Movies

Everyone needs a LaFou

Note: It took me forever to finally get to a theater and see the new Beauty and the Beast!  I was blown away by the reimagining, and wanted to share my thoughts here.  If you haven’t seen it and don’t want spoilers about what’s new, you probably shouldn’t read on.
Also, you may have noticed that the blog has changed.  Yes, this used to be The Disney Housewife blog! I’m trying something new that I’ll explain in a later post, and I’ll keep writing a ton of Disney-related stuffs, so please keep stopping by to see what happens!

Out of the live action movies Disney has been releasing over the last several years, I’ve seen Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella, and I have to say that the new Beauty & the Beast far surpassed the others I’d seen.  Before I get into it, though, here’s my quick-takes on the previous three I’d seen:

Alice in Wonderland: Forgettable.  Pretty sure I fell asleep twice, because I don’t remember the end. I love the book, and I don’t even like the animated adaption much.  (Love the world and that other people love it, Hate the adaption.  That’s a thing, right?)

Maleficent: I was SO looking forward to this movie, and I was rather pleased with Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent.  But the overall storyline pulled a Frozen for me, aka took a turn in the middle to make an awesome villain the tragic hero.  Can’t we PLEASE let the mistress of evil be, I don’t know, EVIL?  It’s okay to like, and even feel sorry for, someone who hasn’t redeemed themselves by the end of a movie.  (Like Dr. Horrible, everyone’s lovable villain!)

Cinderella: Cinderella is, of course, a goody-one-shoe, but that’s why we all love her.  The film hilights good morals, and the movie won me over with the blue dress.  Plus, even though Cindy forgives her stepfamily, her husband has the balls good judgement to exile them.  Brownie points to Disney for fleshing out one of their most historically boring princes.  Downside: Helena Bonham Carter as the creepiest fairy godmother no one wanted.

Now that those are off my chest… I went into Beauty and the Beast with low expectations, spending far too much of the movie thinking “Oh, they’re going to mess this scene up!”
But it was amazing!

Everything that was added or taken away was obviously given lots of loving thought, and favorite minor characters were fleshed out in a way that added to the movie without distracting from the main action.

One of my favorite things in the film was seeing the relationship between Gaston and LaFou.  Everyone needs a LaFou best bro.  Someone who will pay a ridiculous amount of coin to random people at the local pub just to cheer you up on a bad day.  Someone who will offer you advice when you don’t necessarily want it, and someone who will tell you you’re horribly in the wrong, all while still loving you.  Josh Gadd definitely impressed me with a much more thoughtful version of the endearing buffoon, one who realizes Belle’s dignity more than her suitor, and who has a conscience that guides him to realize he can’t support Gaston after he crossed too many evil lines.

And Gaston was so delightfully manipulative that I wasn’t convinced I’d dislike him much by the end of the film.  In the original, Gaston is annoying and a bully, but he’s so transparent that you can’t understand why an entire village would rally with him to go attack a castle they didn’t realize was important until that day.  Now he’s so good at disguising his true, vicious personality that no one, not even LaFou sees what Gaston is capable of until he’s already acting on his impulses.  For the first half of the movie I kept thinking, “Gaston is too likable!  How will they come back from this?”  Of course, once he leaves someone to die a gruesome death because they were annoying and in his way… that did it.

But I think that’s why I liked this portrayal.  Gaston actually makes the audience believe that he’s interested in Belle for more than being a pretty prize.  At first he tries to relate with Belle about books, of all things.  Really, truly tries.  And tries to make her feel better when the townspeople are mocking her.  Granted, this is all for his own ends of marriage,  but he is so convincing, and so good at manipulating the entire town, that it’s scarily realistic.

With Beast, I’ll admit that I had low expectations after The Tragedy of Grand Moff Tarkin’s Face.   But I was again pleasantly surprised that I never questioned whether or not Beast was real.  He was just Beast.

