Quick Hit: This “Tale as Old as Time” feels that way in this clunky remake.
Ugh, I’m so disappointed. Since I’m writing these two posts back to back, it’s impossible not to let my feelings for the original tamp my feelings for this one. And you know what – I don’t really care. If you are going to remake a film, you should at least get the spirit of the film right. What’s missing from the film that the original had? Well, the magic of course.
Obviously if you made it this far, you know that I’m referring to the remake of Beauty and the Beast. Luke Evans plays Gaston, Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast (or Prince Adam to his friends), Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Sir Ian McKellan as Cogsworth, Josh Gad as Lefou, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. It’s arguably one of the best ensemble casts of recent vintage, especially when you consider that those playing Maurice, and some of the side characters are extremely recognizable to those that watch a lot of movies (great to see Stanley Tucci, sad to see his part so small).
But somehow, so much of this movie falls flat. I’m going to explain my reasoning why I think so, and I hope I’ll be successful. So join me (ahem, Be My Guest, that is), as I try to explain why this movie went from classic to average so quickly.
Let’s start with Watson. As Belle, she is arguably given the role of a lifetime, and lifetime’s worth of pressure. And while she doesn’t completely collapse (We’re talking about Hermoine Granger here people!), she falters heavily. I was impressed with her singing voice, particularly when she’s standing still. I feel like the movie gives a bit too much overplay to her vocals in the first song, but otherwise she’s spot on. My main problem is that her face seems to only go between extremely happy and stoic. She loses a lot of the emotion. For me to claim that an animated face could show more emotion than a real one is a tough claim, but it’s close here.
That problem also slides into the CGI’d characters. Whereas the hand-drawn animation of the movie paints an actual face onto Cogsworth and Lumiere, here we see… faces… kind of. It’s a tough predicament these animators must have found themselves in, because a face coming out of the wax would have been SUPER creepy, but Lumiere lost so much life by hiding his face in a candelabra. I personally think that of the household characters, the one that was done the best was Cogsworth. The face was still there, and so it made him more believable. Dan Stevens, a very underrated actor at the moment, does what he can beneath layers of CGI, but I wonder what he could have done with the original prostetics mask they had planned.
I’ve touched on the songs, and I will say this to start – the film knows which moments are the show stoppers. While I think that “Tale as Old as Time” was mishandled a bit, “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” were simply fantastic. It shows what you can do when you give a talented voice cast (who knew Luke Evans could sing??) some great material to work with. However, I was not a fan of the original songs that made it into the movie. I don’t need to give Belle a backstory. If anything, it seems extraneous to pad a bloated runtime with filler like this. And while I really liked the idea behind Beast’s solo, and Dan Stevens performed it well, the words weren’t any good. I found myself brought out of the movie by it, when really it should have been a very emotional scene.
Two things that I thought the movie did better than the original. First, Gaston. Luke Evans was perfect, and Josh Gad was magnificent. Anytime the pair is out screen, a smile breaks out on your face. Their pairing is one of the best things about this whole movie. Second, the FEELS that break out with the change of the characters at the end of the movie. That even had me starting to well up, and had the little girl in front of me positively bawling. Way to go Disney – you scarred another.
I’m going to give the perfectly average Beauty and the Beast a “C”.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
Also, what in the blazes is this supposed to be??????
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"