Mar 21

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Review

I believe one of the best animated movies of all time is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Even critics and the academy agree as it became the first animated movie to receive an Oscar Best Picture nomination, competing among the best such as JFK and The Silence of the Lambs.  The Silence of the Lambs was a formidable opponent and considered one of the best movies of all time. Had it competed on a year when nominees where mediocre at best (trust me we are seeing more of that lately), it would have stood a chance.

When Disney announced it was releasing a live action version of the movie, I could almost imagine all the things that can go wrong with it.  Of course, we all held hope that Disney would create magic once again.  Well, we finally saw the movie last weekend.  It was not a total disaster.  But it still could not hold a candle (or a candelabra ha ha ha) to the original animated movie.

One of my biggest fears before it was released was that Emma Watson would ruin my favorite songs.  Yes, she looks the part, but she is no Paige O’Hara. It was not as bad as Amanda Seyfried in Les Mis, but it was still not as good as the original.  There is no doubt her voice was auto-tuned.  There are parts that don’t even sound like her natural voice.  When it comes to the songs in the movie, Belle’s songs were the weakest link.  Dan Stevens’ Beast sang much better than Belle actually. I think they would’ve done better with a new actress that looks like Belle, but with the matching singing prowess.  I guess the studio was too afraid to take a risk in the movie not making money.

I think the standout in the movie was Kevin Kline as Belle’s father.  His poignant rendition of “How Does a Moment Last Forever” was perfect and unforgettable.  After my disappointment with Belle’s first song, that 1-minute song from Kevin Kline made me smile.  It was not in the original animated movie and he was the perfect character to deliver it the first time.  Another great performance or voice acting was from Ewan Macgregor’s Lumiere.  Ewan Mcgregor made the voice whimsical enough that it fit perfectly. Many will argue though that Jerry Orbach’s original Lumiere was much better.  The truth is that I don’t think any other voice actor could’ve done better jobs than Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury from the original.  Those 3 voice actors were the biggest reasons for the success of the animated movie. Who can ever forget Angela Lansbury’s version of the song Beauty and the Beast?  Did you know they almost cut out her version of the song? Sacre Bleu!

But I believe the biggest fail was in the design.  The CGI on the set was good, but the design itself, especially of the castle was a failure.  Lumiere and Cogsworth were too ornate and golden that it made the characters too stiff.  There were hardly any facial expressions discernible. Mrs. Potts and Chip were really bad though.  How can they think sketch drawings of their faces be good? Considering how far CGI has come in the last few years, I don’t understand why these characters were created to appear like there were limitations to what technology can do.

The movie is not as good as I dreamed it would be, but it was still not as bad as it could have been.  Still . . . I wish they did better justice to the original. It’s a good watch, but it’s nowhere near as epic as the best from Disney. I heard they are also making a live action of Mulan.  Oh please do better this time . . . .

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