Casting of “Beauty and the Beast” Remake

Disney recently announced its main cast for its 3-D live-action remake of the original film of Beauty and the Beast.  The new movie is set for release in March of 2017.

 dan stevens 

I was BEYOND excited when I heard that casting had chosen Dan Stevens to play the Beast alongside Emma Watson as Belle! I wouldn’t normally consider myself a fangirl, but I definitely had a fangirl moment there… Emma Watson is truly a role model for young women and girls everywhere.  She followed her own desire to pursue an education by attending Brown University, insistent on “being normal and doing normal things,” as she put it.  Although she’s super famous for her role as Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter series, she somehow manages to stay out of the negative lime light.  She is kind, humble, and inspiring, serving as the current Women Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, dedicating her humanitarian efforts towards empowering young women through education and promoting gender equality.  Nowadays it’s so hard to find someone so admirable in Hollywood that you can really look up to.  Emma Watson has always been the exception to me, and I’m SO happy to see her play Belle in Disney’s new re-make.

Though, in all honestly, I don’t know that much about Dan Stevens as a person, as Matthew on Downton Abbey he was such a lovable gentleman.  As one could image, I was heartbroken when he left the show in such a tragic way… So naturally, I, along with many other Downton fangirls, I’m sure, totally swooned when I heard his name released in the casting announcement.

I absolutely cannot wait to see Dan in his royal blue tux and Emma in her puffy yellow ball gown waltz to “Tale As Old As Time”<3  Such a Downton throwback!

March 2017 come sooner!!

Advertisements

Toy Story Reviving Childhood

toy story

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about guys… it’s that they love Toy Story.  They all do!  Really!  Or at least pretty much all of the guys I know… I’m sure there’s some that for one reason or another don’t care for it.

Growing up, Disney movies were typically for girls.  I guess boys weren’t huge fans of the fairytale love story plot lines of CinderellaSnow WhiteThe Little Mermaid, Sleeping BeautyPocahontas, etc… I can’t blame them for seeing more of themselves in superheroes and action characters than in pretty princesses.  So one could honestly say that the traditional Disney films were more geared towards girls.  However, Toy Story is the exception.  For some reason, I personally didn’t like Toy Story; I couldn’t get into it, though I’m sure this wasn’t necessarily the case for all girls.  The boys, on the other hand, LOVED the Toy Story movies.  And the funny thing is… they STILL do.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it just seems strange when you think of it in society’s generalized view of “masculinity.”  For instance, in my Spanish class just this past week, my professor showed us the trailer for Toy Story 3, which we were then supposed to translate into Spanish.  The first time he played the trailer, I was obviously paying attention to what was going on on the screen, but the second time he showed us the clip, my eyes started wandering around the classroom a bit.  I instantly noticed how enthralled all the guys in the class were by the 3-minute clip.  When the trailer ended, one of them even asked if we could just watch the whole movie then and there.  It was so cute seeing how just watching a short trailer could make college “men” briefly transition into their childhood selves.

It always fascinates me how quickly our favorite childhood movies can make us feel the age we were when we first watched them.

Buzzfeed – Terrible Love Lessons from Disney Princes

A funny yet true reminder from Buzzfeed that “prince charmings” aren’t always as great as they’re made out to be…

List of Downfalls

1. It’s a good idea to get engaged to someone you just met and barely know.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

2. It’s OK to make someone give up a huge part of themselves to be with you.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via giphy.com

3. Don’t take “no” for an answer when someone tries to go home for the night.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via rebloggy.com

4. Because people will always give in to your grand gestures and persistence.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

5. Your partner doesn’t need to be awake for you to show them you love them.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via degrassi.wikia.com

6. Sleeping corpses really make for excellent kissing partners.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via houseofgeekery.com

7. Love someone? Be mean and treat them like garbage!

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

8. Lie to the person you love about your true identity.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

9. They’ll fall in love with you anyway and never question anything else you say.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via degrassi.wikia.com

10. Totally rely and depend on someone else to change you for the better.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
DIsney

11. You can sweet talk your way out of any bad circumstance or pain you put your loved one through.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

12. Definitely marry someone who has to jump through hoops to be with you.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via rebloggy.com

13. Being super aggressive and intense is also super sexy.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via giphy.com

14. Having an obnoxious ego is a sure-fire way to win over someone’s heart.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney

15. Putting your loved one in harm’s way won’t ruin the future of your relationship.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via williesun.com

16. Because no matter how difficult the situation, it will always work out in the end.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes
Disney / Via degrassi.wikia.com

Thanks for nothing, guys.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes

THANKS. FOR. NOTHING.

16 Terrible Love Lessons We Learned From Disney Princes

Disney’s “Moana”

One of Disney’s many new projects, Moana, is set for release in 2016.  The film takes place 2,000 years ago in the ancient Polynesian region, where Moana Waialiki, daughter of the chief, goes on a journey with an accompanying demigod (Dwayne Johnson) to fulfill her “ancestor’s quest” to find a legendary land.  Given Disney’s history of stereotypically misrepresenting foreign cultures (a.k.a. Arab culture in Aladdin, Native American culture in Pocahontas, etc…), critics are questioning how authentic Disney’s representation of South Asian culture will be in Moana.  Keep in mind, it might be hard to discern whether the representation is even accurate or not since it takes place in an ancient setting we have little familiarity with… However, apparently Taika Waititi, a native New Zealand screenwriter, is in charge of the movie’s script, so we can probably bet on a pretty true portrayal of the Polynesian culture.  It’s so cool to see Disney expanding its cultural plotlines.

