BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


It’ hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Disney animated version of Beauty and the Beast burst on the scene in 1991. Patrick, Katie, Diane, and I all loved it. The music was fun. A few years later, we all went to Toronto to see the musical version of Beauty and the Beast on the stage. Again, very entertaining! So I approached this live-action movie version with some trepidation. The original animated version was 84 minutes. This live-action movie is 129 minutes. Would it just be filler?

The answer is yes…and no. The movie provides some backstory to Belle and her family as well as an explanation of the Beast’s troubled past. Some of the musical numbers go on a little too long for my taste. And the Beast’s castle is a little too dark. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s going on in the shadows. But Emma Watson is fine as Belle. Dan Stevens (who I really like in LEGION) transforms into a marvelous, cantankerous Beast. Luke Evans plays a narcissistic, brutish Gaston to perfection. And, behind the CGI characters there are the voices of Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Ewan McGregor (Lumière), and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth). This movie includes three new songs (mostly forgettable) and a scary scene with wolves that might frighten younger children. All in all, I can recommend this new live-action movie of Beauty and the Beast. There’s enough newish story here to hold your interest. GRADE: B+

16 thoughts on “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

  1. Bill Crider

    129 minutes? I know already it’s not for me. And why are movies so dark now? Maybe it’s just my old eyes, but I preferred Technicolor. I miss the old days.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Meyerson

    What Bill said! At least I could see KONG. This got generally pretty good reviews (although, surprisingly, the local paper down here only gave it a C+) but I have no real interest. I always thought the original was OK, but it was no LION KING.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, yesterday’s WALL STREET JOURNAL carried Joe Morgenstern’s review of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST where he panned it. He also called Emma Watson “bland.”

      Reply
  3. Patti Abbott

    Animated movies are even darker. Why can’t they get light into them. What is going on in those shadows anyway?
    The NYT said this was magical. I am not getting that from your review. I want magical.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Patti, if you want magical, you’ll have to go back to the original animated version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST from 1991. This live-action remake is just a money-maker for Disney.

      Reply
  4. Prashant C. Trikannad

    George. I loved the 1991 animated film. It ranks second in my best three animated movies of all time, the other two being “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.” I will be watching this film in the theatres.

    Reply
  5. Rick Robinson

    Yours is the most positive review of this film that I’ve seen. I really liked the Disney animated version, had the VHS tape and watched it many times. Of course it’s gone now (with all the other VHS tapes), but if I wanted to see this again I might buy the blu-ray of that animated version. When I saw the tailer for this I thought it looked pretty good, but the reviews have left me uninterested in seeing it.

    As for darkness, it seems to be a recent and current trend, but in plot and cinematography. I don’t much like it, and prefer sunnier things.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Rick, I actually like to see details in the setting of movies. All the darkness and shadows just frustrates me (and other viewers like Bill Crider). We bought VHS tapes of all the Disney animated classics for our kids. And, we still have them!

      Reply
  6. Rick Robinson

    Still raining here, it’s starting to seem like it will never end. Every day we set a new record for wettest winter. Instead of reading, since the NCAA Men’s basketball Tournament is going, I watched a good deal of that. Enjoyable, but I’ll soon get burned out.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Rick, Buffalo is hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games this week. Notre Dame just lost. We’ll see how Wisconsin fares against might Villanova. It was snowing here this morning, but now it’s turning to rain.

      Reply
      1. Jeff Meyerson

        Madison Square Garden is holding games too. Better than whoever decided to hold the ACC tournament Final Four in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. It’s a nice venue, but come on!

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, I think the NIT is over at Madison Square Garden. A lot of Syracuse fans were angry the Orange didn’t get an NCAA bid and had to accept going to the NIT.

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