Review: Beauty and the Beast

Does this tale stand the test of time?
Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time… at least for anyone born within the last quarter century. But is this live action rendition enough to live up to the original that is a cornerstone of our collective childhoods?

This live action remake features the same story that we have all become familiar with: a selfish prince cursed to become a hideous beast until he can find true love, the servants who are turned into household items, and a small-town girl who dreams of a more meaningful life that finds herself a prisoner in the beast’s castle. Although the film remains extremely faithful to the original, there are some modern twists to bring in new audiences. The film features additional backstories for Belle and the Beast, new songs, and of course… a gay LeFou.

For anyone searching to relive the original, this movie will not disappoint. The movie follows the original formula to a fault. Although the creators made some “changes”, I was constantly aware of what the next scene would be and how it would go. All of our favorite songs remain unchanged, the characters remain largely intact, the costumes are strikingly familiar, and the joy and wonder of the original hold steadfast. Emma Watson in particular will make you do a double-take with how much she resembles the animated character. I did enjoy some of the changes, especially seeing Belle and the Beast fall for each other on- screen and some of the backstories, and the additions were small enough that they added to the film without changing the core story or themes. The movie is without a doubt a nostalgic, if not safe, homage to the original. Fans of the Alice in Wonderland remake and Maleficent will be displeased; Beauty and the Beast is not a groundbreaking, new take on an old story. It is nothing new, but that seems to be exactly what Disney was aiming for. Yet it was a fun, lighthearted foray back into a story that showcases the best of what Disney has to offer. This is without a doubt the best live-action Disney “princess” movie and it is a good reference point for future films in this field. Although safe, it was a well-executed and faithful take.

Beauty and the Beast was a delightful experience, but it was also nothing special. What made the film good prevented it from being a standout; it was too safe. Although it pleased me to no end to get to relive a defining childhood story, it also left me wondering: why even bother? I am happy to have seen the movie, but it only made me yearn even more for the original. The whole movie seemed more like an advertisement for the animated version more than a standalone film. I just kept thinking to myself “I really need to re-watch the original!” I do have to warn that I am a major skeptic of the recent de- animating of movies, and aspects of the film only re-affirmed my beliefs. The costumes felt more like a Broadway musical than a real, fully fleshed out world and the CGI only made me crave the freedom that animation brings to a film. In fact, I personally believe that the CGI in this film is not going to stand the test of time. Many of the characters lost their charm, the castle servants in particular, as a consequence of being CGI. The live action film just lacked the same charm that made the original so powerful. The singing was also extremely lackluster, and was one of my greatest disappointments. The music is what made the original, and the audio retouching done to many of the voices made it feel too safe and electronic - which I guess could be said about the film as a whole.

This rendition of Beauty and the Beast will not fully capture the magic of the original, but I am sure it will satisfy. It is fun, lighthearted, and is a wonderful homage to the brilliant 1991 version. But be warned, watching Beauty and the Beast only made me long for the original that much more. It was an enjoyable experience, but when I feel the urge for some “Belle” or “Be Our Guest”, I predict I’ll be dusting off the VHS player long before I give this version another watch.

3 out of 5

What would I have changed? (Spoilers)
Click here to read what I would Change
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Johnny Johnny (Contributor) was born and raised in San Diego. He's been a fan of films the majority of his life. He enjoys the feeling it invokes and the power it has to take you go another place. 

50 comments:

  1. I can't wait to see this one! It has always been my favorite Disney movie! Glad to hear they did it justice!

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  2. Interesting re: what you say about the original here - I haven't watched it in many years, and found myself wanting to watch it again (does Netflix have it?). That being said, I really loved this new version too, though I agree it was a "safer" revamp than other Disney ones have been.

    I actually got rid of all my Disney VHS's too :) oh well ... will find it on DVD somewhere.

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  3. I went with my daughter and my daughter is very hard to please when it comes to movie. But Beauty and the Beast she love. It was magical and the little changes made it worth watching. A little change won't hurt anyone. If anything it made it awesome to watch. We enjoy it.

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  4. I have seen it twice now, and I really enjoy it. It's a great version. The music is beautiful, too.

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  5. Elizabeth Valadez OaxacaMarch 17, 2017 at 4:10 PM

    I really enjoyed the movie it was better than the animated version I would have to say Disney has done it again.

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  6. onceaphillygirlalwaysaphillygiMarch 17, 2017 at 4:48 PM

    Just simply loved it. I like the various versions of the theme song.

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  7. Connie Ballarta SilvaMarch 17, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    I really want to see it

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  8. Yes! I agree, I wanted to rewatch the original as well. Sadly it does not! But I'm sure you could rent it!