And I love that he’s now good, and actually as nice as his staff keeps claiming he is.  Beast isn’t a bully who has to be changed by a woman, he’s just battling a horrible childhood, years of depression from isolation and hopelessness, and a case of DAMMIT DON’T STEAL MY PRETTY ROSES, YOU THIEVES! (Come on, if you live in a castle and someone breaks in, protocol is that you toss people in dungeons.)  He’s never truly mean to Belle, just annoyed that she’s there.  He’s lost any hope that a woman would love him, so why even bother with breaking the spell?
Plus there’s the addition of Beast being literate and having a sense of humor.  He’s not just won over by Belle because he’s impressed by her, they actually have things in common that they can bond over.   And they even already have little inside jokes to giggle over when they’re an old married couple, like the “grow a beard” comment.  #totesadorbs
And to top it off, I got a happy case of “Matthew’s back!” warm fuzzies when Beast transformed, and no one called once called him Adam.  Win-win.

This version of Beauty & the Beast blew me away, but it wasn’t just seeing something I loved as a kid be performed by live people (though yes, my inner little girl squealed with delight a lot).  It was seeing my favorite characters fleshed out to become more than characters with simple motivations and simple personalities, but the whole people that I grew up wanting and believing them to be.

 

 

[Note for parents: it’s a great movie even for kids, though probably not the super littles because there are a lot of intense, surprising or just darker-themed scenes, including finding out how Belle’s mom died.  And for anyone worried about that hyped-up “gay moment,” it’s nothing worse than what was in the original film.]

 

 

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30 Day Challenge

An Overrated Disney Movie (in my opinion) – 30 Day Disney Challenge: Day 21

An overrated Disney movie? Yep, there is such a thing.

Luckily for this blogger, Disney has recently made this choice a very easy one.

Because I’m a nerd who likes doing small amounts of research, I turned to the all-knowing Google.  Google defined  “overrated” as having “a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.”   So remember, even though I think the movie is overrated, the word overrated does not mean, “I DESPISE THIS MOVIE WITH THE HOT HATRED OF A MILLION SUNS!” I just means I think it gets too much credit that is due elsewhere.  So leave your defensive comments at the door, because I sing the soundtrack enough to annoy my husband along with the rest of you.
Continue reading “An Overrated Disney Movie (in my opinion) – 30 Day Disney Challenge: Day 21”

30 Day Challenge

Favorite Disney Sequel – 30 Day Disney Challenge: Day 20

Whenever a new movie sequel is announced, I find that my friends and myself tend to respond in the same way.  Especially if the first movie was liked, there’s a decent amount of eye rolling, talk of “ruining our favorite characters!” or “Not even the same actors? Sheesh.”

There are some exceptions.  For example, the second and third Star Wars movies were good.  (The REAL second and third, not the new stuff.  The new ones were barely passable, only decent due to Mace Windu and Ewan McGregor.)  The latest round of Marvel movies have not yet been disappointing, with the exception of “Thor: Oh Crap, We Need Loki Out of Prison So Here’s Another Movie, in which Scientific Coincidences Save Main Characters But Are Otherwise Suspiciously Convenient The Dark World.”  (Okay, it wasn’t terribly disappointing, but it was my least favorite of the Marvel movies yet.)

Then there are Disney sequels.  And thanks to years of babysitting, I have had the, er, pleasure of seeing some of the direct-to-video sequels to some Disney classics.

For example, “Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time.”  It was, surprisingly, an enjoyable movie, or at least enjoyable when watched with a three year old girl, and had a really interesting plot.  However, the second Cinderella was incredibly boring, entailing Cinderella’s new life in the palace and getting used to no longer being a maid with chores.  Think Tarzan 2, but with a really dumb and boring plot.

(Yes, there is a Tarzan 2.  The TV show was better.  Yes, there was a Tarzan TV show.)

