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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Why remake a perfect movie? That question didn’t seem to haunt Disney’s executives as they greenlit a slew of live-action remakes from their animated library. Some of these new films have brought new life and quality into the material like The Jungle Book or Cinderella, but others have fallen flat as a desperate grab for money. The newest iteration of Beauty and the Beast is an updated view of the 1991 animated classic, with much less magic than the original.

Beauty and the Beast is a nearly direct adaptation from the original, almost shot for shot. There are a few new songs, that never really standout and some additional scenes that provide backstory and tie up loose ends. While this may be a noble effort to try and refresh the story for the audience, it actually ends up dragging the film down. Sometimes a vague backstory has more of an effect on the audience, than a fully detailed history; unfortunately the screenwriters couldn’t help themselves and we’re spoon-fed the root of every emotion the characters feel.

Given this was a big-budgeted production, it was able to attract a stellar cast with Emma Watson playing Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, as well as the likes of Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad in supporting roles. But I have to say that the performer I was most excited to see here was the most disappointing.

I’m a big Harry Potter fan and thus I am a huge admirer of Emma Watson; however, I felt like she struggled so much in the role of Belle. A big problem was her singing, which was very clearly auto-tuned, thus you can see that Watson’s confidence throughout the whole film is extremely fragile. This causes her non-musical performance to appear incredibly shy and repressed. Being the titular character in a fantasy musical you have the chance to be extravagant and wild, but instead we were left with a fairly flat performance.

But all was not so bad. The film does manage to capture some of the feeling of the original, and it’s hard to mess up the incredible music. The large budget certainly allowed for a spectacular set and effects to be splashed onto our screen; but I do feel that it was maybe a bit overdone. The village was almost too incredible, especially if we’re talking about France in the 18th century.

But either way, this Beauty and the Beast still manages to charm you, even if it does leave you a bit infuriated, since there really was no need to remake the perfect 1991 version. The one sure feeling the audience will be left with, however, is the desire to go home and re-watch the original.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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