Welcome back! Everybody is talking about the live action version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. So, I'm taking the opportunity to write a review about it. This film might become one of the most popular releases in 2017. Without any further ado, let's take a look at the film's strengths and weaknesses.
Personally, I loved this movie. That means I'm going to have a lot of great things to say about it. First, I'm going to praise the casting choices. I thought the characters were amazing and the actors did a really good job of bringing them to life. The characters are still very similar to their counterparts in the animated film. However, the actors found a way to make each character a little more unique. Many of the supporting characters have more significant roles in this movie. I thought Emma Watson was an excellent choice for Belle. She's a good fit for Belle's wholesome, intellectual, and compassionate personality. Dan Stevens was a great Beast and a very handsome prince. Two birds with one stone. The visual department gave the beast a lot of human features and I thought it worked very well for a live action film. Luke Evans plays Gaston, the main antagonist. He is debonair and fits Gaston's brash arrogance perfectly. I'm a huge fan of the enchanted objects. The story reminds the viewer about their humanity and they bring a lot of quirky humor to the film. It's hard to believe anyone can replace Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, and other members of the ensemble, but the new enchanted objects are the right fit for modern audiences.
I noticed several improvements in the plot. This is an expanded version of the animated film. Several plot holes from the animated movie were filled in by the live action rendition. Certain parts of the story works better with the current characters and the time period. The story takes place in 18th century France and several elements about the time period and culture were adapted into the film. I really appreciated that part. In a way, the plot is a little bit more realistic. Even though the story has a huge fantasy component, it's more believable than most fairytales. The characters struggle with a lot of problems that were significant in 18th century France. Also, Belle and the Beast develop their relationship in a way that seems very slow and natural. It's not love at first sight nor does one heroic act make her fall for him. The relationship takes time and they find some common interests along the way. Neither one of them are perfect. Belle and the Beast have some flaws and it makes them seem more relatable. You get to see a valuable backstory that was left out of the animated version. It puts some things into context.
Do you have favorite songs from the animated film? Fear not. All of the music is part of the 2017 movie. However, a few new songs were added to the film and they were quite lovely. Some of the lyrics were changed a little bit. It's hard to explain without spoiling anything, but the few changes in lyrics were actually a good idea.
The visual effects were superb. I thought the backgrounds and other digital effects could easily rival high budget action films. The costumes and production design were fantastic too. I thought the costumes and hair really captured the flamboyant nature of 18th century France. Do I think Beauty and the Beast is going to have some attention at the Oscars? I doubt it, but the quality will probably be no worse than anything else this year.
Let me put it to you this way. The 2017 movie is both very similar to the animated version and also different. It will make fans of the animated film very happy because they'll see the quintessential elements from the 1991 version. Younger generations will appreciate the creative elements that were brought to this movie. The 2017 movie is perfectly age appropriate for any generation. I stood in the ticket line with a variety of people. Couples, families, teenagers, groups of women, and even groups of men. It seemed like everyone was fascinated with the new version of Beauty and the Beast. That really says something about a movie.
Naturally, there are no steampunk elements in Beauty and the Beast. However, I think steampunk fans will enjoy this film a lot. It has a ton of fantasy elements without being too much like a girly fairytale. There's a huge emphasis on costumes and visual effects. The plot is very substantial, but there are still plenty of whimsical elements. It's easy to identify with some of the characters and the film brought out some interesting components from 18th century France. Believe it or not, this film has enough parts to satisfy fans of the science fiction genre.
I'm not going to be very critical about this movie. It was a very strong film with a distinct lack of weaknesses. There was one thing on my mind though. I wish some of the actors were stronger singers. Some of the cast members had musical backgrounds. Other did not and it was easy for me to tell the difference. But I'm not saying the singing was bad. I thought Disney did a good job of working with the actors.
That concludes my review. I hope you guys received some useful information about the film. How many of you guys saw Beauty and the Beast? Let us know what you thought about the movie by leaving a comment. Good luck with the Easter weekend and best wishes.
Thanks for visiting my blog again! I wanted to try something different today. Most of my interviews are with people in the science fiction community, but I also enjoy a good mystery. Our guest is Dianne Emley and she’s a Los Angeles Times bestselling author who writes a variety of mystery novels. She’s the author of the Detective Nan Vining thrillers, the Iris Thorne mysteries, and some stand alone works. Welcome aboard, Dianne.
