Watched Beauty and the Beast last night. I cannot for the life of me fathom what the hype was all about. A few things about the movie stood out:
- Whatever good about the movie rested on the shoulders of a few good actors. Gaston and Le Fou's characters in particular carried the movie past all the wooden bits created by other roles.
- Belle's role was terribly done unfortunately. I just couldn't get past the poor acting that has plagued Emma Watson's roles since Harry Potter. I'm not going to be kind here. Emma Watson is an amazing individual probably, but her acting was and continues to be overdone or stiff with no in betweens.
- The graphics were nice and all of that, but the movie felt like it was constantly trying to rely on this spectacle of bringing the lovable characters from hand drawn film to live action. It didn't help again that any acting around these characters was terribly stiff.
Overall the movie played it safe and by the numbers. Visual spectacle, popular actors/actresses, no major deviations from the main plot save for some diversity checks thrown in. The result?
Mediocre. A classic 5/10 with a pat on the head. Nice effort Hollywood, but go invest in something more adventurous please. The original film of Beauty and the Beast is still a groundbreaking story that broke trope after trope at that time. The live action film does nothing to build on top of it. It's lackluster performances make it obvious as to what this really was: a money minting admission that creativity is dead.
Thought exercise for me. What would a modern Beauty and the Beast look like? Given that it already broke popular damsel in distress tropes at the time, how could one further "grow" the story up. I'm not sure that's possible but it'll probably involve taking a scalpel to the original film. Which should be fun. The only thing I can think of, is leaving all the characters dead and gone. A sobering reminder that no matter what your change of heart, you can be too little too late. Not all tales must have a happy ending.
I'll end this with my favourite thing to watch with modern films. Behind the scenes
Edit: No longer review is needed. This one from The Verge captures a lot of my feelings about wasted opportunity pretty well. From the review (Emphasis mine):
It’s (Condon's remake) largely a frustrating clone of the original movie — same songs, same script, often even the exact same shot choices — but it replaces every moment of authentic or moving emotion with bombast and hyperbolic overemphasis. It slows down the flow of the familiar music by jamming in extra phrases, and builds up the energy by jamming nonstop, busy action onto the screen. It’s a garish, strident film, as well as a profoundly unnecessary one. And wherever its creators come up with fresh subplots or new character details, they tend to be poorly integrated, slapped erratically over the existing narrative like a half-assed coat of paint.
Mediocre is mediocre.