I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
I have to be frank, I kind of wanted to hate this movie. A good chunk of my mind was set on tearing this obvious cash-grab a new one. Let’s see whether my prejudices were justified.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) is the live-action remake of the 90’s animated classic from the Mouse House. If you don’t know the story already, I’m sorry but this review is basically for people who know the original.
Last year I gave a relatively positive review of The Jungle Book. What that movie did was give a new take on an imperfect movie with extraordinary visuals and bizarre renditions of I wanna be like you. This film today is attempting to improve upon one of the best animated films ever made.
In a couple of respects, the film succeeds in this lofty aim and not in insignificant areas.
The supporting players of this movie are fleshed out a bit more. This could be seen as distracting from the main story, but I see it as giving some extra dimensions to already great characters. While I’m not 100% sold on the look of the magical furniture just yet, it is growing on me and they do provide some effective moments.
This movie has some really good casting almost everywhere. Emma Watson is damn near perfect as a beautiful nerd (and she’s pretty good at playing Belle too). The Beast, whatever his name is, is also suitably baritone throughout and Luke Evans as Gaston actually works, surprisingly.
Interesting that the casting in the animated film was generally American while they got British voices for this version. Perhaps to class things up a bit.
Other changes that were pretty neutral to my enjoyment include the fact that nobody seems to be an idiot. All the characters are played quite a bit straighter (except for one but we’ll get to him) and certain actions have a little more logic to them and not just Disney Logic.
Now we come to the stuff I disliked.
I think this movie is badly shot and badly edited. There were moments where I honestly could not tell what I was looking at and still didn’t upon leaving the scene. The ending goes from being well-paced at the “All is Lost” point to rushing through the happily ever after. It’s really weird.
I’m fine with a new song or two and some of the new stuff between Belle and the Beast is fantastic. However the addition of some arc about their dead mothers is so forced and Disney-like it is actually really sad, but not in the way they had in mind.
And let’s talk about the Rainbow elephant in the room. Le Fou, that little brat from the first move is unambiguously gay.
For 90% of the film, it is done fine. We get some funny jokes, some nice character growth and Josh Gad is for once in his entire career not self-immolatingly irritating.
However, a couple of moments near the end are so relentlessly “look how progressive we are” it makes the whole admittedly noble effort lose all credibility. I agree with increased representation, but it doesn’t excuse clumsy execution.
My final problem is this. It’s LIVE-ACTION.
I honestly don’t understand why “The Most Magical Studio on Earth” is so keen to redo all their films without some of that magic. That’s what is happening.
Comparing the Disney Beauty and the Beasts makes this one looks so awkward. The big song numbers are never as compelling (apart from the ballroom scene which was done quite well). No matter how good the CGI is, the candlesticks and Beasts are never in the room with Emma Watson!
Disney is scheduled to remake every film they’ve ever made. That’s not hyperbole. EVER film good, bad or great seems to be getting the live-action treatment.
That is just creepy!
Recommended Scenario: If you want an OK version of a great film.