Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beauty and the Beast {2017}

Last week, my mom and I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast in theaters. I had no immediate plans to review it here, and as soon as we came out of the theater I remember thinking, "I have so many thoughts about this that there's no way I can express them all." And yet by the time I got home, I'd decided to write a post about the movie. :)

As I mentioned in my last post (a review of the animated film), Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. It came out the year I was born, and I grew up loving it (and obviously I still do). So I was wondering how that would affect my feelings for the live action remake...would I love it no matter what because it's my favorite, or would I be more critical because it has so much to live up to?

I think my bias made me veer into the "more critical" category. The movie was so, so good, but not quite perfect. I felt myself getting nitpicky over a few things. But...I do feel like I'll love this movie more each time I watch it.

Let's start off with the good, okay? Beauty and the Beast was a beautiful film. Between the colors and costumes and sets, it was visually so stunning. And the cast was excellent. Honestly, I can't think of a single character that wasn't a perfect fit. Emma Watson will forever be Hermione to me, but she fit very well as bookish Belle. Dan Stevens (again, forever Matthew Crawley) was wonderful as the Beast. I'm not a fan of over-the-top CGI, especially in these live action Disney films, but I was so impressed with how realistic he looked. It amazes me how they can incorporate Dan Stevens' facial features and expressions into the Beast. Gaston and all of the supporting characters at the castle were lovely as well!

I like what Disney does with the live action adaptations. It's nice how they slightly expand on the historical setting or add some backstory to often vague fairy tales, or how they answer questions. Here they really ran with the 1700s-1800s French setting, with the wigs and clothing and everything. (Matthew Crawley in makeup and a wig: I'll never be able to look at him the same!) And in this movie, they answered the question of why the villagers had forgotten about the Beast, and I loved the little reference to the original Mrs. Potts being elderly and having a young child. (It involved Emma Thompson getting offended when someone refers to her as a grandmother, ha.)

Be Our Guest was one of my favorite scenes. It was gorgeous and hilarious and just perfect! I also really loved the classic title song scene. It made me feel so nostalgic, remembering how it felt to grow up watching that scene in the animated film, and knowing that little girls now will grow up feeling the same way about the live action version. And Belle's dress, oh my goodness. I know this is a controversial opinion, but I loved her dress so much more than Cinderella's. It was beautiful! So was the library. The end fight was appropriately dramatic and tense, though I was a bit disappointed with Gaston for taking the easy way out and just shooting the Beast. I liked how they showed all of the servants at the castle becoming completely inanimate again at the made that part even more heartbreaking than it already was.

Now that I think about it, what I didn't like about this movie comes down to aspects of the music. I didn't like the new songs at all. They might grow on me some eventually, but I think the film would have been basically perfect if they had left out the new songs. One of the best things about Beauty and the Beast is the music: the songs are catchy and funny and they intertwine perfectly. The original songs are so good that the new ones felt cheesy and mediocre, especially lyrically. Also, why did they mess with Emma Watson's voice? So what if she doesn't sing perfectly? Most everyone else's voices sounded genuine and like themselves, but the auto-tuning on her voice in "Belle" made me cringe. I didn't notice it as much in later songs, so maybe that was the main one they altered. Besides that, I also didn't like the scene where the Beast and Belle sort of magically teleported to the place where her mother died. I see what they were trying to do, but it felt random and out of place.

{I know much has been said about Gaston's sidekick LeFou. Honestly, I feel like the whole thing was blown out of proportion. LeFou is obviously a bit feminine in this version, but unless you're specifically looking for this "gay subplot," you're not going to find it.}

I started writing this post the evening after we saw the film, when it was all fresh on my mind and I was feeling a little critical. Even now, just a week later, I'm already feeling more positive looking back at this adaptation. I can't say that it's better than the animated version, but it is really beautifully done, and I'm sure my little issues with it will be forgotten about after a couple more viewings! :)

Have you seen the new Beauty and the Beast? What did you think?


  1. This is such a great review, and I'm dying to see the adaption even more now!

    1. Thanks! I think you'll really enjoy it! :)

  2. I went in with low expectations (Cinderella was so perfect, I don't like star-studded casts that detract from the movie, B&B isn't my fav, plus negative stuff), and so I enjoyed it (mostly subtracting out the bad, which the producer INTENTIONALLY drew hype and attention too which was part of my issue). Emma Watson couldn't truly sing, didn't have a strong voice, so that accounts for the autotune; I was glad her singing was majorly cut down. The rest of the music. Gaston's voice was, wow. I actually enjoyed the Beast's song. My favorite themes are actually the prologue and transformation music which they cut down (they didn't do a good transformation, why did they cut away when his face was changing? I felt it was anti-climactic). I disliked so many story trails (detracted from Belle and the Beast) and the random visit to her past (didn't fit in at ALL and attempted to be too deep for the time and scope of the movie). I'd want to see it again, although I could skip parts. My reaction to Cinderella was, "I want to turn right around and go back into the theatre" and we returned to the theatre a few weeks/months later, bought it when it first came out and have watched it multiple times.

    1. Yes, the visit to her past didn't fit in and felt so awkward. It's interesting that you compare it to Cinderella, because I think my opinions are reversed from yours when it comes to the two. I just watched Cinderella again before seeing Beauty and the Beast, and while I very much enjoy it, I don't think I loved it as much as I did when I first saw it. But with Beauty and the Beast, while critical at first, I feel like I'll love it more.


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