In my ongoing attempt to learn to better interact with the realm of physical matter and have hobbies that aren’t as passive, I have carried on with the Lego. I decided to go for some nostalgia sets from my own childhood as I know Chris got a lot out of building things from his own childhood movies. As Disney was just about to release a new version of Beauty and the Beast and it was my favorite movie when I was six, I got the castle from the original movie.
It was easier to build than the TARDIS set by a fair amount. This makes sense as the TARDIS is 10+ and Belle’s enchanted castle is 6-12, which basically means 6+ for my purposes. It was the first time either of us had any experience with the Lego Friends form factor of minifigures. They had mildly enraged Chris since he became an adult fan of Lego, but now that we’ve seen some up close, I think they make sense. Lego Friends and Lego Disney Princesses are a good way of getting little girls (and big girls to a point) into something that helps them actively interact with the world around them by building things and dealing with different kinds of pieces working together differently. I think making the minifigures more something that your average little girl thinks properly looks like her favorite princess is a small price to drum up that interest.
More than that, they do work with Lego, just in a different way. Their feet still work with typical bricks and there is a particular small piece that allows them to sit, a 1 x 2 x 1 plate with thin central divider and rounded corners:
The rest of the set wasn’t any different to the rest of Lego other than the color scheme was obvious very Disney Princess i.e. lots of pearl gold and purple. If anything, due to the nature of Beauty and the Beast having many inanimate objects as characters, most of them could be built using standard pieces that have existed for years. Far more special designs were required, for instance, for the Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters. Most of what made it Beauty and the Beast specific were stickers (which are a pain and seem to be in a lot of sets of all kinds):
Here is a video review:
On a related note, the new remake of Beauty and the Beast was very good. Although I’d prefer the film industry made new stories, they aren’t interested, so it’s nice that there is actually something out there being remade nostalgically that I’m interested in seeing. This feels aimed at me in the same way making every Marvel and DC comic ever written into a movie is aimed at many, many men out there. The quality was very good and the changes mostly felt like organic and helpful additions rather than becoming excessively edge-y like many remakes of children’s classics. It still retained a cartoon-y feel of things like the song ‘Gaston’ in the pub scene. It was delightfully ridiculous with real actors. The fellow that plays Lefou looks just like I thought he would as a real person. That said, the idea that it’s ‘live action’ is a funny one. Although they got a real woman, Emma Watson, who did a great job playing Belle and a few more real people to appear on-screen, there was nearly as much animation in this as in the previous version. It’s not like they stuck Ian McKellen in a clock costume. Animation has just got so realistic that they can make anything look real now, so the line between live action and animation is fuzzy. I’m curious to see what future Disney remakes will look like.