Tag Archives: Belle

New Randy Rainbow Video-“BARR! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

Politics has a way of dividing us. Music and humor has a way or bringing us together.

Just a few hours ago, Randy Rainbow released his latest video, entitled “BARR! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody“.

Based on the opening song from Beauty and the Beast, “Belle“, the video highlights that the current Attorney General, William Barr, is not doing his job. His job is to serve and protect the American people, not serve and protect the President. Like many of those in the administration, Mr. Barr’s priorities are completely lopsided. They have forgotten who hired and who continues to pay them.

If I have to be honest, I’ve been a bit depressed due to my current job situation. This video made me laugh and if only for a few minutes, put a smile on my face.

Thanks, Randy Rainbow.

 

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Thoughts On the 25th Anniversary of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.

You never forget that first Broadway show that leaves a mark on you.

For me, that show is the stage adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.

Stepping (both literally and physically) into titular roles of Beauty and the Beast were Susan Egan and Terrence Mann.  Last week, the show celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The production value was faultless. It was amazing how one stage could be transformed from an ordinary village to a mysterious castle in a matter of moments. The costumes were stunning and the cast were absolutely marvelous. Both Egan and Mann brought their characters to life in a way that felt like an ordinary couple falling in love, not a cursed prince and a bookish woman who are brought together by fate in a world that can only be defined as surreal.

I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I’ve seen quite a few Broadway shows over the years, but a piece of my heart will always belong to the tale as old as time.

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Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters Book Review

For many a young and old literary nerd, Little Women is treasured classic.

2018 is the 150th anniversary of the release of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel of four young women coming of age in the mid 19th century.

The new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, by Anne Boyd Rioux, tells the story of how Little Women impacted both American and worldwide culture over the past 150 years.

Little Women was a smash when it hit bookshelves on September 30th, 1868. Since then, the book has become ingrained into the public consciousness. In her book, Ms. Rioux explains how each era viewed Little Women. She also writes about how modern feminism and modern female writers have used pieces of Little Women when creating their own works. Specifically, Ms. Rioux explains how Little Woman lives today in new characters and narratives. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls all have something in them from Little Women.

I will warn that this book is not for the virgin Little Women fan. It requires the knowledge that only comes via multiple reading and multiple viewings of the various adaptions. I really enjoyed this book. It could have turned out to be just another dry academic book detailing the history of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. Instead it is  lively, entertaining and reminds its readers why Little Women continues to be relevant 150 years after it was initially released in bookstores.

I recommend it.

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Beauty And The Beast DVD Review (2014)

Beauty And The Beast is one of those fairy tales.  Every writer who has picked up their pen or turns on their computer has a different perspective on how to tell the story.

In 2014, another reboot hit theaters. Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the title roles. Unlike other adaptations, the narrative of the film is closer to the narrative of the original fairy tale. Belle is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who has taken on her father’s debt to the Beast. The Beast is a prince who was cursed and can only return to his human form once he has the love of a woman.

I wanted to like this film, I really did. While most of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations of recent memory have moved away from the original narrative, this film clings pretty closely to the source material. The problem is that I was underwhelmed and the lead actors lacked the chemistry to make me believe that they would hopefully have their happily ever after.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Once Upon A Time Character Review: Mr. Gold/ Rumpelstiltskin

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the tradition telling of Rumpelstiltskin, he is a magical imp who spins straw into gold for a young woman in return for something she will give him. One of the catchphrases of Once Upon A Time is “magic comes with a price”. The character of Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is initially introduced to the audience as the show’s male villain. He loved nothing more than trading favors with mortals in return for something precious to them.

Then the characters of Belle (Emilie de Raven), his second wife and Neal/Baelfire (Michael-Raymond James), his first-born son were introduced. Both Belle and Neal/Baelfire forced Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold to face his own demons, his choices and his past.

To sum it up: A few years ago, when asked to describe where his character was at, in terms of the character arc, Robert Carlyle described Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold as having an addiction to magic. Like any addiction, it often superseded his relationships with his loved ones. Addiction can often break relationships, but if the person addicted is willing to do the work, the addiction can be conquered.

When writing about characters wrestling with addiction issues, it is our job to explore how addiction can potentially break families and destroy lives. If the addiction is written either lightly or over-dramatically, the audience will not believe that the character has their addiction. Written about an addicted characters is not easy, but if it is done right, the audience will follow along on the character’s journey.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Belle

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For many female movie fans (especially those of a certain age), Belle from Beauty And The Beast is and will always be a revelation. Unlike her predecessors, her end goal was not finding a man and living happily ever after. She was more concerned with her books and taking care of her widowed father.

Halfway through the first season of Once Upon A Time, Belle (Emilie de Raven) was introduced to the world of OUAT via the episode Skin Deep.  This Belle is similar to the animated Belle in that she is smart, kind, loves books and agreed to go with the Beast aka, Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) in return for sparing her father’s life.  But while the animated Belle has almost a simple, almost predictable character arc, the OUAT Belle has a much more complex character arc.

For most of the series, Belle and Rumple have an up and down relationship. Their mutual love is obvious, but so is her will to completely change him that she ignores the fact that he and will forever be The Dark One.  This roller coaster, is of course, not helped by Rumple’s addiction to magic, but that will be discussed in detail next week.

Their relationship is only truly healed when Belle realizes that as much as she loves him, Rumple will never change completely. After their son, Gideon is kidnapped and raised by the Black Fairy (who also happens to be Rumple’s mother), Belle realizes that the Beast and the man are one and the same. She cannot love one or the other. She has to love both.

