Beauty and the Beast Review

Spoiler-free, if you kept up with the publicity before it was released (>> Lefou)

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I finally found my way to the live action version of Beauty and the Beast!! It took me a while to get to it. I must say that I wasn’t super looking forward to it. Remakes are hard to pull off. I didn’t want to be disappointed in one of my favorite Disney films. I steered clear and let the hype die, because I felt the need to form my own thoughts on this movie. When it was first released, I was pulled in so many directions, that I had to leave the scene and forget about it.

Did I go into it with a clear head? Of course not. I can’t rid myself of the love I have for Belle, Chip, Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts, and lastly, the Beast (although my child-self was scared of him at first, and thought he was too pretty in the end). There was also the past animations turned live-actions to consider; I myself LOVED Maleficent, but thought Cinderella was a huge letdown. And Alice in Wonderland had the best luck because it was directed by Tim Burton who did a very nice job mirroring the oddly beautiful world of Lewis Carroll. That’s why going in, I had the lowest of expectations.

Actually, I had prepared for not liking it. The very first moment I heard Emma Watson sing was a … well… I don’t really know what my exact thoughts were. I just knew that I didn’t like the digital distortions and auto-tuning that was going on. It was especially notable, because hers was the only voice being so very ‘enhanced/improved’ (—-I’m not really sure what word to use here). And so, my question is, was her voice really that bad that it needed so many embellishments?  If so, why not cast someone who can actually sing? If I had the choice between watching a musical with either an unfamiliar leading lady with a great voice, or with a famous actress whose voice had digital improvements, I would without a doubt pick the former. Maybe that’s just my personal preference, and the regular audience doesn’t pick up on these musical enhancements, but I do, and I don’t like it. I do have to add: it’s not that Emma Watson can’t sing or has a bad voice–she was actually good as a not-singing Belle. It’s just that the rest of the cast had GREAT voices, so hers felt a little out of place to me.

Thus, I was not liking this film.

Imagine my surprise when 30 minutes later, I was smiling and singing along with the songs and tearing up at the memories it brought along for me. I JUST LOVE THIS FILM SO FUCKING MUCH. And I must say that it was a good watch. Was it as good as the animation? No. Did I enjoy watching it? HELL YES!! They could not ruin this film, and they didn’t. It was exactly the same, and I loved that they made Belle a feminist fighting to make her own choices more so than she already did in the original. I was really moved: Beast’s song made me cry, and the ending had me bawling.

One last thing I have to mention. Lefou is gay. The subtext was adamantly clear. But I do not consider this as the revolutionary first openly gay character in a Disney film ever (as Disney would have you believe). The fact that Lefou is attracted to guys was never explicitly mentioned within canon. It’s all fun and games when Disney tells the press that Lefou is gay, but this helps no one when The Straights™ point to the film and say there’s nothing going on. If it isn’t mentioned in the film it gives them deniability, even though it’s obvioussome people can still claim they don’t see it. So no Disney, this is not good LGBTQA+ representation, and I will side-eye you until you give us what we deserve!

Final judgement: I recommend it, but don’t do it for anything other than liking the source material, and don’t expect it to be perfect.

 

All Hail American Gods

Spoiler-ish? Nothing hardcore. This is a little messy, might fine tune it later, but I wanted to get it out today.

Monday May 1st 2017, the various stages of enlightenment:

  1. Oh my God, can you believe American Gods aired last night. It’s here! It’s finally here. I’ve got to watch this asap. Leave me alone!! I’m watching American Gods!! Check back in an hour!!!
  2. The opening credits hyped me the fuck up, I could watch them forever!
  3. *completely and utterly captivated by the episode*
  4. MINDBLOWN Holy fucking shit!! This is it!! This is what we’ve been waiting for!! Holy fuck, it’s better than expected!! I need to see this again!! Lord almighty, praise Odin!!
  5. I’ve got to review this shit! Let’s get a second season!!! This is fucking epic!! Where has this been all my life!!

So, let’s strike the iron while it’s still hot. American Gods. Oh Lord, our savior, thank you for this gift. This review will in no way be an exaggeration. Well, maybe a little. I can just tell this tv series will be my next obsession. Seriously, don’t know what else to tell you, I was blown away. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, right now! Or you could finish reading this review first.

First off, this show is Graphic (see how I capitalized and emboldened it??). Blood and gore everywhere, it doesn’t shy away from extravagant sex scenes. If you read the source material by Neil Gaiman, you know what I am talking about. The scene on the beach, especially, reminded me of the fights in Game of Thrones and Spartacus. Also, trigger warning: nooses are a motief in this first episode and there is an actual hanging. Apart from the drenching bloodshed, I like the cinematography in general. The visual effects are incredible as well, like the wall crumbling down or Shadow’s dreams about the tree! I have no chill. I also want to congratulate everyone in production design, especially the people who designed the sets, the background colors enrich Ricky’s brown skin beautifully, which is not always a given.

Can we talk about the sound and music?? It’s so on point, it enhances the scene without monopolizing the viewer’s attention. Whoever those sound guys are, they did a kickass job, for real impressed! (I looked up some names: Brian Reitzell, Brad North, Judah Getz, … hats off to you!). The part after Shadow found out about …[spoiler], and he walks out of the prison, the anxious sounds gave me chills. It’s as if the sound people were hooked into Shadow’s nervous system and they knew which exact instrument and pitch to use for every feeling.

About the cast, my love for Ricky Whittle surges from a well with an endless supply. He was the one that made me run to the bookstore buying American Gods, when I got wind of him playing the lead. I would follow him everywhere. He’s such a charming loveable goofball–I know I don’t actually know him, but from Periscope and Cast interviews and Instagram, I can feel that he’s a sunshine walking this earth, and I believe that he would give the best all-encompassing bear hugs. I love him in this role! I love Shadow Moon! I didn’t have one flashback to Lincoln from The 100, so I know his acting is flawless! The emotions he portrays with the muscles in his face, his eyes, his veins, he’s in complete control of his body. His physique?? Dear Lord, I die.

Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith! A sneaky little bastard, perfect for this role. Though I’m not sure at this point if he’ll get lots of screen time, but… this character, man, I’m going to have such a big love/hate relationship with him.

Meet Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, a woman of earth-shattering beauty, both on and off-screen. The scene plays out exactly as I expected it would, but she only has the one in the books, and she’s a main cast member in the series, so I look forward to seeing her character grow/fall??? What will it be?? It’s a coin toss where all players have tricks up their sleeves.

Worthy mentions: Ian McShane as the magnanimous Mr Wednesday does an amazing job! Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney, here again the perfect casting. We haven’t seen much of Bruce Langley’s Technical Boy, but that is another thing to look forward to. The scenes with Emily Browning as Laura Moon have been pretty good!

Can you believe I have no bad things to say about this show???

To all haters, criticizing this show for its lack of clear plot line or direction? THIS IS THE INTENTION! If you don’t like being swept up in a daydream/nightmare, going from one point to another, forgetting where the beginning or even the end is, then this show is not for you. Don’t down rate it unfairly (1/10), because you can’t handle the continuous displacement.

 

EDIT: American Gods was renewed for a second seasion!!! WHOOP WHOOP