Q: Why did you become a mystery author?
A: First off, thanks so much, Stephanie, for having me on your blog. It was delightful to have met you in person. My roots in writing mystery stem from my early love of the genre. Mystery and suspense have always been my favorites in books, movies, and TV shows. It was natural for me to seek to write something that I’d like to read myself.
Q: Did your education in philosophy, French, and business help your writing style or help you build ideas?
A: All my education and business experience and the personal relationships that resulted have influenced my writing because they expanded my life. They all gave me exposure to people and worlds beyond my family and the neighborhood where I grew up, which had the most significant impact on my writing by far. The more writing I did, whether in school or for work, the better I became at it. It all contributes.
Q: Many writers want to publish their work, but publishers reject them. How did you get picked up by Ballantine Books?
A: My initial path to publication wasn’t difficult, nor was it typical. Long before I started the Detective Nan Vining series, I wrote a series about an amateur sleuth named Iris Thorne. She’s a young, sassy, single business woman in Los Angeles. Those books were set in the late 1980s (the era in which I started writing them). The first in that series, Cold Call, was the first novel I’d written. Amazingly, I sold it at an auction to Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster. Several books and years later, I wrote the first Nan Vining novel, The First Cut. My editors at Pocket Books had since moved to Ballantine and they picked up the series. In spite of my easy entry into publishing, my path hasn’t always been strewn with roses. Trust me, there have many bumps in the road!
Q: Every successful author needs to bring something unique to the market. What makes your work different than other mysteries?
A: We can discuss plots, characters, and settings—I believe I have a distinctive spin on those—but I think it comes down to the writer’s voice. To me, voice is the personality a writer brings to her work, that special sauce that’s uniquely hers.
Q: Aside from your own books, what are your favorite mystery series? I’m a huge fan of Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.
A: My absolute favorite series is Tom Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I love all her books. She wrote many standalones apart from the Ripleys. She is the master of psychological suspense.
Q: What is the premise behind the Nan Vining thrillers?
A: A police detective, who’s also a single mom, becomes obsessed to find the madman who stabbed her and left her for dead. She comes to believe that man is a serial killer of female law enforcement officers and in her pursuit of him is drawn into his dark world.
Q: Would you mind explaining some details about your protagonist named Iris Thorne?
A: As I mentioned in #3, she’s a young, single business woman in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. She’s an investment counselor, working in what was then a male-dominated profession and endures a lot of sexual harassment. She’s no shrinking violet, stands up to the bullies, and claws her way up the corporate ladder all while having a complicated personal life. Oh, and she has a tendency to stumble over dead bodies and involve herself in death investigations.
Q: Mysteries usually have a realistic setting. How do you make the characters relatable to readers?
A: I give them characteristics that people can relate to. I make them human, even the bad guys.
Q: What kind of research is necessary for your books?
A: For the Nan Vining series, I did a lot of research into law enforcement and the lives of street cops and detectives. I volunteered with the Pasadena Police Department for several years and was invited to sit on a couple of citizen oversight boards, which provided a great window into the behind-the-scenes workings of a police department. I did many ride-alongs with cops. I also visit any locations I’m writing about, walking around and soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Seek mentors and good advice. Keep writing but remember that it’s not all about the writing, it’s about the rewriting too. And never give up.
Q: I want to throw in a whimsical question. My book series takes place in a steampunk and post-apocalyptic environment. Do you have any characters who would survive very long in that type of setting?
A: Some of my characters are tough and cagey, especially in my Nan Vining series and especially Nan herself. She’s a survivor. She’d be able to navigate any situation.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: When I’m not writing, I like to cook and work out. I love yoga. I’m a fan of movies and many of the great TV series that are on now. Speaking of post-apocalyptic environments, I’m a huge fan of the Walking Dead. Thanks again, Stephanie, for having me on your blog. Best of luck with your writing.
That concludes another interview. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Dianne. It sounds like you’re a very creative writer who’s maintaining a successful career. I’m currently reading The Deepest Cut. Best wishes and I’m looking forward to future works.
I'm leaving a link to Dianne's official website. You can find a variety of resources on her website, including an author bio, a full bibliography, blog posts, upcoming appearances, and more. Her books are available at major book retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I would like to interview more mystery authors during the year. Sometimes it's nice to have a change of pace. Leave a comment if you have anything to say about this post. Be safe and have a good week.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.