To sum it up: Romantic love is not as simple as the fairy tales make them out to be. Even the best of couples have their moments and their disagreements. The key to writing a romance is balancing the reality of being in a relationship with someone while including the expected plot points of the narrative. The OUAT version of Belle is both the traditional romantic heroine, but her relationship with Rumple, as it often is in real life is complicated and sometimes difficult. This version of Belle stands out because the writers successfully walked the very thin line of writing a romance, but with the real life pitfalls of romance. It’s not easy, but when it is done well, the audience or the reader truly appreciates the romance and the romantic heroine.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Books, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice Book Review

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the BDP (British Period Drama) genre, like most genres is mostly bereft of characters of color.

In 2013, the movie Belle finally broke the color barrier for the BPD genre.

Paula Byrne’s 2014 book, Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice, is not just about Belle, but the events that led her uncle, Lord Mansfield’s ruling on the Zong massacre.

I adore the movie Belle. It is much more than the standard BPD. It speaks to a modern audience about race issues, women’s issue and other human rights issues that are just as relevant today as they were in the 19th century. That is reason I read the book. The book and the movie, however are vastly different. The book reads like a college textbook and not like the entertaining movie that subtly speaks to the audience about issues that 300 years later are still being discussed.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Beauty and The Beast Movie Review

For a generation, the 1991 animated adaptation of Beauty and the Beast has defined how modern audiences view fairy tales.

This past weekend, the live action Beauty And The Beast hit theaters. Based off of the original story written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve Belle (Emma Watson) is a young lady living in a small rural town in 18th century France. The odd girl out in her town, she dreams of seeing the world and escaping the attention of Gaston (Luke Evans). Gaston cannot understand why Belle won’t marry him and doggedly pursues her.

When Maurice (Kevin Kline), Belle’s father does not return home from a short trip, she goes searching for him and finds him locked away in dark and scary looking castle. The master of the castle, simply known as Beast (Dan Stevens) is a cursed prince in beastly form. The curse is simple: if he cannot forgo his selfish ways, love another and be loved by them in return, he will forever be a beast. Belle makes a deal with the Beast: she will take her father’s place. The Beast’s servants (who have been cursed into household objects) are overjoyed that Belle has walked into their lives and there is a chance that they all will return to their former human selves. But Belle and the Beast don’t exactly get off on the right foot and it seems like the curse is here to stay.

How do I love this movie? Let me the count the ways: it is brilliant, funny, romantic, human and it reminds me why we all fell in love with the original film 26 years ago. Building upon the affection that we as the audience have for the 1991 film, this film is the definitive Beauty And The Beast for this generation. If I had to choose one quality that made this the best film of 2017 (so far), I would say that the writers smartly filled in the minor gaps in character and narrative that left a few questions open from the 1991 film.

I absolutely recommend it.

Before I end this review, I have to bring up the gay rumors. The moments that are getting some up in arms are so quick that it’s really nothing with nothing. I could go on, but I will let Randy Rainbow speak further about this topic.

Beauty And The Beast is presently in theaters.

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Beauty And The Beast Trailer

The trailer for Beauty And The Beast is out and well, the internet is buzzing.

I’ve read and heard that the narrative and the characters have been expanded from the animated film. The Beast’s back story will be given more screen time and Belle, on top of the bookworm we all know and love, is also an inventor.

I can only hope that this film is not only as good as it promises to be, but also lives up to reputation of its predecessor.

Only time will tell, but hopefully the reviews and box office receipts in March will be glowing.

Happy Tuesday.

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Beauty And The Beast 25th Anniversary

This year marks of the 25th anniversary of Beauty And The Beast.

Loosely based on the fairy tale of the same name written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740, Belle is the odd woman out in the small town in rural France that she calls home. She prefers books and spending time with her father instead of loosing her mind over Gaston, the town hunk.

Miles away a prince has spent the last ten years the form of a beast. Cursed by an enchantress for his selfish ways, he has ten years to mend his ways and find a woman who will love him enough to see past the exterior image. The enchantress left him a reminder of the time he has left, a magical rose that wilts. If the last petal falls and the prince has not changed his ways, he will forever remain a beast.

The catalyst to the meet cute of these characters is Belle’s father, Maurice, who is not the brightest bulb in the box. He gets lost in a storm on the way to a fair and finds shelter in the beast’s castle. The rest is movie history.

Among Disney heroines, Belle was and still is unique. I adore Ariel because she is my animated ginger sister from another mister, but Belle I get. She is smart, capable girl who is not looking for prince charming. She may get her prince charming in the end, but there is no version of “someday my prince will come” in Beauty And The Beast. She is also, compared previous Disney heroines, mature and level-headed.

Belle is to Anne Elliot as Ariel is to Marianne Dashwood.

Her other half, Beast, is also a mess of complications. He is deep down, a decent guy, but has allowed his anger and grief to overtake him and let him emotions match his external image. Sometimes, when we let grief, anger and self hatred overtake us, it’s hard to let the better qualities that we know are inside of us shine through.

In Belle, I see a Disney proto-feminist. While she is not reading The Feminine Mystique or Fear Of Flying, she has inspired multiple generations of girls to be strong, courageous and to simply be themselves.

I had the pleasure, many years ago of seeing the Broadway adaptation of Beauty and The Beast. I also adore the relationship on Once Upon A Time known as Rumbelle. I am eagerly looking forward to the new live action adaptation of Beauty And The Beast that will be arriving in movie theaters next March.

Not that we need reminding why we love this movie, but I give you the original trailer and a reunion of most of the cast the filmmakers.

Writing this, I feel old. Happy Sunday and have a good week.

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