Monday, January 30, 2012

Beauty and the Beast 3D - Fun, But "A Little Scary"

Rated G
84 minutes
Starring Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach

My daughter is a princess and mermaid freak. Maybe she got it from me, maybe from Hollywood; regardless, her bathtub is full of mermaids and most of the books she finds at the library involve royalty. That being said, I thought she would jump at the chance to see Beauty and the Beast 3D. “Nah,” she said. I began to present my case over the next few days reminding her that she loves the music (we listen to Disney movie music endlessly on CD in the car) and that we haven’t seen all of the movie previously. We had rented it, but never finished it and her response to this was “but, I know what happens in the end.” Then, I begged. “Mommy really, really wants to see it.” Finally, I announced that we were going to see it the following morning, and that was that. What good is Mommy Power if you can’t wield it sometimes?

Beauty and the Beast was the first ever animated movie nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. That same year, 1991, it won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. Bravo! I say. Ultimately, it’s a love story and it results in a very satisfactory HEA (happy ever after).

Without discussing and analyzing the whole structure of the ratings system, it seems that this movie should not be a G rating. My five-year-old was very frightened when the wolves attacked Belle’s father who gets lost in the woods. He goes to the Beast’s castle for help and is imprisoned! The Beast was first introduced as menacing and cruel, and he roars a lot very loudly. My daughter said she wanted to hide her eyes and her ears. When I asked for her opinion after we left the theater she said, “It was a little scary.” She was also sad at the end when the Beast is hurt and it looks like he’s not going to make it. These two issues make me believe that an older audience was more appropriate for this film.

However! She loved the music, Chip, the little teacup, and the battle between the magical household objects and the villagers. She beamed when Belle pulled the Beast into the ballroom for the Big Dance to the film’s most famous Academy Award-winning song.

I can’t say that the 3D aspect enhanced the film very much. My girl had her glasses off for most of the movie. The 3D effect looked one-dimensional like some very colorful puppet show.

Side note here on the 3D craze: I wasn’t totally in that camp. Yes, I saw Avatar and loved it, but it seems that Hollywood was just trying to get back some of those box office receipts that they may have lost to DVDs, cable, streaming and the like. But, after watching the previews (in 3D) and seeing Star Wars: Phantom Menace and Finding Nemo coming out this year, I am willing to plunk down the extra dollars to have that experience. I’m a movie lover, after all.

Reviewed by Beth Balberchak

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