March 20, 2017.
If you like exquisite costumes, shitty CGI, shoddy acting, and a movie that is all style with no real heart attached then I got the movie for you! I was not a fan of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve actually never liked any of the live-action Disney remakes. With Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book that makes them 0 for 5. Beauty and the Beast may be my least favorite of the five, and that’s really saying something. Beauty and the Beast (2017) does almost next-to-nothing in trying to update the beloved classic and the attempt here reminded me of a terrible extended version of the animated feature. This film is the equivalent of someone tripping you and then helping you up only to trip you again.
Beauty and the Beast is directed by Bill Condon and stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and a whole bunch of other A-listers and is Disney’s live-action remake of the beloved animation classic. Everyone loves the original, and Disney has found a gold mine with these remakes. Alas, this remake does hardly anything to warrant its existence other than for Disney studio execs to make money, however; it does have some positives. Most of the songs that were in orignal are nearly perfected here, with the opening number “Belle-Bonjour” being the stand out. It’s easily my favorite song/scene from the original, and it was recreated beautifully in the remake. The little french village feels like the same one from the original, and Emma Watson is a very talented singer. One of the bright spots from the remake of Cinderella was the exquisite attention to detail of the costumes. Beauty and the Beast applies to this as well, with painstakingly detail added to every costume. The costume design is more than Oscar-worthy, and most likely to win next year. Josh Gad as Le Fou was great as well. You probably heard that Disney decided to make Le Fou gay for this remake. I stand by their decision. It brings a level of emotion and character development that the animated Le Fou did not possess, and I give props to Disney for taking this approach and succeeding with it. These are my positives. It’s too bad the negatives outweigh the positives with a movie like this.
I’m probably in the minority here, but I thought Emma Watson was miscast as Belle. She sings well, but she brings no real depth to the character. I felt none of the emotion of her character that I felt from the original. I didn’t think she would inhabit the character well compared to the original before I saw the movie. Too bad my prejudices were true. Personally, I think Anne Hathaway would of been the perfect Belle. Dan Stevens as the Beast was ok. He was almost way too nice though. I didn’t feel that much anger or hatred in his heart like I should of. Luke Evans as Gaston was great though. He’s an underrated actor, and is the same commanding Gaston from the original while also adding something new in every scene. The CGI in this movie was atrocious. More money was spent on the swooping camera shots than the CGI for the Beast.. If this movie was a clean, shiny bald head, then the Beast would be a giant patch of hair on top. It was so noticeably bad I couldn’t help but laugh. The designs for Lumiere and the other personified household objects were disappointing as well. Condon was trying to make a very, very mature version of the Beauty and the Beast, but this clashes with the whimsy that is inherent to the story. The animated designs for these characters was fun. The live-action designs are just regular and boring. It takes away all the playfulness out of the characters. For example, the “Be our Guest” sequence was horrible in this movie. It was so much fun in the animated film, but it just comes off as an overblown CGI fest with a boring Lumiere leading the charge. As I mentioned before, Condon’s balance between the whimsy and the serious was poor. This movie pads an extra 40 minutes to the runtime of the original, and it’s all backstory. He just added boring sequences to this film and confused backstory exposition with character development. The added songs and scenes between Belle and Beast were forced. One scene in particular near the end did almost next to nothing for the story, and was not mentioned later. It felt like I was watching the first draft of the original. The original was much more streamlined and told a much more clean, coherent story. This remake was bloated and took down the quality significantly. Overall I was extremely disappointed with the live-action remake. There were some bright spots like a few of the songs, the costume design, and Josh Gad as Le Fou. It’s a shame the rest of the movie as a whole couldn’t hold up.