Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies reviews the new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” and shares his home pick, “Moana”.
Paul’s thoughts are below. And click here to read his review with Marlon West, head of effects animation on “Moana”.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (theatrical release)
In a nearby castle, a young dashing prince is transformed into a monstrous beast after dismissing a beggar woman that comes to his door. In order to reverse the curse, he must fall in love before the last pedal drops from the rose she has given him. In a nearby village, Belle spends her days lost in a book or helping her father, Maurice, with his latest inventions that may or may not work. Maurice heads out one day traveling to show off his latest creation. He reaches the edge of town making his way to the castle to avoid the snow and wolves that chase him and his horse. A little snooping goes too far when the Beast takes him prisoner. The trusty horse returns to Belle and brings her to the castle. She allows the beast to take her prisoner instead in exchange for her father’s freedom. The castle’s magic does not go unnoticed by Maurice and Belle when Lumiere the candlestick and Cogsworth the talking clock make their presence known. Lumiere is the forever romantic and believes Belle may be the one to break the course. He takes it upon himself to gather the other household objects to aid in getting the Beast to fall in love with Belle.
-Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Luke Evans, Josh Gad
-The supporting cast, especially McKellen, McGregor, and Evans, stand out, as they know how to play into the over-the-top nature of Disney characters. The film’s leads of Emma Watson and Dan Stevens feel a bit miscast. Watson has the innocence but has a new, somewhat off-putting, take on the character. Stevens can’t overcome the fact that he’s essential a voice-over character behind clunky CGI.
-Uses plenty of the music from the animated movie as well as brand new music written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice. The big group numbers are rollicking good fun, and it makes you want to sing along.
-Considerably longer than the animated movie while staying truthful to the original script and adding backstory for Belle and the Beast.
-The overreliance on special effects and CGI to make these castle’s objects come to life is the film’s ultimate downfall. It feels too animated and doesn’t make the movie seem as magical as it could and should be.
-May be too scary for wee little moviegoers.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? It’s still entertaining for fans of the original even if it’s not as romantic and magical.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
MOANA (home release)
Like many Disney heroines that have come before, Moana is a scrappy young girl with an independent spirit. She’s the daughter of the chief on Motunui Island who is poised to be the ruler of the land someday. There is a darkness sweeping over the island and resources are becoming scarce threating the lives of its residents. They live in dilemma, as they believe it is too dangerous to go beyond the reef. Moana may be young, but she is adventurous, as she wants to voyage out like her ancestors to see what may be beyond the reef in order to save her people. She is told by her wise Gramma Tala to find the demigod and shape-shifter Maui and return a gem known as the heart of Te Fiti. Te Fiti was the original island and has now been long extinct.
-Featuring the voices of: Dwayne Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk
-Evident Wayne Johnson is having a ton of fun as the demigod Maui. The character was very much designed after him while adhering to the cultural vision of who he was.
-Second animated Disney movie of 2016 following Zootopia.
-Has the traditional look and feel of the ’90s Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Hercules. The film’s two directors have been with the company for many years and are the archetypes of the traditional Disney films we grew up on. They brought their same style and vision to Moana
-Has a catchy Broadway inspired score with some of the music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote Hamilton.
-It should come as no surprise that the animation is breathtaking with specific attention toward keeping it true to the culture. All of the water and lava effects are quite realistic looking making them appear sharper than some live action movies.
-It asks kids to think about their calling in life. It may even bring about conversations about their heritage and what aspects of their grandparents or great-grandparents culture could they adapt into their lives.