Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Beauty and the Beast

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Beer, scenes in bar
Violence/Scariness:Some scary moments with wolves, fighting
Diversity Issues:Theme of not judging by appearances
Movie Release Date:January 13, 2012
DVD Release Date:2010

“Beauty and the Beast” is one of Disney’s most beloved fairy tales and the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  This week it is back in theaters in 3D and it looks gorgeous.  It is preceded by a short film called “Tangled Ever After,” with a wild chase as the chameleon and the horse try to retrieve the lost wedding rings for Rapunzel and Flynn.  It is a lot of fun but the contrast between the organic 3D effects and digital images of the “Tangled” mini-sequel provide an unintentional contrast to the less effective converted traditional animation of the mostly hand-drawn 1991 film.  The colors and design look wonderfully crisp and inviting.  But the 3D effects are at times distracting, imposing a multi-plane Viewmaster effect on the flat drawings of traditional animation instead of creating an immersive depth of field.  Unsurprisingly, the 3D is most effective in the then-innovative ballroom scene, which used pioneering computer imagery to create a sense of spaciousness and is nicely enhanced by technology that the filmmakers in 1991 could only dream of.

Ultimately, what makes “Beauty and the Beast” so winning, though, is its story, characters, and songs, which need no restoration.  They are as fresh as ever.  Clever lyrics by the late Howard Ashman are a delight, with a brute singing about how he decorates with antlers or the stirring Oscar-winning theme song played as the couple dances alone in an enormous ballroom.  And it is a joy to revisit the timeless pleasures of traditional Disney storytelling, with no attempts to add sizzle from celebrity voice talent or radio-friendly pop songs.  The movie’s roots are in Broadway, with performances from Tony-winners Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach and tuneful ballads from composer Alan Menken, including the rousing “Be Our Guest” and the joyous introductory “Belle.” Notice the way that only Belle wears blue in the opening scenes, helping to set her apart from the people in her village.  We know before she does that she and the Beast have something in common when we see that he also wears blue.

Belle (voice of Broadway star Paige O’Hara)  is the book-loving daughter of an absent-minded inventor. She wants “more than this provincial life” and the boorish hunter Gaston, who hopes to marry her.

Lost in the woods, Belle’s father stumbles into what appears to be a deserted castle. But the castle is inhabited by the angry Beast, once a prince, now under a spell that will last forever unless he finds love before he turns 21. The same spell turned all of the human staff of the castle into objects — a clock, a candelabra, a teapot, a mop.

The Beast, furious at being seen by an intruder, locks Belle’s father in the dungeon. Belle comes after her father and offers to take his place. The Beast accepts, lets her father go, and tells Belle she must stay with him forever.

At first antagonistic, she begins to find the Beast appealingly gentle and kind, wounded in spirit, rather than cruel.  He shares her love of books.  Back in Belle’s village, Gaston tries to get Belle’s father committed, saying that his talk of the Beast shows he is delusional.  Belle, home on a visit to care for her father, proves that the Beast exists to show that her father is telling the truth.  The townspeople are terrified and form a mob to kill the Beast.

In a fight with Gaston, the Beast is badly wounded. Belle tells him she loves him, which ends the spell. He becomes once again the handsome prince, and they live happily ever after.

Parents should know that this movie has some scary moments when Belle is chased by wolves and when Gaston and the townspeople storm the Beast’s castle.  It appears briefly that the Beast has been killed.  Characters drink beer and there are scenes in a bar.

Family discussion: Gaston and the Beast both wanted to marry Belle — how were their reasons different?  Why did the prince became the beast and what did he have to learn before he could return to his handsome exterior? What did Belle have to learn? What made her decide she liked the Beast?

If you like this, try: Some of the other movie adaptations of this story. One of the most lyrically beautiful of all films ever made is Jean Cocteau’s version of this story, “Belle et Bete.” The Faerie Tale Theatre version stars Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski, and is very well done.



  • http://www.bestromancemovies.com/ Romance Movies

    Thanks for posting information on the new release of “Beauty and the Beast”! I am so excited about this new dvd. I have been a fan of this movie since I was a child and it was first released. I also appreciate you comments on what families could discuss about the movie and your other suggestions.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Romance Movies! My pleasure.

  • http://theravelledsleave.blogspot.com Lynn

    Am I the only one who thinks he is far more interesting as the Beast? Handsome as the prince, yes, but also rather bland. (I am long past my penchant for Bad Boys, but a thoroughly reformed one can be truly charming.)

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I agree, Lynn, and the same comment is often made about the classic French film of this story as well.

Previous Posts

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media
Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. The spirit is nourished by silence. All too often, we try to drown out our unsettled or lonely fe

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS. Two upcoming films about people with ALS

posted 7:00:17am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.