Disney Studios continues to churn out remake after remake of their classic animated features and Beauty and the Beast is the latest of these remakes. But the live feature has a lot to live up to, especially since it is a remake of the classic Best Picture nominated film. Although the film is beautiful and well told, it doesn’t live up to the Best Picture status of the original film.
Release Date: March 17, 2017
Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewen McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald
Based directly on the 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast is the story of a prince (Dan Stevens), who is transformed into a beast because he was selfish and showed no mercy or love to an old beggar woman. The prince and his servants live in a forgotten castle under a curse. The prince/beast must learn love and be loved by Belle (Emma Watson). Belle lives in a nearby village as an outcast because of her beauty and intellect. She is shunned when trying to teach the local girls to read. It is her beauty, though, that has captured the attention of village hero, Gaston (Luke Evans) and his companion LaFou (Josh Gad). Gaston is looking for a bride to grow him and family of good-looking boys. If you’ve seen the original millions of times, you know the rest.
Let’s just say it. Beauty and the Beast captures the beauty and spirit of the original movie. All the songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are left intact. The story is relatively the same and what makes this version better than the original is that this film hits all the emotional moments perfectly. Director Bill Condon somehow manages to make you believe a beast and a beauty can fall in love. It is this one thing, that make Beauty and the Beast worth watching over and over and over again.
In theory, the live action version of an animated feature that was nominated for Best Picture, should be better than the original. Further, this new movie should be Best Picture worthy. As wonderful as the new Beauty and the Beast is, it will likely fail In its quest for Best Picture. Any failed attempt at greatness does not necessarily mean a movie is bad, but remaking he greatness of the animated classic is almost a fool’s errand.
Elaborate set pieces, enhanced CGI effects and filling in plots holes does not mean you are making a better film. It just means your adding more details and sometimes added details means you are adding noise. Let us discuss the differences.
Elaborate Details and Noise. Gone are the clean lines of animation. Here are the intricate designs of million dollar artists and production designers. This great visual noise. Although beautiful it pulls away from the action you should be focusing on. Lumiere and Cogsworth are a real candelabra and clock standing only 10 inches tall. Objects this small blend with a detailed background. During the Be Our Guest sequence, the simple lines of dancing plates and utensils is lost with realistic plates and utensils against an artistic walled background and set pieces.
New Songs. Beauty and the Beast utilizes all of the songs from the original and none from the Broadway musical. Several new songs are added to balance the film. Most are forgettable, but the Beast’s “Evermore” is Oscar-worthy.
That’s enough complaining. Although it really should serve as warning to any studio, who thinks they need to remake classics. Did this film need to be made? Not necessarily, but it was and its fantastic.