Aug 01 2007

2007’s Movies List: #29

Real quick note: I changed the permalinks style. It is no longer based on the name. If you click on any post before today, you’ll notice that the static URL address will include the post name, and in some cases, it was rather lengthy. The reason I changed it was because I felt like I had to uniquely title every single post. I felt like every title had to mean something. Well, if I’m doing this for many years, it’s going to be hard to always come up with new and unique post titles and have that reflected in the permalinks. Also, it just got annoying. What you can do is continue to type in just the year to find all posts by that year, and then the month number to find all posts that month and the day to find any posts that day. The last number in the permalinks is the unique post number. I’m just glad I thought of this new permalink structure now before I got huge webpage names. Okay, onto my Top 30 Movies List:

#29: “Beauty and the Beast”

This 1991 Disney animated motion picture may remain the only animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars the following year. Apparently, after the Academy created the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2002 (for the films of 2001), animated films are no longer eligible for Best Picture nominations. Obviously, I hate that rule but I think the idea of recognizing animated films, nevertheless, is a great idea. It pains me to think that great films like “The Incredibles” could be nominated for things like Best Original Screenplay (Writing), which I regard as one of the more coveted awards at the Oscars, but not Best Picture. Even Roger Ebert admits that had that rule not been in place, The Incredibles may had been nominated for Best Picture. But I digress…

Beauty and the Beast is a musical and it’s a film that takes place in a non-English speaking country but they all speak English anyway. Those two type of films are films I actually avoid nowadays. So why would Beauty and the Beast which has both elements still be on my list? Well, for the voice part, we have to suspend our disbelief that they should be speaking French (Makes me wonder if the French dub was any good). But the musical sequences, which do take over a lot of the movie, are actually very integral to the plot movements and the character developments. I would argue that it is these original scenes that really make this movie so wonderful. From the very beginning, we really get a sense of the kind of person Belle is. She’s beautiful, but also sensible. She wants so much more than the life she has. We find that it is that desire that takes her to a mysterious castle, where her father is being held captive by a beast. Even this scene, where Belle must forever live with the beast in exchange for her father being set free, is done with brilliant direction.

I find as the film goes on that really every song is not there to just give the movie the standard 80 minute runtime. Every song reveals something about the characters. We also find that the movie is also driven by the score as much as it is driven by the songs. The film also sports great writing about a typical scenario of that time period in France. While it is fantasy, Belle’s ambition is very real, and her love for the beast that she develops is genuine. While the animation and some moments make the film even seem like it is just for kids, this is truly a film for adults. Many animated films are that way. After all, who’s money are the companies really getting? The kids or the parents?

Even with that mindset, the film does such an excellent job at telling it’s story through animation, and through lyrics, that it would be disappointing for you to pass it up. I found it to be a very enchanting spin on a very enchanting tale, and I love this movie. One of my Japanese friends consider this to be his favorite film. Now I want to hear the Japanese dub!