In my family, we don’t talk about the terrible film “Parents Are Mad So We Made The Sequel Historically Accurate To Crush Your Dreams of True Love Pocahontas 2.”  Horrendous filth that just broke my little Disney-magic-filled heart as a kid.  (If you haven’t seen the first one, or if you have a heart of stone and like to see a man’s heart broken and life ruined, then you might like it.)

But I’m getting off-topic.

Getting back on topic, I have decided that I am going to pick a favorite sequel only from Pixar’s/Disney’s animated movies.  It makes the job a little easier for me, and sticks to good ol’ Classic Disney style kids movies.

And now, for my first honorable mention…

Toy Story 3
If you claim you didn’t cry… You’re one of those weird Pocahontas 2 lovers.

I know, I know, I didn’t pick it as my favorite!  For the record, it’s a close, close second.  Like, it squeaked by.  They might be equal.  But I’m only officially picking one movie, so we will just pretend that this one came in second.

I still remember watching this movie for the first time, in a crowd of college students who all talked, before and after the film, of how when Andy was a kid, we were kids.  We grew up with him.  We are going to college at the same time as him.  We still, yes, have some toys like he does, and yes, we all cried several times by the end and were not ashamed to admit it.

And for my number one favorite sequel:

The Rescuers Down Under

I watched both “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under” a lot when I was little, but I definitely enjoyed the second one more.  The bad guy was not quite as creepy, and there was no icky skeleton in the cave/girl may drown scene to scare me.

Now that I’m a grown up, I still like Down Under the most!  Maybe it’s because I have a thing for movies with a lot of talking animals, a lot of “show the plot, don’t tell the plot” with music, or the adorable way Bernard keeps trying…and failing… to propose to Miss Bianca.

It’s an older film, and not very well known.  If you haven’t seen it, or it’s been a while, give it a shot!  (Last I knew, it was on Netflix… hint, hint.)

30 Day Challenge

My first ever Disney movie – 30 Day Disney Challenge: Day 15

How many of you remember the first movie you ever saw in theaters?  Anyone?

Well if you do, you are lucky.  Because I know which movie I first saw in theaters, and it was also my first Disney movie (that I know of, unless mom had me watch a Disney movie at home, before I was two, without my knowledge.  Sneaky.)

But though I know what my first Disney flick was, I don’t remember going to see it at all.  But since I trust my mother on this one, seeing as her mind was much more developed in 1992 than mine was, we’ll go with her memory banks.

First ever Disney movie: Aladdin

Apparently, my first Disney movie at 2 years old.
Apparently, my first Disney movie.

 According to reliable sources (aka mom & dad) my dad took me to see this, my first movie in a theater!

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why it’s still one of my favorites, and has my favorite Disney kiss, one of my favorite princesses…

Maybe why I have a thing for Disney thieves…

But I digress.

And I must give a nod to the first Disney movie I remember seeing in theaters, though of course by the time it came out, I was well into my career-level of Disney movie-watching, with dozens of rounds of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White under my belt.

First Disney Movie I remember seeing in theaters:

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii  don't know what they're SAYYYINNNNGGGG, but let's all sing aloooonnngggg…..
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii don’t know what they’re SAYYYINNNNGGGG, but let’s all sing aloooonnngggg…..

 

There were a lot of runs for more popcorn when we went to see this, that much I remember.  And that’s about it, besides a vague recollection of sitting next to my mom and seeing lions and Zazu on the screen.

Zazu
Gee, I wonder where my lifelong love of snarkiness came from? *Bazinga*

Of course, I’ve now seen this movie around 100 times (thanks, little sister!) and know the music and words by heart–thank you Elton John!

(*cough*Of course this is only his second-best animated musical… Dreamworks’ El Dorado was amazing, *cough cough*)

What was your first Disney movie?  I’m always curious how some people got to adulthood, let alone ten, before ever seeing a Disney masterpiece.  Whether you were itty-bitty, or not-so itty-bitty, I’d love to know what your first Disney experience was!