‘Beauty and the Beast‘ lacks the charm of the original, but strong performances from the actors are able to carry the film through it’s many faults. Click through to read my full review
‘Beauty and the Beast‘ is a remake of the of the 1991 classic of the same name. The movie centers around Belle (Emma Watson) trying to find “more than this provincial life” in her little town. She is constantly hounded for being different than everyone else and always having to push off the affections of Gaston (Luke Evans). Her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), goes off to get goods from another town and ends up being taken prisoner by the Beast (Dan Stevens). Belle goes to rescue her father and takes his place as prisoner of the Beast. While she is the prisoner of the Beast, Lumierre (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) all work together to try and get Belle and the Beast to fall in love to break the spell that they are under and make everyone human again. The classic tale of “it’s what is on the inside that counts” is what ensues along with many of the classic songs that everyone knows.
I will touch on the good parts first before jumping into what I didn’t like about it. Luke Evan and Josh Gad, who played Lefou, absolutely stole the show! Every scene they were in I was 100% into the movie with a smile on my face. Gad played Lefou in his own way to make the character really stand out from the original. Evans took me by complete surprise because I had no idea that dude had as much charm and charisma as he shows in this role. But, the whole cast was very committed and did a pretty good job in their respective roles. And all of the songs, the old and the new, are all performed very well by the whole cast with “Be Our Guest” being a stand out.
Now, the original is almost a perfect movie which went on to earn itself an Oscar nomination for Best Picture that year. Plus, the movie has a run time of a brisk 84 minutes. This remake moves at a slow 130 minutes. The love story between the title characters doesn’t even start until after the 60 minute mark. The filmmakers did try to step away from the original by giving more screen time to certain characters and hints of backstory with others, but it didn’t make the movie any better. Which is mainly because the core story itself is so good. Kevin Kline was fantastic as Maurice, but I don’t want to know more about Maurice. I want to know about the people that this story revolves around which is Belle and Beast. The extra things that were added don’t improve the story or give us a different perspective on any of the characters or the story itself. Which took away a lot of the charm that the original has. I think the idea was in the right place, but executed in the wrong areas.
And the CGI took me out of the movie too many times to remember. The Beast looked fantastic in certain scenes, but looked like a cartoon in others. And some of the other characters in the castle have the same CGI problem, as well. In fact, almost all the scenes inside the castle just felt fake. The ‘Cinderella‘ remake had it’s problems, but where it soared was in the production design and the costumes. It really put me in the world. But, outside of the town scenes in this movie, I just didn’t believe anything that I was seeing. Plus, the cinematography was another thing that really upset me. Everyone knows in the classic film the massive sweeping shots and beautiful movements during the dance between Belle and the Beast. In the same scene in this one, I feel like I barely saw them actually dancing. I saw a lot of shots of them from the waist up and only a few where we actually get to see the complete picture. Which is kind of how it is throughout the whole movie. Almost as if you’re not seeing everything that you’re supposed to.
However, since the movie still does stay with the original core story it is pretty difficult to dislike. The movie stays light and funny and never deters too far from what made the original a classic. Was it necessary? Absolutely not. But, the strong performances from the cast will be enough to keep you and the kids happy. But, you should still show the kids the original.
‘Beauty and the Beast‘ was directed by Bill Condon and is now in theaters