Beauty and the Feast for Your Eyes

Everyone is familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, so it’s always a special treat when a new release comes out on video, especially with the FX cropping up weekly. I planned on going with a Meetup Group, sort of a girls’ night out, without kids. I cried a few times and was relieved my kids didn’t see me blubber like a baby. Of course, if I’d gone to the correct theater, the group would have seen me sobbing. That’s right, I was in my recliner watching the movie all alone. I was also relieved I was alone when 1/4 of the way through, I realized I had accidentally put my workout bra on. It was pinching me ruthlessly throughout the movie, until I did the old “pull your arms into your sleeves and take the bra off” trick, stuffing it into my purse. Again, glad to have no witnesses.

As far as Emma Watson goes, she’ll always have that innocent and childlike glow about her, but Luke Evans as “Gaston”? Now there’s a prize to sing about! Sure, he’s sort of a jerk, unlike the other roles he’s played, and it was a nice switcheroo for a change, but he’s always hot. His sidekick LaFou, played by Josh Gad (the fun voice playing “Olaf” in Frozen) did a fabulous job as he always does. And the two of them appear to get along marvelously, as they do on this prank! But even being naughty, Luke Evans couldn’t be on Santa’s Naughty List because, according to Gaston, he’s worth every look. And, as a single, middle-aged divorcee, I’d have to agree. Still, all three men got along great.

The animation of the film was beautifully done with only a few, minor errors, but a film is film and the important aspects are the storyline and actors, like one of my favorites, Kevin Kline. There were some big names involved in this movie, most of whom couldn’t be placed by their voice alone, as Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson. Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci are a couple of my all-time favorites.

No gore or specifically scary images, unless you count the Beast, but that’s not unexpected. And quite frankly, with those blue eyes, I sort of liked the big hairy Beast a fraction more than the timid-looking Dan Stevens. I’m unsure why, but he didn’t come across as the hero type if you get what I mean. He danced okay, but imagining him fighting off wolves? Not so much. Believe this role should have been someone brawnier.

Would my kids have enjoyed it? I doubt it. They’d rather see Boss Baby with Alec Baldwin. This movie was sort of a split. The storyline clung to the original tale for the most part, but the emotional state was for the more mature crowd.

I know everyone was ranting and raving over this movie’s original showing, but I’m glad I didn’t rush for tickets. Perhaps it would have been better in 3D. It’s evident a lot of time, energy, money, and overall work went into the making. I give it three stars.  *  *  *



Un-Smurfing Believable

The Smurfs have been around for years, but have taken the leap from Saturday morning cartoons from 40 years ago to the theaters where they can rock the world of little kids. Personally, I was a bit disappointed to find many characteristics reflecting Trolls from a few months ago. But after arguing incessantly with my 10-year-old daughter about how little people are protecting their village while singing and dancing, and also the main protagonist is a misunderstood female, I gave in. No particular reason except that this film wasn’t made with me in mind as much as the little ones.

Some of the main points of the film, however, is that while many of us have our specialties and talents we’re known for, some people are considered the “Jack (or Jill) of all trades.” In some instances, being refined in numerous areas is a huge benefit for problem-solving. Although Smurfette didn’t originate as a little blue creature when Gargamel first created her, inside, that’s who she truly is and rebrands that at the beginning of the movie in case you aren’t aware.

Little kids should be taught the lesson that even though people are different from them, everyone has something useful to add to the lives of others. In this instance, the Smurfs have good reason to be grateful that Smurfette isn’t truly a blueberry skinned comrade.

And let’s not forget that while Trolls had Justine Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, The Smurfs have a few talented tricks up their tiny sleeves too. Meghan Trainor does her part to exemplify the beauty of being a strong and independent woman.

And, of course, they have other big names on their payroll, as they have every time. The question isn’t whether or not these names have a price tag attached to them as when will this movie on the sale rack? I really found that given the choice between Smurfs and Trolls, the former would win hands down. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the talents of such as Julia Robers as the reincarnated “Pretty Woman,” former actor of Dwight Schrute from “The Office” as Gargamel, and Demi Lovato as Smurfette.

By and by, if you have nothing better to do with your time, it’s rainy outside and you want to spend time doing something your children will enjoy, this film has lots of colors.

On the scale of 1 – 5, Smurfs: The Lost Village gets a well-deserved THREE! I gave it an extra star because there were no lewd humorous remarks or two-level innuendos.