If Belle gets Best Animated Feature in the Academy Awards, it could get a rerelease and have more screenings to allow everyone to experience one of the most impactful anime films since your name.
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The internet is a place that changed the way the world connects. When it started to be widely available to the public, it allowed everyone to talk to their relatives virtually; it also allowed people to buy or sell hard-to-find things, create viral moments, and access information instantly. There is also a downside to it including misinformation being spread around social media websites and users that are not transparent about who they are, creating chaos that can impact world events.
Mamoru Hosoda’s highly anticipated film Belle is a commentary on how the internet can influence the world while surprisingly retelling the story of Beauty and the Beast. I saw the trailer for the film when I watched Spiderman: No Way Home, I found out that the film will have a general release instead of a limited release where I would have seen the film at the VIFF Centre. The films of Studio Ghibli would get this type of release back in the day and if Belle gets Best Animated Feature in the Academy Awards, it could get a rerelease and have more screenings to allow everyone to experience one of the most impactful anime films since your name, or maybe Demon Slayer: Mugen Train.
Suzu (Kylie McNeill) is a shy high school student who had a passion to sing when she was young until her mother drowned after rescuing another kid who was trapped in the middle of a running stream. As they near graduation, her best friend Hiroka (Jessica DiCicco) invites her to use an app called U where users can create any avatar they desire. With the power of AI and biometrics, Suzu enters the world of U as Belle and becomes an instant sensation when she sings with Hiroka helping her as a producer.
Unrest also happens in U with a beast disrupting balance and it made Suzu wonder why the beast behaves so recklessly, causing her to investigate. The scenes outside of U have the Hosoda look while the scenes in U seemed like a combination of the animation of Michel Ocelot and the film Promare.
A lot of technical terms were used throughout the film as well as showing every aspect of the internet like moderators, the use of fake accounts, and comments on posts. Also, the online community working together and the way that doing your own research can lead to positivity. Suzu not wanting everyone to know that she is Belle tackled the problem of being famous, its responsibilities, and the fact that you will have mixed reactions which Hiroka points out.
Belle’s second half is so powerful that it led to the longest standing ovation for a film at 14 minutes during the Cannes Film Festival when it premiered last year. It is also another reason why the film must be seen on the big screen. The internet is as magical a reality as life. The only question that I have about the film is when you use U, do you have to get a special earpiece, or can you use your own earphones? Because she gets the invitation and immediately goes inside the app without showing what happened in between those moments.