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Film Review – Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Disney has taken it upon themselves to give all their classic stories a face lift by making them into live-action films.  The next one on the list may just be the most popular Disney story of all: Beauty and the Beast.  The following review will be spoiler free.

Synopsis

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Bill Condon and stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans.

The film is a re-imagining of the timeless story which follows Belle (Watson) as she is taken prisoner in a castle owned by a Beast (Stevens).  Despite her worries, Belle befriends the enchanted staff members of the castle and begins to learn that the Beast may not be as gruesome as he seems.  All the while, the treacherous Gaston (Evans) bans the townsfolk against the Beast in order to get rid of him once and for all.

Background

As the marketing for Beauty and the Beast began to increase, news started to break on the slate of live-action remakes of classic animated tales currently in production at Disney including Aladdin, Mulan, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid among many, many others.  Considering Disney is currently on a hot streak with three straight well received adaptations (Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon), this news was met with much excitement from fans everywhere.

Not only does this idea make financial sense for Disney, it also has the potential to add little changes to the source material that can benefit the film’s themes to ring more resonant in today’s society.  While we all love some of these properties, there’s no doubting that some of them are definitely a product of the times they were created in.  I enjoyed what Disney did with Cinderella, giving the story a face lift while giving characters some added motivations.  If these films are all done in such a way, we could be on the brink of something special.

As for Beauty and the Beast, was it able to conquer this aforementioned task?

Beauty and the Beast

image via Digital Spy

What I Liked

While it may be a slave to the original, this new version of Beauty and the Beast is certainly an enjoyable ride.

The creative team involved with the film deserves a ton of credit for the production design of this film.  Every frame oozes with color and pops with life.  I would be shocked if next year that Beauty and the Beast was not nominated for production design.  Each character looks perfect as the costume design captures the old French feel that the source material requires.  For lack of a better word, Beauty and the Beast looks pretty magical, sucking you back into the world that you love.

However, what really gives the film its heart is the performances.  As you can probably imagine, Emma Watson is absolutely elegant as Belle, showing that she has the singing voice to pair with her heartwarming acting abilities.  Her interactions with Dan Stevens’ Beast feel very genuine and thoughtful, recapturing the love story that is endeared by many.  Despite being in motion capture for most of the movie, Dan Stevens adds a lot of charm to the Beast character, adding a new wrinkle to the character that wasn’t very present in the original animated movie.  Although the look of Beast succumbs to the uncanny valley effect with less than top notch CGI at times, Stevens makes up for it with plenty of charisma.

Beauty and the Beast

image via Digital Spy

What I Liked…Continued

However, it’s Luke Evans as Gaston that steals the show.  If there was ever someone that born to play a certain role, we have certainly found it in this case.  Evans flawlessly captures the oaf-like nature of the popular character, exuding the panache and brashness necessary for this seemingly larger than life character.  He and Lefou (Josh Gad) play very well off each other throughout the film.  The best part of the film may be their famous song which translated very well to live-action.

Beauty and the Beast

image via Harper’s Bazaar

What I Didn’t Like

Beauty and the Beast is not without its faults, however.  The central relationship of the story between Belle and the Beast feels quite rushed at a certain point in the film.  One second the two are enemies and then all of a sudden they appear to have feelings for each other.  Although it montages through the same progression in the animated classic, it does not translate as well to live-action as the passage of time feels limited to say the least.

The film also starts off a little bumpy with terribly on the nose dialogue.  This is another instance where the film attempted to use the exact same dialogue as the animated feature.  However, these moments could have used a little more subtext as the blunt discussion of marriage and children felt a tad awkward with actual people spouting the lines.

Beauty and the Beast

image via MovieWeb

Conclusion

That being said, Beauty and the Beast has some nice little changes to the iconic story.  This film is a little more than just a straight reboot of the original.  The film adds some new songs that worked naturally with the story, allowing for some new heart to be added.  Beauty and the Beast also adds in a little extra backstory by exploring what happened to Belle’s mother which was never mentioned in the animated film.

Little moments like these added nice touches to the film, making it feel like its own product.  But the main change that has most people buzzing is the announcement that Lefou is a gay character.  It actually plays very naturally into the story while also making sense of the nature of Lefou and his interactions with Gaston.

Beauty and the Beast is a lovely, heartwarming update that continues the Disney live-action hot streak.  It gets an A-.  Make sure to buy your ticket in advance as this movie will certainly break the bank at the box office.

Beauty and the Beast

image via Comicbook.com

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Thanks for reading!  Have you seen Beauty and the Beast?  Comment down below!

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What movie topic should I discuss next?  Whether it be old or new, the choice is up to you!

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Nick Kush

A current college student, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 in order to provide insightful film analysis that is meant to educate and entertain. Nick is also a member of the Internet Film Critics Society.

58 Responses

  1. I love how you’ve explained the premise and the winning points of the movie without giving much away. And yes, I did feel the way their love culminates seems rushed, probably because it was essentially a musical with SOOOOO much to embed in limited time. Also, as much as I loved the visuals and dialogues (and the composition), I wish it were a regular movie and not a musical, so I could savor some silence and not have everything spelled out for me. That said, I am absolutely thrilled by the acting prowess of the leads (Watson and Stevens) just as much as I am bowled over by how seamlessly the other characters have supported the story.

    Once again, great review 🙂

  2. I really liked this review! loved the way you broke the film down into sections. such a great film also!
    could you please comment under my blog about the Lovebox festival review? would be great, thanks.

  3. shahzodav says:

    I really liked this movie, especially the ending and the new songs (I probably know the Beast’s song better than the original ones lol) but I felt like some of the editing/scenes was awkward. Sometimes it just felt stitched and not like a smooth whole. Anyhow, great review!

  4. Dominik says:

    Reblogged this on DPNews.

  5. It’s great to see other people acknowledge the greatness of this film as well. I know there are some problems but I believe that it is due to the fact people wanted a reimagining not a remake.

  6. Saw it tonight- I enjoyed it- Mostly cause I can relate to the Beast☺

  7. We saw the early showing Thursday night, going to see it again today with my daughter and I can’t wait! I thought Disney did an amazing job!!!

  8. Very nice review! Glad to see someone else really enjoyed it! As you saw in my review i agree with most of what you said.

    Thank you for the like and follow! It means a lot.

  9. Good review! And thank you so much for liking my review of “Noble” and following my blog — I gratefully appreciate both!

  10. I’m so relieved to see the A-. Did not read the entire post, but I was hoping this movie would not be a disaster. Will read after I see it

  11. Going to watch it 👌

  12. Interesting review. By how you describe many of the performances, it’s like I watched a different movie than you did. I thought Evans and Watson were dull as mop water, Dan Stevens was uneven, and only Josh Gad does what I would describe as “good”.

    But hey, different strokes.

  13. very nice review

  14. lupa08 says:

    A very succinct review. Really can’t wait to hit the theater next weekend! 😆

  15. Jason says:

    Great review. Finally….someone who likes this movie as much as I did.

  16. After reading this review, I’m definitely going to watch that tale which is as old as time!

  17. Hopefully, I find something I like about this film!

  18. Ally L. Mare says:

    Currently in my country, Disney decided to postponed this movie even after some minor cut.

  19. Mila says:

    Thanks for the reviews!! I was planning to hit the movies this week!!

  20. Excited to see this!

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