my mom.  Usually, I see movies with my boyfriend, and when I was single (and even when my boyfriend and I became a couple, he lived 800 miles away), I often went alone.  But my mom had been jonseing to see Beauty and the Beast.  Me, not so much.  I’m not a big on Disney movies like I was in the past, and I’m not huge on sequels or unnecessary remakes.

Being a fan of the original film, I watched it religiously (moreso than the other Disney movies on my collection).  For me, that was the Frozen of my childhood, but with better music.  And no Olaf.  I had Lemiuere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip.  It was all I needed.

I was also a Law and Order fan growing up, and always particularly liked Lennie Briscoe, who of course, was played by the legendary Jerry Orbach.  As I’ve gotten older (and crankier), I have found one of my many “spirit animals” to be his wisecracking detective character.  And to that end, I cherish his performance of “Be Our Guest,” mostly because I’ve seen this video…

I say all this because when I heard there was a live-action remake of a movie I adored, I was really not ok with it.  My mom, on the other hand, was all for it.  Being a purist, I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I didn’t want anyone else singing “Be Our Guest” to upstage Jerry Orbach.

I REALLY need to stop overthinking and just go with things.

I loved this movie.  Loved as in, I told my boyfriend about it and that I want to go back to see it again.  Going from dragging my feet to “this will so be in my Blu-Ray collection when it gets released.”  This is all high praise from me.  This is what happens – I’m hesitant or downright obstinate about seeing/doing something, and it turns out to blow my expectations.  I found myself singing along to songs I’ve known for 26 years, remember whole scenes and lines of dialogue from a movie I haven’t seen since I was in high school, but always remembered fondly from when I was 8-9 years old and watching it for the first time.

Aside from the music, the casting was amazing.  I’m loving the diversified feel of Disney movies, even if I have no desire to see certain ones, the casting is reflecting the times.  When I was a kid (and for everyone before me), the world of Disney animation was a bit…lily white.  There was, of course, Song of the South, but that was banned long before my time because – gasp! – it was RACIST!  Of course, the homosexual and interracial elements of this movie were met with criticism, but really those people need to get over themselves and their views.  I know I whined and complained about how seeing this movie would ruin the original, but that’s not as bad as “Disney needs to stop being controversial!” Please, peeps.  They’ve embraced controversial (again, Song of the South).  Who cares about homosexual and racial elements in movies?  This is progress!  This wasn’t even something seen in the Disney movies I grew up with!

I realized while watching the movie that Belle is truly the Disney Princess I identify with. When my mom asked me this 10 years ago, I told her that I’m not any Disney Princess, and more of a She-Ra type.  That still holds true, but I am definitely Belle.  I’m a bookworm, I’m weird (it has been alledged), and I’m brunette.  I’m also as individual as I can be, and under most circumstances, that doesn’t bother me in the least.  Until Ariel and her red hair, these Disney Princess types were all blondes.  That’s not how it works  – some of us have brown hair!   That feels like progress!  It did take a little longer to truly make the princess realm diverse, but if it had to start with changing hair color, then it was a good start.  Ariel may have started it, but Belle has my hair color.  I’m fine with that.

Since I shared the video of Jerry Orbach singing “Be Our Guest,” you’re probably wondering how I felt about Ewan MacGregor taking the candlesticks and singing it.  I was pleasantly surprised.  In fact, I was happy.  I feel like “he’s not Jerry Orbach,” but I’m also saying “Who cares!  It was a Disney song, and Disney would never screw it up.”

As for “Beauty and the Beast,” as much as it pains me to say, Ariana Grande and John Legend made it as beautiful and memorable as Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson did 26 years ago.  They didn’t turn it into some annoying Disney song sung by some overenthusiastic teeny-bopper singer, but one that has all the grace and elegance of the original.  This isn’t “Let it Go,”and thank goodness it isn’t.  This was the “Let it Go” of its time, and I’d much rather sing all the songs in this movie over and over in my tone deaf fashion than have to listen to Idina Menzel sing “Let it Go” one more time.

Oh, and as for Josh Gad, I made sure to get in one riff on him when he was involved in a fight in this movie: “And that’s for playing Olaf the Annoying!” Inappropriate, perhaps, but Frozen has had it coming in my world.  That’s the movie that forever turned me off from Disney movies.

This movie was a “second chance” sort of thing, and it reignited my love for the original from all those years ago.  Do I recommend this film?  Yes, yes, a million times, yes!  Or is it “Oui, oui, un million de fois, oui!”?

Bad French aside, I’m glad I saw the movie.  🙂

(Featured Image Source)

Author:

Writer, former dancer, geek, nostalgia geek, Secretary by day, daughter, sister/in-law, girlfriend, aunt. Yankees and Giants fan, honorary Avenger (I have a pin, so it is official :-) ), MSTie, and Stargate, Thor, and Hello Kitty collector. And if you want to know anything about me: https://allisonveneziowrites.com/about-allison

4 thoughts on ““Beauty and the Beast” (Or, How I Defied Nostalgia and Learned to Love the Beast)

  1. Beauty and Beast was one of my favorite Disney movies as a child, but did forgot I loved it at one point. The 2017 movie made me feel like a kid again and Beauty and the Beast reentered my life. The main song I remember from the musical from when I was younger was “Beauty and the Beast”. The story and the songs truly are magical. I can identity with Belle because I love to read and do care and do understand that beauty comes from within and I know what its like to be different. I saw the stage show when I was in elementary school, but need to revisit that as well since I do not remember seeing it

    Liked by 1 person

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