Beauty and the Beast Review

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast – The New One

So I finally went to see Beauty and the Beast, despite some reluctance. I was having a hard time with Hermione, a know-it-all girl I saw growing up into a know-it-all woman, as Belle. Although the effect wasn’t as bad as I feared, I never quite got over that.  I was also having a hard time getting over the fact that Disney was telling the exact same story as the animated feature, instead of taking a deeper look at the source material like they did with The Jungle Book. Aside from a few forgettable song additions and a more robust backstory, this is almost scene for scene the same movie, just brought to “life” (even though half the movie is still animated, just with computer graphics). 

Still, I liked the original enough to give this one a try. For the most part, I liked this. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it does a good job. But remaking a classic animation invites comparisons and I’m going to do just that.

Criticisms of the Original

If you’ve seen any film theory videos on the original Beauty and the Beast, you’ll find two main criticisms, both of which are nitpicky, in my opinion.

The first criticism is that Belle is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. That is where a kidnapped person identifies and sides with their captor. This new film doesn’t really address that issue, although Hermione did in interviews. But Belle voluntarily became a prisoner to free her father. The Beast didn’t kidnap her. And he eventually makes an effort to court her and treat her as a guest. So I don’t think this one holds.

This film directly addresses the second criticism, the muddled timeline. In the original, the Beast will remain cursed if he doesn’t find true love before his 21st birthday. Lumiere, in the song “Be Our Guest,” tells Belle that they have been rusting for 10 years now. So that implies the Beast received his curse when he was 11 years old. This would make his refusal of the enchantress more understandable, as he was just a bratty boy. But the original also had a painting of him as an adult human, so the curse couldn’t have taken place in his boyhood. In the end, it doesn’t make much sense either way.

This new one makes clear the enchantress cursed him as an adult. It also avoids any mention of a time span. Another thing this version does is mention how the nearby villagers forgot about the castle and its inhabitants. 

New Problems

While this new version of Beauty and the Beast addresses those issues, it introduces a few new ones. The biggest one, in my opinion, is a book that lets the two of them travel outside the castle. If the magic mirror wasn’t enough, the Beast has this new magic power. But its use is confusing.

Belle travels to her home in Paris. Spoiler alert: her mom is dead. She died from the plague. Belle goes to a home that appears recently abandoned, as there are still drawings of her as a baby there. So did she travel in time? The film also makes clear it is real, not just in their minds, as Belle takes a rose pen thing from the home and later shows it to her father. But in the flashback, Belle’s mother, sick with the plague, kisses it. So does Belle contract the plague as well? And if she can travel in time, could she save her mother? This device just adds new complications.

Technical issues

It is pretty clear they live in France (there is a song about people saying Bonjour). But Hermione has an English accent, while Obi Wan Kenobi hams up his French accent. It doesn’t make sense.

Speaking of Obi Wan Kenobi, who plays Lumiere, he steals the show, but I still think I prefer the original one. The singing worked better and I liked his animation better in the original Beauty and the Beast. Gandalf, playing Cogsworth, just sounds like an old man, not as fun as the original. The Hobbit’s Bard did a great job as manly man Gaston. And Olaf added depth to LeFou, while keeping the gay character controversy low key.

There were a few issues with the Beast. Although usually good, there were a few times the animation wasn’t smooth. And he looked more like a satyr than the buffalo hulk monster in the original Beauty and the Beast. His bad manners make no sense, since he was a prince before. And he tells Gaston in the end that he is no beast, while Belle calls him Beast just a moment later. 

One technical issue I saw was the scene transitions. Some scenes feel rushed. It is as if the director is saying, “You already saw this in the original and know what they’re thinking, so let’s just cut to the chase.” It was a bit jarring. The scenes didn’t flow into each other as well. Their falling in love scenes especially suffered from that, although I did enjoy seeing Hermione clocked in the face with a giant snowball. 

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast, but I don’t think it tops the original animated version, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. This one won’t get that. The original flowed better, the servants fit in an animated world better, and Belle didn’t annoy me like Hermione occasionally did. But it was nice to see things imagined realistically. 

