A Timeless Tale of Beauty and Nostalgia.


Recently in Malaysia, the movie Beauty and the Beast had garnered negative attention when the Censorship Board spotted what they interpreted as a gay moment during the song and dance between the pompous Gaston, his sidekick LeFou and the townspeople. Apparently said “gay moment” occurred when LeFou lifted up his shirt to show the love bite that Gaston left on his tummy! Local cinema-goers (and I) beg to differ and tell you that at the very least, it was the adoration that LeFou had for Gaston.

Thankfully, the movie was given the green light to proceed with all scenes intact.

I, too, had the opportunity of watching the movie earlier today, courtesy of the company she works in as a reward to the sales department for hitting their targets. And I thought the movie was brilliant! It was wonderful! It was lovely! It was pretty damn amazing and As a child, I had been a big fan of Disney (and I still am until today), I’m pleased that they didn’t futz it up or butcher it like so many other movie producers and directors had done to other film adaptations.

The musically-inclined in me lapped up every tune, every lyric and every verse belted out by each and every character in the movie. And each song sung during each scene brought me back to my childhood days which I spent watching, Disney cartoons and pretending I was an ordinary girl waiting to meet her Prince Charming. Although that didn’t actually happen but it was still a dream for little ol’ me. Songs like Be Our Guest and Tale As Old As Time took me back almost 20 years ago… It was purely nostalgic!

Director Bill Condon and screenplay writers Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos made sure that every part of the movie fitted like a perfect jigsaw puzzle to the original cartoon. They even found the right actors and actresses to play each of their respective parts!


Here are some of the characters that I can still recall from watching the movie:

Dan Stevens played the Prince who had been cursed by a witch for turning her away when she sought shelter at his castle during a snowstorm. He was turned into a hideous beast whose spell can only be broken by true love. His servants were not spared either; they had been turned into various objects and furniture with a life and the ability to speak. It’s a pity that neither cartoon nor film had a name for this rugged looking prince. Out of all the Disney cartoons, this prince looks like a manly man. The princes in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella looked more like pretty boys than manly men.

Emma Watson outgrew her adolescence in the Harry Potter series as Hermione Granger to play Belle, the book-reading, adventure-seeking, fearless young woman who defies Gaston’s request to marry him, goes in search for her elderly father in the dark forest, takes his place in the cursed castle, and learns to love and live with someone completely out of her league. Ironically, she plays a young woman who was born in Paris, France before her father took her away to save her from catching the plague that killed her mother. Watson herself was born as Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson in Paris, France to English parents, Chris Watson and Jacqueline Luesby, both lawyers by profession!

Luke Evans is well-known for his roles as Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 7 and Bard in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Gaston was a deliciously evil man! Who can resist the bad boy charms of a muscular French man riding through town on a large black horse? He was relentless in his pursuits and efforts to make Belle his wife, right until the very end of the movie.

Josh Gad did a good imitation of LeFou, the short, squat sidekick of Gaston. Although, in the cartoon, he looked a lot more daft than he did in the movie. But both versions of LeFou had a vast amount of adoration for Gaston. The other celebrities I did not imagine seeing in the movie were Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Stanley Tucci as Maestro, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts. Of course, there were other stars whom I did not recognise as well.

Again, I’ll say that the movie was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I liked that it brought back such fond memories 20 years ago. I’m not that old considering that I’ve only hit the big 3-0 but taking 20 years off my current age is a big deal! I sat there as the credits rolled after the movie ended, with a tear or two in my eyes. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the screen from start to finish. It was so amazing that I would bring my husband to watch it with me, even if it means watching it for the second time. And this time, I’ll try to focus on the scenes that I might have missed the first time I saw it. I love it so much and I’d love to say more. But I think I will stop here in case I spoil the movie for those who have yet to watch the movie.


Movie Review: The Jungle Book.

Image credits: IMDB.com.

Watching The Jungle Book movie last night brought back so many childhood memories. As a child, I had watched the cartoon over and over again. The man-cub Mowgli surviving in the animal kingdom in the forest with the comical Baloo the bear, the ever-serious Bagheera the black panther, the sneaky Kaa the snake, the vengeful Shere Khan the tiger, and all the various hob nob of wildlife that prospered in peace among one another.

