I saw the live-action rendition of Beauty and the Beast this last Wednesday 22, 2017. I went in with little knowledge on the production for this film, so to say that I went in undermining the whole experience, would be an incredibly vast understatement. The whole film was nostalgic from the moment it began to the very ending act. Of course, with the added scenes from both the source material (and from new concepts incorporated into the film), this also added a more wholesome and completed version of the rendition.
It was so simply done, yet the magic of the film felt incredibly real. The musical numbers were astounding in there effect and it often times left the viewer completely in awe with all of the spectacularly dazzling scenes and eye-catching moments. In particular, my favorite numbers were “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston”. It was such a wind-swept journey, that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing this film.
Now, to weigh-in both the amazing pros, and the still evident cons, I will give a fair and balanced review since it’s been a couple of days since the high of this film has worn off and allowed me to see it for the entirety of its production.
To begin, Beauty and the Beast did a fantastic job of being a contemporary piece, in terms of how life was like in 18th century France. Parts of Beauty and the Beast felt almost reminiscent to the 2012 rendition of Les Misérable. Not to mention both stories take place in different parts of France. Another aspect of the film they did wonderfully was the fact that most of the actors and actresses (minus Belle) were theatrically inclined. It felt like a true harkening back of the play version of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (starting in 1993). Possibly one of the best qualities to the movie was its astoundingly clear soundtrack over the voice-overs of the actor’s singing. At times, I truly fell into the movie realm of Beauty and the Beast, forgetting momentarily that I was even watching a motion picture. Overall, the casting (for the most part) felt incredibly perfect (even if perfect doesn’t exist).
Now to address the cons of this movie. The cons are actually few and far in-between, but they are there nevertheless. Like everything else in life, no work of art is ever without imperfections. The reason why this is – is because every single person in the world interprets the same thing completely differently, even on a small scale.
The first con is that Emma Watson was cast for the main role. Now I know what some of you are thinking as you read this: But it’s for marketing purposes, Emma Watson has an image that can appeal to the mainstream public. My gripe with this line of thinking is two-fold. The first layer, is that you are saying that the source material itself, Beauty and the Beast, and all of the history that goes along with it, wouldn’t be enough for people to go see it. Don’t forget, in this day-in-age where social media exists and the spread of news by word-of-mouth moves quickly through social spheres; this movie would have been a massive success from the start.
Not to mention the fact that this film was produced by Disney, it should be a no-brainer that this movie would have been a hit. The only purpose Disney had for adding Emma Watson in the lead role, was because they wanted to break whatever record needed breaking for the box office. So in a sense, like everything else it seems in life, this was solely for money purposes. It’s a shame because creativity almost every single time, takes a back seat in our modern culture.
The second problem is that they incorporated a “gay” theme in this movie, where it really didn’t need to be added. I have a gay older brother, and he was slightly confused by that one particular part in the movie. I’m a supporter of LGBTQ people, but that’s why we create new stories, so that that new and original material can be honored. We should not change Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s work just for the sake of mainstream society in modern times.
My brother actually made me realize (after the movie was over) the slight issue of this scene. In a way, I would have overlooked this otherwise “Hollywood-esque” move made by mainstream Hollywood. But he said in a way, it felt like Disney altered the source material just to bow-down to mainstream society. Being that Disney is one of the 5 major economic giants who run our economy, you would think they would have realized they have the power to honor such work.
It was as if Disney merely added-in new material for the sake of saving facing, not for honoring the original work created by Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.
A woman who had written this successful story (Beauty and the Beast) in her time period in 18th century France, Villeneuve did the utterly and nearly impossible. Her story was quickly shared throughout the world and was critically acclaimed and adapted into theatrical plays as well. In a time when women were truly oppressed in a society that had seen it better for woman to just remain silent and be good housewives and mothers.
In all though, the live-action movie adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was spectacular and breathtaking in its execution. There were raw emotions stirred from within, moments of laughter, moments of happiness, of sorrow, and of tears. Through all of the good (and there was a lot of good) and of the bad, this movie earns a 10 out of 10 stars from me.
It was that good, to the point where I felt overwhelmed with deep emotions long forgotten.
Such magic is rare to find in movies, and especially where money is concerned. I’m shocked this movie came out to be as good as it did in the end. The only other thing I can say to end this review off on a good note is this: don’t allow anyone to tell you anything is impossible, for you can create stories, inventions, and history by speaking up and standing firmly for what you believe it.
Forever in Your Debt,