 

New Portfolio Site

New Portfolio

My New Website

As I have been working on my masters degree in UX Design, I have been given the task of creating a portfolio piece. So I thought I would take it a step further and create a new website that showcases my graphic design work as well (my old site will be taken down soon. Check out my embarrassing student work and manual coding before it goes). And I wanted to take this post to talk about what I’ve been doing with my life.

Graphic Design

I studied graphic design and graduated 3 years ago. Since then I have been working for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been great. Most of my work displayed on my portfolio site is from this job. My old site has my college projects. I’ve always loved art and now I’m getting paid for it.

UX Design

I have come to realize that graphic designers are getting replaced by user experience designers, though. So to keep up with the times, I am now studying for a Masters degree in UX design, which will hopefully give me an edge before my job is replaced.

Personal Projects

My all consuming project has been this, Sage Eyes, first conceived around the time I was ten, although in a very different form. Simon was a wizard in training whose magic kept messing up. Tiffany (then Tirany) was a warrior princess. The original story didn’t get very far, but elements have stuck around and morphed into what I have now. I’m finishing up editing the book, and I’ve spent time illustrating and animating characters, creatures, and other things from the book. Below is the trailer if you haven’t seen it.

I have also taken time to create an infographic about the Greek Gods, and then do a video about them, just because they’ve been an interest of mine ever since I saw the Disney movie Hercules. I’ve let it live on Youtube and it’s grown respectfully since then.

As you can see, creating things consumes my life. It’s what gives me the most satisfaction. Hopefully it can give other people enjoyable experiences as well.

Also, another site with most of my work is Behance. Check that out, too.

Thanks!

 

Tools I Use

Superman Lego Tools
If you’ve read the About the Author page on this site, you’ll know I have a lot of interests, especially when it comes to the arts. I try to use what I can to create the things that I want, and today there are so many resources. Everything on this site I created myself and mostly for free, except for the music on the trailer video (music just isn’t my strong suit). So I’m going to talk about what I’ve been using, or thinking of using.

Writing Tools

As much as I’ve tried to distance myself from Microsoft since becoming a Graphic Designer (Microsoft Office is some of the worst designed software out there), I still use Microsoft Word for writing. It’s not pretty, but it does the job (doesn’t hurt that my University gave me a free copy). For my 900+ page book, it can handle it, even if it takes some time to load up all the pages. If you have this program and don’t want to get another one, you might as well use it. Otherwise there are things like Google docs, Open Office, and other cheaper or free versions.
At first I didn’t really get this, so it just lingered on my computer. But then I installed it on my *cough* computer at work *cough* and my cell phone, and I’ve found it’s really useful to have a place to make or reference notes wherever I go. I may or may not have written full scenes at work and then transferred them to the master document at home.
I actually haven’t used this. But I hear it’s good. And only $50, compared to the hundreds you can waste on Word. You can be the judge.

Utility Tools

This works a bit like Evernote, but with files. I can access my files wherever I am, which is useful. I don’t even have to have it installed, just go to the website.

Art Tools

As far as making art goes, Photoshop is a great all around program. It can also be expensive. I wouldn’t use it if I weren’t a graphic designer who bought it for school. As far as design and layout go, Illustrator and InDesign are a lot better. There are free or cheap versions of a lot of these programs, like Gimp instead of Photoshop, so you aren’t necessarily limited by money.
If you like to draw, get a drawing tablet for digital drawings. It is easier than scanning drawings in, and works well with Photoshop. Wacom is the most well known, but you could probably find cheaper knockoff versions as well.

Animation Tools

Blender is a free, open source 3D tool. You can use it for modeling, animation, and even video game logic. It can do so many things, for free…but it’s hard to use. Really hard, especially if you’ve never played in 3D before. I used it to create my video, as well as the stills, but it took me a long time just to get comfortable in my little corner, and there’s still a lot I don’t know.
This is a free program to create a human model for Blender and other 3D programs. Some call it cheating, I just care about the end result. Your people might look a little generic, and clothing options are limited, so you’ll want to have some modeling skills to modify it afterward, but it does help.
I used this to combine all the videos, since it was part of the Adobe suite. There are other programs as well, especially for basic editing.

Computing Tools

I used to use Windows…until I was introduced to Mac. It makes Windows, especially the older versions, feel clunky in comparison. The only downsides are the costs and lack of some software, especially computer games. But that will help you be more productive in the long run, anyway.