Tag Archives: Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review: Belle (2014)

I figured I should post a review, since I haven’t done that in a while, I don’t think. (Ahem, Disclaimer: Spoilers Ahead!) Anyway…, yesterday I watched the movie “Belle”:

belle poster

Because I’m a Disney dunderhead, I thought this was supposed to be a sort of retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. I was wrong. I don’t know why they even titled it Belle, because, yes the title girl’s full name is Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, but they call her Dido throughout the entire film. Were the makers of the movie worried that people would mispronounce the movie title if they had called it “Dido”? I don’t know. I just think they could have picked a better title. Seriously, the title “Belle” is really confusing. At least, I think so.

Regardless, I found the film captivating. It covered issues that were present at the time, such as slavery of blacks in Britain, the difficulties of Dido growing up as a mulato English heiress (due to her white father, a Royal Navy officer, leaving her his pension after his death), and the struggles of aristocracy for a black woman in English society.

For example, Dido was seen as enough of an equal to dine with her white family in private (she lives with her great-uncle (the Lord Chief Justice and the 1st Earl of Mansfield, William Murray and aunt Elizabeth, and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth (Bet) Murray. (Quick backstory as to how Dido came to live with them: Dido’s father had to go off on a naval excursion to the Indies and left her in the care of his uncle and aunt. Bet is the daughter of William and Elizabeth’s nephew, who later in life becomes the 2nd Earl of Mansfield (although that is not covered in the movie) and sent to live with her uncle and aunt. She is already living there with them when Dido is brought in.)), however, when there are guests attending meals at the house, she must eat separately from her family, but could not dine with the servants, due to social protocol, so says her uncle. There is a quote in the movie where Dido asks (more or less like so): “How can I be ranked low enough that I cannot eat meals with my family and our guests, but ranked too high to dine with the servants?”.

Anyway, it’s a great period-piece in my opinion and you should watch it. If anything at all but for to watch it as a purely historical standpoint. Also, need I mention that Tom Felton is in it? He plays James Ashford. That’s right, Draco Malfoy plays the son of an English Lord in this movie:

largeAnd, for any “Doctor Who” fans out there, Penelope Wilton plays Lady Mary Murray, the spinster sister of William Murray, I believe:

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Well, there you have it. My review is that you should watch this movie. It’s fantastic, dramatic, lovely, and all-around interesting. Watch it!

Look for my words again soon!

tumblr_mmnfpzjF8m1rc0hz5o1_500-1-Soleil

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An Unanswerable Question, Perhaps, and the Problem With The “Fairest of All”

Hello! Good evening! Good morning! Which is it, huh? It says AM because it’s past midnight, but it’s still dark out, therefore still night time. So, so, which is it? Which is it, I demand to know!

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Yeah, me either.

So, anyway, I finished “Fairest of All” a few hours ago. The book I mentioned in my last post. You know the one. Well, you know the one I mentioned if you actually read my last post. (You guys aren’t slacking and just skimming through, right? -poignant stare-

Ahem, ahem, digressing again. Back to the topic on hand (dun dun DA!)!

The book is about 200 pages, a bit more or so, and tells the tragic backstory of the Wicked Queen from the fairytale of Snow White. Ah, but it’s apparently Disney’s version of her backstory, as written by Serena Valentino and published by Disney Hyperion. It seems that Disney has a sort of “Backstory Bug” nowadays. Serena Valentino has even published the next book I’m reading: “The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince”, which is the prelude to Beauty and the Beast’s story and how Prince Adam became a Beast in the first place. Because the simply wonderful prologue at the beginning movie (narrated by the enchantingly lovely voice of David Ogden Stiers -sighs appreciatively (ah, but you might know him better as the voice of Cogsworth, or Ratcliffe in “Pocahontas“, as Jumba in “Lilo & Stitch“, or as Kamaji in “Spirited Away“!)) apparently wasn’t enough justice to his story. Ah, but I can’t really knock the book until after I’ve read it, right?

That being said, that means I can give way to my opinion about Fairest of All at least. The tale itself was fine, but I felt it dragged on a bit too much at times. The Queen spiraled and there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and descriptions that felt as if they were there to lengthen the story but not enhance it. Of course, they are trying to sell the reason of why the Queen became Wicked and wanted to kill her stepdaughter, Snow White for being Fairest in the Land over herself. It’s not a far-fetched concept, mind you, for why she grew to loathe her daughter…no, that’s not the right word because she kept saying she was doing it out of love. Really, basically, the Queen had convinced herself that what she was doing to Snow White was out of love and she was trying to protect the girl from the pain that love could bring and blah, blah, blah and other selfish nonsense.

So, as far as I’m concerned, this story can go in the same pile of rubbish that I placed the recent “Maleficent” movie into (you know the one, it just came out, with Angelina Jolie as the title character):

Maleficent_poster

And no, I didn’t like the movie. I thought it was silly. I didn’t like how Disney tried to make Maleficent more “humanized”, how they tried to make you feel sad for her and want to side with her. No! She is supposed to be the “Misstress of ALL Evil” here, folks! Personally, in my own opinion, Disney is starting a terrible trek down a road that is ruining their Villains Franchise. They’re called Villains for a reason.

Ahem, that is all about that topic. However, I am sort of hoping that Ms. Valentino’s next book which I will start tonight/this morning (still not clear on that one. XD), “The Beast Within” will be a better concept. Also, there are WAY more links in this post than in any of my others! Whew! XD

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil