This screening had a lot more people in it than the others I’ve been to and wow do some people not understand how to go to the cinema. First there was someone whose phone was not only still on and being used when the film started but the screen’s brightness was clearly on full (fortunately they stopped once the introduction ended but I noticed someone else hadn’t) and then during the visual portion of the credits someone stood up and didn’t actually move (I had to move a few seats to the right to actually look at the screen).
It’s good but honestly the weakest of Disney’s live action remakes. Its biggest problem is in fact being too much like the original to the point it’s pretty much impossible to spoil this movie unless you talk to someone who never saw the original.
Remember how The Jungle Book remake last year only really used two songs from the original (three if you count Trust In Me being in the credits)? This film uses just about all of them (the only one left out is the reprise of Gaston) and while they’re all performed well it does just feel like they’re there just because they’re iconic. Be Our Guest for example had no reason to be in this version other than the fact it’s one of the most famous songs in the original. But like I said they were performed well and the visuals for these scenes are really good.
The film does have some new content and I do like the things they add. Gay Lefou made perfect sense the moment I heard about it and the scenes that explore the backstories of Belle and Beast (who still doesn’t have a canon real name in this version) do help the narrative of their romance as you get to know them as they get to know each other. There’s even a scene where Mrs. Potts gives an explanation for why the curse effected everyone else in the castle and some new songs that fit in really well with the classic soundtrack (in fact I’d love to hear Paige O’Hara sing How Does A Moment Last Forever and Robby Benson sing Evermore). It’s actually a shame the film doesn’t have more moments like these or explore them for more than a couple of scenes or lines.
The cast are all very good and the biggest strength of the film. Emma Watson’s experience playing Hermione made her a great Belle and I really like her singing voice. Luke Evans is clearly having a lot of fun as Gaston and gives one of the most entertaining performances in the film. Dan Stevens’ Beast voice is works really well both for the scenes where he’s intimidating and sounds like a monster and when the romance starts and his voice gets softer.
But while I like Stevens’ performance as Beast I’m not a fan of his design. He looks too human which is a shame because all the other cursed characters have such detailed designs it really feels they could have made a great Beast design but instead went with a design that makes him look like a fawn. The horns look neat though.
I’ve seen a lot of people express hate towards this film and while I’m disappointed by it I still had a nice time and want to listen to the songs again. It does a great job of recreating the iconic scenes from the original so while that wasn’t the approach I’d have preferred I still have to give it credit for doing said approach well and at least having some new content. It doesn’t deserve the hate it gets but doesn’t live up to the hype either. I just wish it had more of its own identity like the live action versions of The Jungle Book, Cinderella or Alice In Wonderland.