‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Belko Experiment’

By on March 29, 2017

‘Beauty and the Beast’

In 1992, the animated “Beauty and the Beast” won two Oscars — Best Original Song and Best Original Score — for Alan Menken’s musical ability to tell the “tale as old as time.”

My early assumption is this year’s live animation redux will pull some Oscar nominations next year as “Beauty and the Beast” shattered box office records and has become a fan favorite of new and old viewers. (“Beauty and the Beast” marked a record-setting March opening and the seventh largest domestic opening of all time, hauling in more than $170 million, giving Disney six of the top seven opening weekends of all-time.)

Emma Watson, no stranger to box office success and a familiar face on action figures and collectibles (Hermione Grainger from the Harry Potter franchise), is Belle, the peculiar girl who is entrapped by the miserable and lonely Beast (Dan Stevens, “Downton Abbey”). Luke Evans (“Dracula Untold”) is the mild and benign villain, Gaston, whose sidekick LeFou is played by the slightly humorous Josh Gad (Olaf in “Frozen”).

I’ve heard some detractors claim the movie is excessively bright and overly whimsical ­too “Disneyfied.” Really!? What did these people think was going to happen when Disney remade one of its classics. There are truly beautiful homages to filmmaking of yesteryear in this movie. It is a vibrant film, which not only retells the story, but also opens it up to the 21st Century by including interracial love and openly gay characters. It’s a breath of fresh air for those hoping to bring their children up in a world where everyone is accepted.

Ross S. of Andover, Maine writes, “[My wife and I] both liked the movie, but we may be old fashioned. We both thought the movie was way too dark for little kids.”

I can see how this reaction is justified. The new version is way more action-packed than its predecessor. This also leads me back to: why does everything have to be made for a 3D audience anymore? There are parts in this film that come across as hokey because they are obviously effects made to bring people out of their seats through 3D animation.

I think “Beauty and the Beast” is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, especially one meant for the entire family. I would have liked to see a surprise cameo from Angela Lansbury (the original Mrs. Potts), but that was a long wish upon a faraway star. Take the entire family out to see this modern gem.

* For those Dan Stevens fans, stay tuned to see him as Charles Dickens in “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” which is in post-production with a release date in 2018 (if not for the holiday season this year).

Dan Stevens (left) and Emma Watson star in the live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Reviewer Michael Upton calls the film, “a breath of fresh air for those hoping to bring their children up in a world where everyone is accepted.” (Image from movies.disney.com)

Dan Stevens (left) and Emma Watson star in the live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Reviewer Michael Upton calls the film, “a breath of fresh air for those hoping to bring their children up in a world where everyone is accepted.” (Image from movies.disney.com)

Also in theaters: ‘The Belko Experiment’

I really wanted to make this an all-kid friendly Reel Review, but time was against me. (Sorry, Power Ranger fans.) Instead I settled for the latest bloodlust from the Blumhouse gang (“The Purge, “Paranormal Activity”).

If you like exploding heads and creative dismemberment this 88-minute shock schlock starring lesser known actors John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, and Adria Arjona is for you. Well, that may be a little rough. “The Belko Experiment” is what it represents itself to be ­ mind numbing violence wrapped in a cocoon of human exploit.

This flick sets itself up as being the first in a series, but after opening up with just over $4 million in box office sales, it may have its legs chopped off — just like the guy on the elevator in this movie.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *