To anyone who knows me in real life, they know that I absolutely love Disney movies. There's just something about happy endings. In a world where there is so much unhappiness, it's wonderful to escape to worlds where people fall in love and everyone lives happily ever after.
When I was growing up (and still today), I loved to read. Other than the occasional Disney movie I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of TV. I'm grateful for that now but I hated the rule at the time. Reading was my escape. It took me to the worlds in which magic was real and people were happy. I grew up pre-Harry Potter. My role models were Elizabeth Wakefield and Nancy Drew. I was obsessed with the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. Reading the same editions of Nancy Drew that my mother did connected me to the past in a way I couldn't put words to at the time.
When Disney released Beauty and the Beast, I wasn't quite in middle school yet. I fell in love with it as soon as the opening number began. Belle was singing about being the odd one out in a small town. She was singing about reading! My little heart latched on and to this day has yet to let go. Here was a princess who wasn't a princess. She was a real girl who just wanted to get out into the world and have an adventure. It's all I ever wanted as well.
When the remake was announced, I was in. Didn't matter who the cast was, I was going to see this new movie. During their marketing campaign I watched no interviews, no trailers, nothing. I didn't read any of the articles about it at all. I usually do. If I'm excited about a movie I'll do all those things and take the time to learn everything I can about the movie before I go see it. This time there was no point. My viewing was a foregone conclusion.
I cried a lot during the movie. It was so incredibly well done. I connected even more with Belle than I did the first hundred times I saw the original. Emma Watson was perfectly cast. Dan Stevens, who I have loved since Downton Abbey was also perfection in the role of the Beast. Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Lefou and Gaston couldn't have been better choices as well.
If ever there was a case to be made in favor of CGI for purists about CGI vs. practical effects, this would be the movie. Of course there's the amazing technology that can capture Steven's facial features and transform them into the Beast. Then there are the household items that are alive as well. It truly shines during the Be Our Guest number.
When it came to the podcast we decided it was a must see. It was Teresa's pick but everyone was excited to see the movie. We discussed all of what I mentioned above plus our favorite spoiler-y parts. I can't wait to watch the movie again.