The Ultimate Spring Re-Release Beauty and the Beast Revisted
March 22, 2017
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By Jason Eisengart
Spring is the time of rebirth or in this case, reboots. Beauty and the Beast (2017) was much better than I expected. An amazing cast, phenomenal songs, great visuals, funny jokes, and a key piece of trivia are what make this a great film.
The cast for this movie wound up working much better than I had expected. With Ms. Emma Watson as Belle, I was certain she would not fit the role. She seemed too dainty, too soft and fragile, but boy was I wrong. She nailed the role of the educated yet simple “outcast” type girl who is still willing to stand face to face with danger. She has the delicate, caring face that the role requires while her body was not as lanky as I previously thought it would be. She stood tall and her overall form fit really well with the Belle character.
On top of that, the casting of Watson seemed like it would be distracting seeing as how most people know her as Hermione, but this is not the case. Through her appearance and general acting, Watson is able to completely separate herself from the Hermione character. Mr. Luke Evans — Gaston — was great for the role. Being a rugged looking man, he fit perfectly into the smug, egocentric, skirt-chasing, rugged look that Gaston required. In addition, he played the part well; he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself and flawlessly brought the image of Gaston to life. Another role that rubbed me the wrong way was Mr. Josh Gad — LeFou. Do not get me wrong, Gad is a great actor and very funny, but I could not figure out how he would fit in. Once again, however, I was proven wrong. His timing and delivery for jokes was spot on, and his unique singing voice was, while a tad odd, a welcome addition to the film.
The songs and singing in this film were exquisite. Normally in musicals, I will enjoy about half to three quarters of the songs. In this case, however, each song hit its mark. The singing was fluid and soulful when it was a bit slower (and meant to tug at your heartstrings) and faster, super energetic, and upbeat when it needed to be. The instrumentation behind the singing was also great. It fit the mood of the songs perfectly and really added to the overall appeal of each song. The choreography of the dances in the songs was perfect, combining more Renaissance-style dances with modern, formal dances worked spectacularly. Each actor seemed confident in their movements, allowing the dances to flow and give a great visual to go along with the songs.
This film had astounding visuals. For starters, the cgi was surprisingly good. I was certain the live action talking objects were going to be unsettling or at the very least annoying, but for the third time, I was proven wrong. The designs of the objects are very detailed, with Cogsworth having moving parts and intricate patterns and Mrs. Potts including flowery designs. The extraordinary visuals really come to life during the song “Be Our Guest” in which all the objects are serving Belle dinner and dancing around. The colors, the fluidity of the movements, seeing how all of the objects move and sing, it really makes for a magical experience. The colors in this film really pop, as well. When in Belle’s village, all of the colors blend together flawlessly and give a lighthearted feel to the village. Pinks, oranges, yellows, and of course blues, all stand out. Even if three people are standing next to each other wearing the same color, each one seems unique.
When it came to jokes, this film did a rather good job. Mr. Had is at the forefront of most of them, but that is his exact purpose. He is a comedian. A good deal of the jokes are about everyone at that time being illiterate or uneducated, but each one is phrased differently enough to feel like a fresh joke. There are quite a few jokes shared among the household objects and a few between Belle and the Beast. There really is not much more to say about it. The jokes were good.
One big thing that I feel really added to the film was that all of the actors sang their own parts. Even Watson did her own singing. It is the little things like that that make a big difference, primarily because the ability of the actors to sing can make or break the film. In this case, it worked out wonderfully. All of the actors and actresses have spectacular singing voices that match their characters perfectly.
With all good things, there must be some bad. This film was lacking in its set design, had one incredibly out of place scene, and could have worked on Belle and the Beast’s relationship a little more.
The set design in this movie can best be described as cookie-cutter. Everything is incredibly generic. Belle’s village is just a village. The castle is just a castle. The woods are just the woods. If you plopped those sets into any similar movie, they would have fit just as well. There is one scene with no real purpose. It just kind of appears out of nowhere. I think I get what it’s purpose is supposed to be, but I have no way of really knowing. It is incredibly jarring and kind of took me out of the immersion the movie had so wonderfully put me into. And lastly, the relationship between the Beast and Belle is spontaneous, but not in a good way. It quickly evolves but feels like it has no real substance. They go from hate to love way too fast and I wish they had elaborated on the in-between a bit more. There are also some extraneous little details that irked me a bit, but they are so little they are not really worth going into.
Overall, I liked this movie. Heck, I might even dare say I loved it. If you are looking for an amazing reimagining of a classic Disney film or are a fan of entertaining musicals and love stories, I would definitely recommend this film. With a lot of good sprinkled with a little bad, I can confidently say I am glad this reboot did not get the boot. So my final rating for this film is an 8.8/10.