Beauty and the Beast Review
Director: Bill Condon
I had to leave this review for a little while after watching, purely to digest, trying to be careful to not get caught up in the hype as I kept seeing positive review tags from fellow bloggers both before and after watching this film.
This seems to be a new avenue, a growing trend for Disney recreating their animated classics into live action spectacles, last year's Pete's Dragon and The Jungle Book as prime examples setting the standard of what they can achieve. I would like to think most of us have good faith in Disney's ability of giving us stunning masterpieces that has played major companions to many of our childhoods.
The Disney original was based on the French, 18th century, titular tale firstly written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve to then be rewritten and published by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and has had many different visual versions adapted for both small and big screen, but it could be very safe to say the Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast being the most popular and widely recognised, you could almost be forgiven for thinking it was created by Disney as GSBdV & JMPB are never credited as authors.
The original Disney animated film was an amazing spectacle becoming a Disney favourite immediately among audiences, the hilarious ornaments, that ballroom dance, the story and of course the instantly recognisable soundtrack. When first hearing the news of this live action version I was quite perplexed, then more so when hearing Emma Watson was playing Belle.
Watson was actually better than expected but not the Batfleck kind of better surprise. I don't know if I keep seeing Hermonie that puts me off or just simply the notion I don't find her fitting for the role. And not just visually, closing my eyes to listen to her voice; even with animated Belle's Paige O'Hara's blessing Watson doesn't quite cut it for me, however she really does give the songs justice. It's interesting to know that Watson turned down the role of Mia in La La Land to play Belle, I still think Emmy Rossum would have been better suited for the role.
Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens takes to role of the Beast and whilst being a good adaptation of the animated Beast, he is still mostly animated with the use of CGI that isn't entirely believable. I don't find him a big enough name, which I think was a good decision, the Beast didn't need to be played by an equally big name opposite Watson, but he does good opposite Watson creating a good balance.
I found Luke Evans and Josh Gad to be the only two that fitted perfectly into their roles. Evans brings Gaston to life superbly and Gad eagerly following in his bootsteps. The voices of the ornamentals were good as expected, being the bigger names of the casting. Though it took awhile to stop hearing Gandalf, and was very impressed with McGregor's French accent which he reportedly really struggled with. It has to be said, the two of them reminded me very much of the Return To Oz, especially Cogsworth being comparable to Tik-Tok.
The production as a whole does well to capture the essence of the original, setting the scene perfectly, replicating the character of the locations brilliantly but it was some of the shots that was a let down where the tracking cameras are noticeably shaky, which was really surprisingly and makes me assume scenes were rushed. However the conclusions of though scenes do make up for the flaws to astonishing effect.
The same maestros return to rekindle the songs that made the animated version so magical. Tweaking them ever so slightly and bravely putting a few extra numbers that completes this film. I suppose it would be too easy to just click refresh on the previous soundtrack. But it's probably the most iconic element of the animated film, as with The Jungle Book, it's a grand dedication to it's source.
I have to remind myself it's for the grown up princes and princesses in us all whilst still being captivating for the younger audiences. And if I hadn't ever seen the '91 animated film I would have obviously liked it more so I'm trying my best to look at this objectively. I didn't enjoy it as much as I should or than anyone watching Beast for the first time, but I didn't expect to. It is, however, a far superior live action adaptation than Jungle Book and Pete's Dragon.
So, what's next for Disney? Are we going to see Aladdin and The Lion King getting the live action make over? Both my favourites and films I would actually be curious to see in the new modern format. What Disney animation would you like to see developed next, if any? [EDIT: Just read that The Lion King is already in development with Jon Favreau at the helm with Donald Glover and of course, James Earl Jones voicing.]
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for the visuals, Luke Evans and McGregor's accent.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Hmm, not on my priority list.
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