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  9. The magic in this film will definitely get all the kids into the theater and excited! Plus it will probably get them to watch the original!

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  10. Lucky you! I definitely want to see it again. I'm sure I missed a couple of things the first time!

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  11. I agree! There on a winning streak lately. Hopefully they keep it up with all there new remakes to come!

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  12. Can't wait to see this... original was one of my all time favorites!

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  13. I really want to see this movie

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  14. Loved this movie. great family movie.

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  15. Anastasia AguilarMarch 19, 2017 at 2:06 PM

    Absolutely enjoyed it

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  16. i have not seen it, i was never a beauty and the beast fan, i love the costumes and designs. however, there has been some controversy abt this movie. i am sure kids will love it though.

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  17. Really liked the movie.

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  18. I was pleasantly surprised how this Disney movie captured my interest from the beginning to the end. Thank-You Disney people for creating another awesome masterpiece film. IMO I thought the 3D effect was superb and really enhanced the magical moments quite well.

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  19. My nephew and I loved the movie; yes it was not the animated film but real life is nothing like animation. I thought the CGI was amazing. I liked the subtle changes in the movie, we loved the news songs as well, my nephew did not think Lefor was Gay. Why do adults pick apart a kids movie? It was not made for you. The big kid in my got lost in the realism that made it seem like somewhere in a magical kingdom this could be happening. I did not compare it to the animated version; it is not an animated movie, why do that? I felt like it was brand new even though I knew the story. I kept waiting to see what was going to happen next and what it was going to look like.

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  20. Good review. I didn't care for Watson as Belle. The auto-tune was too obvious. And some of the accents mad enough the other voice actors unrecognizable.

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  21. This is the best movie by Disney I have seen in a while. Emma Watson played the perfect Belle. Dan Stevens was amazing as the Beast. Josh Gad played LeFou well. But I think LeFou is just infatuated with Gaston and not a gay character. LeFou is definitely a "Disney gay character" though.

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  22. There seemed to be a wide range of accents. It was very interesting for being in French town.

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  23. If you end up seeing it I'm sure you will truly appreciate the costumes. When Belle walks out in her classic gold/yellow gown it is amazing.

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  24. I agree! I did not care for the Cinderella remake, and although I enjoyed The Jungle Book I enjoyed this modern twist! I am glad you liked the film!

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  25. Loved this disney classic remake! I was afraid how they were going to portray the beast and bell but it was magical perfect!

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  26. I saw it at the NYC screening and enjoyed this live action remake of the Disney classic. The actors were very unbelievable in their respective characters although l thought Leroy was a bit over the top....

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  27. I agree that this version also had me thinking about watching the original, however, that's where our views of this film begin to peel away.
    Emma Watson was a beaming Belle, full of pride to play the part and it showed in every scene. It reminded me of classics like Fiddler on the Roof and the Wizard of Oz. The biggest disappointment for me were the servants, I wished for Angela Lansbury in the last scene... that would have absolutely MADE the movie for me!

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  28. Can't wait to see it,

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  29. I have only heard great things about this remake. I can't wait to see it.

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  30. I wasn't disappointed in the least - the sets/costumes were great!

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  31. I cant wait to see this with my Daughter,I know nothing can beat the original Beauty and the Beast but this does sound pretty good.

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  32. It was great, but I still liked the original better.

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  33. Looking forward to seeing this but as an homage to the original mostly...

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  34. I missed the screening of this movie . but still going to see it.

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  35. i really loved it

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  36. Daughter really loved the movie.

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  37. Jorge Acevedo Jr.March 23, 2017 at 5:59 PM

    Movie was good, nothing special thought the CGI was one of Disney's worst considering what they did with the jungle book

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  38. I enjoyed it. But the only thing I would change is the running time. 2hrs 10 was too long, even for kids.

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  39. Looking forward to seeing it!

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  40. Thomas BillingsleyMarch 24, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    The special affects was fantastic. Good sound track.

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  41. Can't wait to see it. It looks amazing!

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  42. It wasn't perfect, but I believe it did the tale justice. I thoroughly enjoyed this rendition and it kept both my husband and 3 sons engaged. That's the best endorsement for any movie I could give :)

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  43. I can't wait to see this movie! It looks amazing!!!

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  44. Cheriese Brown StewartMarch 24, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    I have always loved Disney movies since I was a child. They did justice to this movie.

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  45. Can't wait to be able to see this!!

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  46. I loved this Disney movie very much. It was great!

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  47. This movie was absolutely amazing. A must see for Disney fans and family.

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  48. It was awesome, especially in 4D

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