Not to mention, the times when my mum used to call me Shere Khan because I was born in the year of the tiger and my name sounded similar to his. Does Sheu Quen really sound like Shere Khan? Almost, I suppose.

Directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book was based on the Disney cartoon of the same name and the book written by Rudyard Kipling. The movie had several A-list superstars who lent their voices as the wildlife support system within the forest community where Mowgli had grown up in.

Movie Synopsis

The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don’t have his best interests at heart.- IMDB.com.

The Plot

Mowgli was the man-cub of the forest and the only one played by a real human, newcomer Neel Sethi. Abandoned as a child in a cave after his father was mauled by Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba), Mowgli had been taken in by Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) who passed him along to a pack of wolves led by the alpha male Akela (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito) and raised as a wolf cub by a mother wolf by the name of Raksha (voiced by Lupita Nyong’o). There, he grew up along his other wolf cub siblings and learned the ways of being a member of the pack.

But his happiness was not meant to be when Shere Khan returned to the area where the animals lived among one another in peace, and his presence had threatened to upset the balance. He sensed that there was one mammal among them that was different and stood out quite awkwardly. As Mowgli learned to discover his real identity with the assistance of Baloo and the guidance of Bagheera, he realised that he wasn’t alone in the forest. Kaa (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), the huge serpent, was intent on turning the man-cub into her meal. King Louie (voiced by Christopher Walken), the giant orangutan living within the ancient ruins in the middle of the forest, was hellbent on recruiting Mowgli for the sake of acquiring the red flower, also known as the fire that man used to wield power over everyone else. Only one animal in the forest was really keen to be his friend, and that was the ever-supportive and comical Baloo the bear who was voiced by Bill Murray.

Movie vs. Cartoon


Seeing as the movie had brought back such fond memories, I knew that the director and producer had done a wonderful job with it. The movie had begun the way it should and ended the way it was meant to end. Many Disney movies had been unlawfully distorted to suit the tastes of the modern cinema-goer and more often than not, most Disney movies end up looking like they were desperately reformatted in hopes of getting more viewership.

The Song

There were, of course, the minor differences between the movie and the cartoon, and there were scenes that were neither in one or the other. One difference was the time when Baloo was singing his song, The Bare Necessities. The one in the movie was shorter than the one in the cartoon, complete with the bear’s antics and theatrics.

The Man-Cub

The other notable difference involved Mowgli. In the movie, Mowgli was braver and able to climb trees and improvise to make his life better, whereas the Mowgli in the cartoon was more naive and unable to do as much as his real-life counterpart could. Also, there may have been a man-village in both the movie and the cartoon but there was certainly no pretty little Indian girl whom attracted Mowgli’s attention and drew him back to her village (this was the ending of the cartoon).

The Monkey

King Louie was still an orangutan in both versions, but in the movie, he was made to look so much bigger than his cartoon counterpart and more devious too. His hoard of monkey slaves weren’t able to talk though, besides howling and hooting among themselves, while the monkey gangs in the cartoon were not just able to talk but sing and dance as well!

The Elephants

And if you have seen the cartoon before, let’s not forget the pachyderm parade led by a large grey elephant by the name of Colonel Hathi. That was one memorable scene that did not make it into the movie. At most, we will still see a parade of elephants but only because they were the giants of the forest.

The Snake

But the one difference that stood out was the voice of Kaa. In the cartoon, Kaa was voiced by a male actor. But in the movie, Scarlett Johansson was given the role of the snake. The result? A rather sexy, come-hither serpent that sounded like she was “getting it on” in the bedroom!

All these differences didn’t make me hate the movie though. If any, it made me love it even more! But these differences had a reason. The cartoon version had been made for the eyes of children, while the movie was adapted to accommodate movie-goers of all ages. So there was no way that a creepy King Louie or the ferocious Shere Khan and his disfigured face would appear on VCR and cause children to flee in all directions in shock and surprise.