500 Words or Less Reviews: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

For an explanation as to why we went to see Beauty and the Beast in spite of controversy surrounding it, please go here.

After a two year wait to see this “tale as old as time,” we were not disappointed in the least. I (Kayla) have played Belle in the musical before and have seen the 1991 animated feature more times than I have fingers and toes for. And I’ll admit: there are minor differences in plot, conversation and music in this version that were a tad unnerving for about the first 30 minutes. Yet once the movie settles in, the novelty of live action and the heart of the classic story make this an exceptional viewing experience.

There was some public doubt about whether Emma Watson could pull off this role. Whether or not you wanted her to get this part, most would agree she is a fantastic actress and her European roots give her an advantage as Belle. At the very least we both agree she has separated herself from the 10-year role she had as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies.

The plot altering showdown with wolves and the Beast is cinematography at its finest and incredible to behold in live action. As a first time viewer, I (Gowdy) was mesmerized by this scene and how the story unfolds from there. The Beast becomes captivatingly sympathetic that he is extremely attractive from that moment on. The magic of Disney storytelling is absolutely at its finest during this stretch of the two main characters interacting, culminating with the renowned images of them dancing together. Fans of The Beauty and the Beast story in any version will appreciate how easy it is to get lost in fantasy of those few moments. The perfect lyrics, the immaculate music, the heart-stopping improbable romance…this is why Disney has made a gazillion dollars over the last few decades.  They capture the absolute best of human imagination and make it feel so real.

Not to be outdone at all is the castle staff-turned-castle objects, who are utterly endearing and show how far our uninhibited technology has become at making anything possible on the big screen. Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, et. al, add much depth and humor. Luke Evans as Gaston is a fine antagonist and Josh Gad as LeFou brings plenty of laughs and personality. We have very few criticisms with the film in general, especially with acting and the portrayal of the characters.

And, on a final note, we are sure people are curious about the aforementioned controversy. It is our opinion that it was much ado about nothing. Nothing about LeFou is stated plainly in regards to sexuality. You can make assumptions (we try not to in real life) and the “moment” that caused the headlines can be interpreted how you wish, but we are both doubtful that many people can find any of it offensive. If you have questions you may ask them below.

We plan to see it again, and I (Kayla) have never seen a movie twice in the theater.  It’s that good.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ out of Five

Gowdy Cannon

I am currently the pastor of Bear Point FWB Church in Sesser, IL. I previously served for 17 years as the associate bilingual pastor at Northwest Community Church in Chicago. My wife, Kayla, and I have been married nearly seven years and have a 3-year-old son, Liam Erasmus. I have been a student at Welch College in Nashville and at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago. I love The USC (the real one in SC, not the other one in CA), Seinfeld, John 3:30, Chic-Fil-A, Dumb and Dumber, the book of Job, preaching and teaching, and arguing about sports.

5 thoughts on “500 Words or Less Reviews: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

  • March 17, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I liked it a lot. My only real gripe is with the music. It was mostly great, but they should have laid off the auto tune. It was very distracting, particularly every time Belle opened her mouth to sing. If she couldn’t sing, they should have cast somebody else. I don’t know if it bothers everyone else, but auto tuned voices just bug the crap out of me.

    • March 17, 2017 at 11:49 am

      My wife felt similar. This is not an area where I am a good critic. But she did say that bothered her some, comparing it to Cinderella which was different and better.

      • March 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        BTW…My wife says this was supposed to be Les Mis not Cinderella.

  • March 17, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I agree with Phil about the singing, but I don’t think it was because she couldn’t do it. The score for this movie is huge and intricate. They couldn’t take any chances, in my opinion.


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