Disney’s live action remake train chugs on, this time with Beauty and the Beast, a movie which has been lauded as one of the finest animated films of all time. Because we have literally seen this movie before, let’s dispense with much of the plot summary and hit the highlights.
Belle, a girl with an inventive mind and a taste for fine literature, takes the place of her father as the prisoner of a fearsome Beast. The Beast, who is really a prince who was served the just deserts of his decadence and cold-heartedness, is mean and rude to Belle, but she puts up with none of his nonsense. Slowly, the Beast changes his ways in an attempt to win Belle’s heart, but trouble comes in the form of Gaston, a boorish war-hero (what war, we’re not sure) who wants to marry Belle for the simple reason that she’s pretty. It’s a classic tale of romance, redemption, and comedy that has rightfully become beloved by generations.
Beauty and the Beast is a fine movie (though I still think the cartoon version is a lot better) extolling the power of love, friendship, and the ability to see beyond what a person looks like to who they really are. The new songs introduced in the film are OK, if a bit of a departure from the original as far as tone, but made for a nice update.
Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering about that whole LeFou controversy thing. Let me tell you that it was a mountain from a molehill. The “exclusively gay moment” much trumpeted and panicked about was no more than a gag that goes at least as far back as vaudeville. Milton Berle was doing the same thing in the late 40s on TV. Much ado about less than nothing.
Other factors include some violence, such Gaston shooting the Beast several times in the back, (without reloading. Is that a sub-machine flintlock pistol?) and leaving Belle’s dad tied up in wolf infested woods in an attempt to get him to give Belle to him (obviously he didn’t think that through). Most of the other violence is slap-sticky in keeping with the original. There is also some minor swearing, and mediocre singing on behalf of Emma Watson.
Yeah, the CGI Beast was good, but he would’ve been better as practical effects. A lot of the other characters are somewhat ill-designed. Lumiere is basically a tiny brass man with fire for hands; frankly, not very creative.
The dialogue wasn’t as pithy as the original, either. They could’ve given Cogsworth and Lumiere more lines, but instead they decided to waste their time on lengthening Gaston’s musical number and developing LeFou of all things!
In all, the live action remake of the 1991 classic was… meh. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again when there are other adaptations that are much more creative.
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