moana

“Whitewashing” Mulan

Petition

Following the recent news release that Disney will be re-making Mulan into a live-action film, over 20,000 people signed a petition calling for Disney to cast an Asian Mulan for the lead role. When I first read this, I thought to myself: Well, isn’t it a bit ridiculous that they’re demanding this? Wouldn’t it be obvious for Disney to cast an Asian actress as Mulan? I mean, the story does take place in China… I guess I was naïve to think that. Apparently, “whitewashing” (casting white actors/actresses to play characters who were meant to be people of color) is not that uncommon in Hollywood. The Guardian’s article on the petition referred to the fact that John Wayne’s casting as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, Mickey Rooney’s casting as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and more recent castings in The Last Airbender as well as Ghost in the Shell as proof of Hollywood’s recurring trend of “whitewashing” originally Asian characters. It happens all the time and nobody ever really thinks about it (or at least I didn’t), most of us just accept it as normal and don’t question it. I guess when you put it in perspective, it wouldn’t be totally abnormal if Disney casted a white actress as Mulan. But it’s totally culturally wrong and historically inaccurate in so many ways – it just makes me cringe internally… Petition organizer Natalie Molnar contends, validly – I might add, that “whitewashing” implies that only white people can be heroes, and that the “white” standard of beauty and morality are superior to that of other cultures and ethnicities.

mulan

I guess we’ll have to tune in to see who Disney chooses as its newest leading lady.

Disney’s Live-Action Business

The Guardian recently posted an article about Disney’s new strategy to remake its most popular animated films.  After enjoying their own success with the re-adaptation of Alice in Wonderland in 2010, starring a particularly quirky Johnny Depp, as well as after seeing the great success of Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012, Disney began planning for similar re-makes of their other original cartoons with the hopes of establishing a highly profitable trend.  Recently, over the past few months, Disney has publicly announced its plans to re-make PinocchioMulanBeauty and the BeastDumbo, and Winnie the Pooh into live-action films.  While I’m super excited about Mulan and Beauty and the Beast in particular, I’m a little confused as to how Disney plans to use real people and a real-world setting to illustrate the stories of a flying elephant and a talking bear with an obsession for honey…

In case you were wondering why all of these live-action re-makes keep coming out, here’s some good background…

Disney’s latest release of the re-made Cinderella earned $400.8 million worldwide just after three weeks on release.  The movies to follow, if produced in the same quality, will certainly match it in profits.  Furthermore, Disney purposefully chose to re-make movies it could incorporate into its theme parks and merchandise.  In 2014, Disney made a profit of $15 billion from its theme parks and $4 billion from its merchandise, compared to a lesser $1.55 billion from its movies.

Disney’s modern corporate strategy is sure to continue to produce big bucks.

alice live cinderella live

Live-Reaction to “The Princess and the Frog”

Around two weeks ago, I watched The Princess and the Frog for the first time.  I didn’t expect to necessarily like it, since it was a new Disney movie that I had no previous connection to as a child, but I actually really enjoyed watching the movie.  It was a fun story with some meaningful messages about independence, love, and hard work.  The 1920’s Louisiana setting made for a quality, foot-tappining musical production.

I thought that Disney did a good, historically accurate job illustrating the clear difference between the white privileged neighborhood (stately houses) and the lower-income black neighborhood (small homes all in a row), without being offensive.

It was refreshing to see a happy family dynamic, where both parents were alive (at least when Tiana was a kid).  I found it interesting to see how they impacted Tiana’s personal development, since in most Disney movies, the princesses make references to what their mom/dad taught them, but we as an audience never directly see it for ourselves.  I loved the advice that her parents gave her: Wishing on a star only gets you part of the way there, you have to work hard and then you can do anything.  Never lose sight of what’s important.  I think it’s a great moral for the youth to internalize.

As a kid, I always enjoyed watching the famous princess movies (Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, especially).  I liked the stories and the glamour of the princess life, as any little girl would dream of.  But looking back, I never truly connected with the characters.  I did finally connect with a Disney princess, though, even if it was at 19… A while ago, I took Buzzfeed’s “Which Disney Heroine Are You?” quiz and got that I was most like Tiana.  At the time, I hadn’t seen The Princess and the Frog, so I couldn’t really understand the significance of my result.  But now that I HAVE seen it, I’d say it’s totally accurate.  Throughout the movie, I could actually see myself in parts of Tiana’s character.  While I couldn’t exactly relate to the same financial struggles she faced, I could relate to her work ethic and determination to make her dream become a reality.  Like Tiana, after a while of working so hard in high school and sacrificing a lot of social life as a result, now that I’m in college, I’m trying to reach a bit of a better balance with all of the aspects of my life.  Though my studies are still super important to me, I’ve placed new value on having fun and enjoying the simple things in life like spending time with friends.

Lastly, Charlotte is hilarious.  I totally loved her character in the film.  Though she’s a spoiled little white girl, she’s still a genuinely good person.  She never mistreats Tiana because of her race or different socioeconomic status.  Although she loses Prince Naveen to Tiana, Charlotte is still happy that her friend finally found love.  Not to mention, her exaggeratedly hyper emotions and actions make her seem so desperate for the prince that it cracked me up every time.

Overall, I thought the film successfully struck a tricky-to-find balance between the value of being an independent, hard working woman and letting your guard down, opening your heart to love.  The vibrant scenery and jazzy musical score also made for a beautiful production.  I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen the film to watch it!

frog