Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Buy Beauty and the Beast on Amazon Video
Written by:  Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (screenplay)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson
Rated: PG

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

An adaptation of the 1993 Disney fairy tale, which was an adaptation of the 1740 fairy tale turned movie in 1946, a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman fall in love.

This movie exists because of nostalgia. It's the same reason it will do well. It's a nice compliment to the animated 1991 Disney version, but it won't replace it. This draws people who want to relive their childhood.
It's the same story you've heard before, and while the sets look great, the CGI Beast is hit or miss.
You'll enjoy the songs gleaned from 1991, though none of the newer songs will become classics. It's not bad, it just relies too heavily on the past.
It depends.


I was skeptical from the first announcement of Disney is going to do a live action remake of their own film from 1991. It seems like a money grab, and it is. This movie will do well, but I don't really care for it because it's not necessary. It doesn't bring anything new.

Jean Cocteau set the bar for a live action version in 1946 (read my review). This version is safe, but if you loved the 1991 version, this will be a nice compliment. You'll feel obligated to see this and I'm sure Disney was banking on that.

While this very much is the same story from the animated version, it does flesh out a few plot points like what happened to Belle's mom and reveals background on The Beast's parents.

The production looks good. The castle is awe inspiring, serving as the backdrop for a few emotional moments.The CGI beast just didn't look quite right, and plenty of movies have done an acceptable job of CGI characters. The Jungle Book did it last year (read my review).

We get a little bit of what it's like to be an outsider, with Belle and the Beast forming a connection over that. No matter how you look, you can feel isolated. Belle is living in the Beast's castle, replacing her father as a prisoner.

Gaston discovers the Beast and vows to kill him. This leads up to the finale, that culminates in a happy ending. Gaston's sidekick Le Fou's orientation was part of a perceived controversy, but it isn't overt. Whether Le Fou would have been out in that time period, I don't know, but the character is a non-issue in the context of this movie.

Steeped so heavily in nostalgia, the animated song like "Be Our Guest" and "Tale as Old as Time" return. The new songs are adequate, but will never become classics. Lumiere's dance moves seems to reference "Singin' in the Rain."
Many of the animated costumes are recreated in the movie.

The Beast was cursed for being vain and selfish, while his staff were cursed for not intervening. The ultimate message is don't judge people. A person's appearance doesn't dictate how they do or should act.
The prince was a jerk, and it took making him look like the beast he was on the inside to change his actions. This is a love story, but it also highlights the courage and strength of Belle.

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