Good morning, everyone, and won’t you be our guest as we talk about a tale as old as time. That’s right, the “tale” in question is the most recent live-action Disney remake, Beauty and the Beast. I remember when the news came around that this film was going to be made. I made a post publicly on my Facebook page about it saying how I didn’t know how they’d do it without the music. Up to this point, the live-action remakes that were originally musicals were now no longer musicals. This time, a producer of the film spoke to me telling me not only will it have all the songs from the cartoon, but it’ll also have additional songs written by the same folks. That was definitely exciting, and this was the most anticipated I have felt towards any of the remakes for a variety of reasons, but we’ll get into that in a second. What was it about?
We all know the story to Beauty and the Beast, right? Bell’s a pretty girl, but more sophisticated than your typical damsel in distress. Which is why when Gaston tries to win her love, she turns him down and starts a romantic relationship with an animal. Sophisticated, indeed. Let’s get real. She takes her father’s place as a prisoner to the beast’s castle. While there, she gets a bit of Stockholm Syndrome and notices the beast isn’t too bad of a guy. Plus, he’s got a bunch of living, breathing, and talking furniture and kitchenware as well. What could go wrong!?
As I mentioned above, this was the most anticipated I’ve felt for a live-action remake from Disney. Why? Well, when it comes right down to it, Beauty and the Beast had one of the best soundtracks out of all of the films, and as strange as it sounds, I believe it is a perfect example of a Disney film that is filled to the brim with “Disney magic”. So much, in fact, that it became extraordinarily iconic and classic in general. I’ve always been pro-remakes in general, but now I understand what other people complain about. If something is that iconic and that memorable, no matter how close they get to the source material, the outcome will always somehow, be sort of…wrong.
I’m not going to sit here and say that I hated the movie because it was so disappointing, but I’m also not going to aimlessly throw love in its direction, either. To tell the truth, I was disappointed, but I also liked the movie just fine. I just didn’t love it. So my apologies, in advance, for having a slightly biased review this time around. I found it nearly impossible not to compare the two movies. I’m usually pretty good at respecting both entities, but this time…it was a little different.
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty and break Beauty and the Beast down, shall we? Rightio.
PEOPLE SCORE – 6/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 0|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
First up is the people category, which is mostly what you’d expect out of the Disney cartoon, minus a few important things. The characters are still as memorable as they need to be to be granted a perfect score, but I’m actually angry at a few visual decisions made in that aspect. Lumiere shouldn’t look like a little golden man! He literally doesn’t look like a candle…at all. The role each of them plays is identical to the cartoon, so everything is fine there, but I didn’t feel the chemistry between Belle and the Beast. I instead found it rushed. I wasn’t really a fan of any of the casting, even though I do like the cast. I just didn’t find any of them right for their roles. Instead, if you go and find out who was initially supposed to be in these roles, those would fit miles better. Finally, the acting was fine, I guess, but nothing truly stood out there.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2
Next up is the writing category, which did get a decent score. Most of the aspects regarding the writing came directly from the cartoon already, which is a masterpiece. The only problem with that is that it’s not original, but it does have a few interesting and original additions going on. There’s good dialogue, as I include the music as part of the film’s dialogue. It is a Disney classic, so it is, of course, balanced. It’s a story with an important story, and it is most obviously interesting.
BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 2
Now, we’re onto behind-the-scenes, which was still pretty good, but it failed in a couple parts. Every great looking shot was based entirely on the cartoon, but nearly all CGI models were things I disagreed with, like Lumiere and Mrs. Potts. Let me try to bring to memory what Mrs. Potts is supposed to look like. Her spout was initially her nose, and she had an actual mouth that opened and closed – everything about Mrs. Potts in this movie was like a drawn-on face on the side of the shiny pot. A moving drawn face, which just didn’t do it for me. Don’t even get me started on the feather duster. The directing was actually really well done, as they had to remake a lot of the same shots of the cartoon in live action as well as create something new as well. The editing, likewise, had to help to do the same thing, and of course, the music is memorable.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
Being based on a classic Disney film, it has a perfect score in the narrative arc score. The introduction had us meeting Belle and introduces us to the curse of the Beast. The inciting incident was when she is held as a prisoner in his castle. The obstacles come down to learning more about the Beast and his magical housemates which she soon considers to be friends. The climax was really strong, as was the falling action, which was actually there.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 5/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 2|Sucks Audience IN – 1
Entertainment value time. I had zero impulses to own this movie, but everything else has scores…but how much is the question. I may rewatch this in the far future, not very soon. I had some fun watching, primarily during the singing sequences, the same goes for when it sucks me in. What’s interesting is that I definitely had a huge urge to talk about it, but not because I loved it. Because I had a lot to say.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Music – 5|Romance – 5|Family/Kids – 10|Disney Live Action – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Now for the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the film. First and foremost, how is the music? Both good and bad in my opinion. The people that were supposed to have really deep animalistic voices actually had high-pitched ones, so I’m sure they had to transcribe the music for them. Same goes for the people that were supposed to have high-pitched voices…they had low. Plus, every time Belle sang, you heard mostly normal singing, and then she’d have a strange moment where the British in her would come out. Just sounded off. More like decent covers. Next up, it’s a romance, so how was that done. As I said earlier, it mostly felt forced and unnatural. It’s a kids movie, how well does it work for families as well? Not too bad, that one’s fine. As far as Disney Live Action remakes go, I’d say this is still pretty high on the list and one of the first I’d mention, but my favorite has been Cinderella. Now, even though I had my own issues with it, I still consider it halfway decent and something you should at least check out.