Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Musical | Drama
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson and Dan Stevens
How I Watched: Theatres
Review by Holly Hill
A tale as old as 1991. You may have not stopped hearing about how much money Beauty and the Beast made this weekend. How much, you ask? $174.8 Million. No big deal. The Disney machine cannot be stopped. The conversion of all of Disney’s classic cartoons into live action films will soon be complete and there’s not much we can do to stop it. It’s not a new thing. You’ll remember all those Snow White remakes, and Maleficent interpretations. Once Upon a Time, that shitty tv show everyone forgot about, has somehow managed to butcher all the classics for six seasons and no one is really complaining about it except me it seems. So what’s the deal? Are these remakes a bad thing? Yes and no.
The good news? The remakes that Disney has come out with in the last three years are actually really good. The Jungle Book came out earlier in the year and gave us a really good peak at what The Lion King is going to look like and I approve. Cinderella was fantastic, although missing some of the great songs the cartoon had. They’re now casting for Aladdin, and Mulan is also in the works.
So what’s the bad news? Well, it depends on what kind of movies you like to see and how you feel about Disney, singing, and remakes.
You’ll love this film if you can answer yes to the following questions:
- Do you love Disney?
- Do you constantly find yourself wanting to throw money at anything Disney’s name is on?
- Do you want to hear all the same songs from the cartoon movie?
- Do you want to hear new songs that aren’t in the original cartoon movies?
- Do you want lines from the cartoon movie repeated back to you almost verbatim?
- Do you want blocking that’s almost move for move what it is in the cartoon?
- Did you ever ask yourself what happened to Belle’s Mom?
- Did you ever wonder what happened to Mr. Potts?
- Did you ever ask yourself, is LeFou gay for Gaston or was I just picking up weird vibes in that cartoon movie?
- Do you worship Emma Watson?
If you answered yes to these questions then this movie is for YOU! That’s great! This movie is for me too. I loved it, but I completely understand why some people wouldn’t.
It does feel like Disney is really pushing it here with all these live action remakes but when the results are $174.8 million more in the bank, who can blame them?
Emma Watson gives us her feminist perspective of Belle which we all knew was there in the cartoon movie, but with her convincing and wonderful acting, we see a Belle full of action and bravery. She joins the fight with Gaston and the Beast at the end. She constantly stands up for literacy in her village. Belle invents a washing machine so she has more time to read. She tricks her father into taking his life sentence. She manufactures a rope to climb out of the castle and escape. Most importantly, she takes a giant snowball to the face and doesn’t give any fucks about it. She’s wonderful.
The rest of the cast is just as good. Josh Gad, voice of Olaf in Frozen, plays LeFou. He’s taken ridiculous criticism from hard line Christians all week long about how LeFou is too gay in the movie. Um, have you not seen the cartoon? He literally waltzes with Gaston and eye fucks him everytime he walks by. I’m confused as to why this is suddenly now a problem, and wasn’t in 1991.
Luke Evans plays a great well rounded Gaston. He starts as a comical joke but soon turns super dark. At one point he punches Maurice in the face, then ties him to a tree for wolves to eat him alive. No big deal.
If you’re a Dan Stevens fan you will not be disappointed. You may remember him from his days at Downton Abbey as Matthew Crawley. He also is on the incredible FX show Legion where his acting really shines. His face is only in the movie in the beginning and end, but you can really see his facial recognition in The Beast. His standard side smile, the shrug of his shoulders. It’s all Dan Stevens even as a seven foot tall hairy Beast.
There’s a few new things to this movie, songs, small holes of plot filled that the cartoon created. The film plays on provincial France as the background of the cartoon and really outdoes themselves with the costumes and what French royalty would have been like at the time. It’s truly a visual delight.
Overall though, the movie is the same as the cartoon, which is honestly what people wanted. They proved it by throwing their money at it all weekend long. Maybe we need to start coming to terms that we as a society just want to eat the member berries for the rest of our lives. I for one think they’re delicious.