Beauty and the Beast Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Beastly

After over a year of waiting, the live-action Beauty and the Beast has been released! The anticipation has been boiling for every inner Disney princess and 90’s kid. But was all the hype worth it? It has been topping the box office since its release and quickly become a fan-favorite despite that not all critics are in agreement. As someone who has seen the movie, keeping all this in mind, here is my take on what worked and what didn’t.

The Cast

The all-star cast was something audiences were looking forward to seeing and it did not disappoint. Some, however, stood out more than others. Josh Gad’s Lefou had some high expectations due to just how perfect he seemed for the role and he completely owned it. While Emma Watson as Belle was one of the most anticipated performances, she turned out to be the least impressive. She may have been the actress best suited to play the bookworm princess, but as a whole, the performance was underwhelming. The actor who stole the show, however, was Luke Evans’ persistent and cocky Gaston. Playing the antagonist is nothing new to him, but his portrayal of this classic Disney villain is surely something to be remembered.

The New Scenes

This version of the film is 2 hours and 9 minutes long, meaning there is a lot more content than there was during the 1991 original. And the time is well spent. A lot of missing information and questions you may have had about the first film are answered. While I will not spoil anything in detail, just know that information regarding Belle’s absent mother and the Beast’s childhood come into light. This provides audiences with a fulfilling story while still capturing all the magic that made you fall in love with the in film in the first place. Other new scenes include a conversation between Gaston and Maurice regarding Belle’s hand in marriage and a lot more interaction between Belle and the Beast. 

The Songs 

Yes, the songs you have learned the lyrics to are in this adaptation. But while filmmakers changed the story, music producers didn’t hesitate to change the soundtrack as well. (Keep in mind that the music also changes between the original film and the Broadway version released 3 years later) Since there is an entirely new cast, new voices are given to the songs. In addition, there were 3 new songs written for the movie. All this works positively for the film since it adds more character to those that perform it and strengthens the storyline.

The Effects

While I feel that I am very under qualified to talk about this, as a movie-goer, I really enjoyed the film’s visual effects. They worked best, though, for the characters as opposed to the set as a whole. A lot of the enchanted characters benefitted from this which is good, bringing the inanimate objects to life in a live-action film is not frequently seen. The Beast in particular was amazing. In terms of shots of the castle, both interior and exterior, the effects worked a little too well at capturing an accurate realness to the setting. Despite that it’s supposed to be a cursed, isolated castle, it looked far too beautiful to be believable. 

 

Note: I did watch the film in 2D even though it was available in 3D. That may have made a difference in how I viewed the visual effects.

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3