I’ve only ever seen Disney’s 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast once – my friends gifted me VCD copies (ah, remember VCDs?) of their animated movies for my eighteenth (or nineteenth?) birthday because they were pitied me for not having watched any of the Disney cartoons when I was growing up. I did, however, read the storybook and I did have the chance to watch the 1946 French original (La Belle et la Bete) so I am somewhat familiar with the story. Given how much hype they’ve put into the 2017 adaptation, it seemed almost silly to try and resist watching it.
Here’s my roundup of Bill Condon’s (Dreamgirls – 2006) Beauty and the Beast (2017).
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Beauty and the Beast (2017)" data-orig-size="1024,1503" sizes="(max-width: 409px) 100vw, 409px" aperture="aperture" />The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Please note that there may be spoilers. Read at your own risk.
A tale as old as time.
- Alan Menken is a freakin’ genius. Seriously. A. Frakkin’. Genius. I wonder what it’s like inside his head? For him to hear and create songs as…emotionally catchy as all of these Disney hits.
- The musical set pieces were hair-raising. Obviously Disney execs threw money into this movie and the fact especially showed during the musical numbers. They were grand and seamless in the sense that there was none of that weird post-number awkwardness that musicals sometimes have in between songs. It’s truly been a long time since I’ve seen a movie musical that had me grinning (the last one was Moulin Rouge!).
Be Our Guest in Beauty and the Beast (2017)" data-orig-size="2542,1024" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" aperture="aperture" />Be Our Guest had me grinning from ear to ear.
- The whole cast was just wow. That they got Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad and many, many, many other incredible actors to be part of this movie’ is still mind-boggling to me. Even more mind-boggling? They pretty much gave everybody ample screen time.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) Cast" data-orig-size="1024,1024" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" aperture="aperture" />
- That they filled in the gaps in the story. It’s not a straight adaptation in the sense that they just filmed a live action version scene by scene; they did try to make it a little bit different by adding a few key things that weren’t in the original. LeFou having a conscience, LeFou’s sexuality, Maurice wasn’t just a kooky inventor, Belle’s mother and the Prince’s childhood were awesome little back stories that brings me to –
Belle’s childhood home in Beauty and the Beast (2017)" data-orig-size="1847,1024" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" aperture="aperture" />this was a good touch. unnecessary in the grand scheme of the story, but a good touch just the same.
- The characters feel more rounded somehow. Almost all of the characters feel real and not two-dimensional but somehow Emma Watson’s Belle jumped out at me. I read in the movie’s trivia page that Emma Watson had been very involved in fleshing out her character and even brought in a screenwriter she’s previously worked with to work on the script. Could it be that she’s one of the few rare actors who can actually has enough taste and restraint to improve a script?
Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast (2017)" data-orig-size="2560,1024" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" aperture="aperture" />
- Ewan McGregor’s accent really was more Mexican though. It was a mistake watching this interview (what was he doing in Stephen Cobert’s show anyway???) before I sat down to see the movie because I could not, not, hear anything other than a Mexican accent.
Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast (2017)" data-orig-size="2551,1024" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" aperture="aperture" />Amigo Lumiere.
- Evermore. It’s the only song number in the movie that I saw the people in the cinema actually check their phones. It’s a good song but I suppose it’s a bit redundant because the Beast’s plight had pretty much been covered by the narrative.
- Emma Watson’s singing voice probably was the weakest of the bunch. Not her fault though, because that’s an intimidating cast right there.
- I would have liked to see more of Stanley Tucci. I don’t know how the story could’ve worked with more of him in it but more Stanley Tucci is always a good thing.
All in all, I pretty much loved Condon’s Beauty and the Beast (2017). I can’t believe that this really, really, really good movie was directed by the same man who directed the last two movies of the Twilight series. Performances were about as exceptional as you can expect from a cast of this caliber and their singing voices were pretty top-notch as well. I can imagine a few critics not liking it because it was too similar to the animated version but personally I feel that this version had made enough tweaks to the story to make it entirely their own. I wish that Cinderella (2015) had been this good.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*All photos are lifted from the film’s IMDB page.