I HAVE purposely kept away from the reviews. Kye has read them, and has told me not to bother.
Emma Watson, apparently, is "soulless." She "lacks range" in her singing. The movie is "flat." Critics were bothered by what is known as "the uncanny valley," where computer-generated things and people appear to be too lifelike and therefore bother the viewer.
Apparently there is also no small amount of thinly disguised disdain for Watson offered as objective critique of her acting skills and applied as a whole against the film. Watson is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. She's intelligent, graceful, multitalented, and an outspoken activist for humanitarian and feminist causes (which are, truly, one and the same thing). That drives a lot of fools insane.
Additionally, there are reams of blatant hatred for her and for the remake itself. An NPR commentator evidently railed against her and the film because he wants adults to grow up and let go of fairy tales--like Beauty and the Beast and Harry Potter. He can't stand that Disney insists on making live-action remakes of their animated classics. Somehow, apparently, doing so is evidence of perverse immaturity that threatens to destroy civilization. Something like that.
I can't say for sure. Again, I have avoided the reviews. I've gotten wind of them second-hand.
What I didn't avoid was the film itself, which we saw yesterday.
It is rare, especially in these parts, for a film to receive an ovation when the credits begin rolling. Both Kye and I know this. We're major film aficionados. Most of the time the audience, like the zombies they typically are, get up and walk out, silent.
This film received a loud and enthusiastic ovation at its end. Yes, there were plenty of kids there, but there was a very healthy percentage of adults too, probably forty percent or more. Walking up the aisle, we heard something we very rarely hear: effusive praise.
"That was absolutely wonderful!"
"I can't believe how good that was!"
"We're coming back next week!"
And that was before we got outside.
Outside I listened in on three groups of adults--not kids--as they heaped more praise on it. They loved the music, Emma Watson's singing (which was perfect, not "soulless"), her stellar acting, the color and pageantry, the dancing and happiness. They praised the incredible sets and the supporting actors, which was a veritable Who's Who of the profession: Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, and many others.
Kye and I are going back to see it again next Friday, and probably the Friday after that. I bet we'll see plenty of the same faces we saw last night.
Cynicism is a spiritual disease, one that has taken an unshakeable hold on a disturbingly large percentage of the human population, Americans in particular. It runs part and parcel with nihilism. The cynical believe in nothing, because that way they can avoid, to their way of thinking, getting hurt. Caring, being happy, dancing, laughing ... well, those things are for children, right?
Cynics believe they have an objective grip on truth, on reality. "Reality is harsh!" you'll often hear them warn in a loud voice (or in all caps). "It's a bitch!" And then they'll offer some unasked-for advice: "The sooner you learn that, the better!" And to finish: "Life isn't a fairy tale!"
No, it isn't. I know it isn't, because in my fairy tale, cynics wouldn't exist. But they do. And they are hammering on this excellent film.
I suppose it isn't a surprise. A beacon of light shines out in a very dark time, and the slime and bottomfeeders immediately get to work trying to snuff it out.
Understand this, folks. These nasty reviews have been written by people who a) had an agenda against it before they even sat down to watch it; or b) didn't even bother sitting down to watch it. In the case of the former, it's a sad truth that nasty reviews get far more clicks than good ones. Ripping on something or someone is the new black these days. Hell, it got a vile pig into the White House!
In the case of the latter, many reviewers simply don't bother watching the movies they review. No shit. It's true. The reasons why they don't bother don't matter in the slightest; their review is grossly dishonest and has nothing to do with the film they're panning in the end, but with themselves and their own patheticness.
Remember, though: they have a solid grip on truth and reality.
Fans of the film have begun to notice the grotesque attacks on it. On IMDB alone, the movie has risen from a 6.7 rating (out of 10, which isn't bad) yesterday, to a 7.7 rating not even a day later.
It doesn't deserve a 7.7 rating. Anything less than 9.0 is ludicrous.
What a dark time we live in. Historians will surely look back on this era and call it the Troll Age. That assumes, of course, that we survive it. The smart money is against it.
Beauty and the Beast is anti-troll, top to bottom, through and through. That's why it is so hated. Have no doubts about it.
So let me offer you some advice. Fight the darkness. Fight the cynics. Fight the one in yourself. Fight the bottomfeeders. Fight the trolls. Go see this film--especially if you're an adult--and let yourself freakin' enjoy it. The world is desperate for light, now more than ever. Beauty and the Beast offers some. Why not let yourself bathe in it; and when you walk out of the theater, why not try to spread a little around yourself?