This live-action rejuvenation of Disney's classic 1991 animated musical is in many respects a thing of sumptuous beauty. In fact, some of the scenes in this new Beauty and the Beast—such as the famous welcome-to-the-feast number, "Be Our Guest"—are nothing short of magical. On top of that, this fairy tale fantasy's encouragements to choose kindness and compassion, and to look beyond surface beauty, all ring as clear and true as a, uh, Belle.
That's the good news here.
But then there's all that other stuff that we have to deal with as well. What are we to make of director Bill Condon's claims that his Beauty and the Beast features Disney's first "gay moment" (as described above)?
Adults will likely notice the film's obvious homosexual innuendos and recognize them for what they are. But will kids? In a different, more innocent time, I wonder if these scenes would have been viewed by youngsters as little more than silliness. Alas, however, we live in this activist age. A day when actors and directors and studios feel it necessary to insert such things in an attempt to normalize and elevate certain sexual choices. And, unfortunately, they've chosen to do so this time in a movie aimed at children.
Both director Bill Condon and actor Josh Gad seem to be trying to walk back their comments about this deliberate, pro-homosexual agenda—perhaps in light of calls from some prominent Christians to boycott it. Gad told USA Today, "Too much has probably been made of this entire thing. At a certain point what I want to be talking about is how wonderful, how entertaining, how amazing this movie is for all audiences." Likewise, Condon told screencrush.com, "It's all been overblown," and then added, "Why is it a big deal?"
But the fact that Condon doesn't understand why this could be such a big deal to many who don't believe homosexuality is normative is telling indeed. The result? Families that don't embrace Beauty and the Beast's pro-gay worldview will be forced to grapple with how best to respond to it. And for those who were looking forward to revisiting this beloved tale as old as time with a younger generation, that's a disappointing and difficult decision to have to make.