I am going to be upfront with my opinions on the movie instead of killing time with multiple sentences of me trying to be witty. Beauty and the Beast did not live up to my expectations. Maybe I set them too high or I expected something different. I say that, but at the same time this is exactly what the previews were leading us to expect. I didn’t see Cinderella or Maleficent, but from what I heard about them this movie would fall in between them in terms of originality.
Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time … a song as old as rhyme … It is about taking someone prisoner for trying to take a rose, before trading them out for that person’s daughter. Of course the prisoner Belle (Emma Watson) ends up developing feelings for the Beast (Dan Stevens) thanks to the living household items (most notably Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian McKellen). Don’t worry, her obsessed hero of the town Gaston (Luke Evans) will surely try to save her … or will he? In all seriousness, if you don’t know what the movie is about what are you doing with your life?
I would give Beauty and the Beast 6 “songs you forgot you knew the words to” out of 10.
This movie is all about one thing, nostalgia. If you are expecting the highlights of the original plus 30ish minutes of additional backstory, then this is the movie for you. I found myself not so much watching the movie but waiting on “Be Our Guest” or “Tale As Old As Time” to finally get there. Everything you wanted from the original is in the live action version in addition to a few other songs.
Depending on your love and attachment to the original, some of the characters are even better since they are more fleshed out. For instance, during Gaston’s big song we see LaFou paying people to sing and dance along. The household items got to be a little more human as well, such as Lumiere being a metallic person moreso than a candlestick.
My opinion seems to clash with most everyone else I talked with so far in terms of what didn’t work. For starters I thought the casting was rather poor. Belle wasn’t the most beautiful girl in town and Gaston wasn’t the muscular, handsome jock like they were in the cartoon version. The household items all were cast pretty well, but most people (and the Beast) seemed to be picked without much regard for the original.
While casting can always be a trigger for reboots or remakes, my biggest issue is the pacing. The original animated movie was under 85 minutes while the remake is almost 130 minutes. Even though I haven’t seen the animated version for several years, it is painfully obvious which scenes were tacked on for more story (?). The added backstory ended up being largely unnecessary since it didn’t add enough to complete what it started (ie: Beast’s parents). So in my opinion they should have streamlined it closer to the original or been a little more creative and made this version it’s own thing.
Beauty and the Beast is a great live action remake … but isn’t enough of an original to be that memorable. It is a wonderful trip down memory lane and is worth seeing on the big screen. In terms of being a great movie all on it’s own it falls short, so the original (or even the recently revamped 3D version) is a better starting point for that fairy tale.
If you want to find a good “live action” remake from Disney, I would urge you to watch Jungle Book if you haven’t seen it already. They have enough originality to stand alone without needing to rely on the first. It is currently available on Netflix and is a fun for the whole family.
I did specify “live action” since everything but Mowgli was CGI … but holy crap it looked so good. It looked realistic and is probably some of the best CGI that comes to mind. The fact that both remakes were from Disney is jarring since Beauty and the Beast had some horrible CGI and backdrops.