I go into different movies with different expectations. With John Wick Chapter 2, I went into it hoping that we would get more of what made the first movie great. I went into Fifty Shades Darker hoping to feel an emotional connection between its two lover. For Beauty and The Beast, I wanted this movie to give a reason warranting its creation.
When I first heard that Disney planned on remaking its beloved classics into live action format, I immediately was against the idea. To me, I saw this as a way for Disney to use the name recognition of their previous hits to make a quick buck. You don’t have to come up with any new characters, stories, or universes because the material already exists. A name like Beauty and the Beast (or more recently The Jungle Book) will instantly sell tickets because people cherish the properties dearly. The only way I could justify remaking these movies would be to add a new perspective that enhances the story and universe.
Does this new Beauty and the Beast pass the test? Unfortunately no. Beauty and the Beast is as close to a carbon copy of the cartoon as you can get, with a couple of minor exceptions that overall have no great consequence in the film.
This film’s sole purpose is to be Beauty and the Beast; nothing more, nothing less. Throughout it, I felt no artistic vision. It felt completely uninspired and seemed like all they wanted to do was remake Beauty and the Beast. I felt like I was watching something a committee of board room executives carefully put together rather than a piece of art backed by someone with a voice.
If you go into this film just wanting to watch a remake of Beauty and the Beast, you will have a good time.
As for how the movie stands up on its own, the most I can say about it is that it’s competent. It is not revolutionary in its execution. It simply gets the job done. The editing is mediocre. The directing is okay at best, and the acting is just fine, with the exception of Josh Gad who is my personal favorite in this movie.
I understand that to tell this story in live action you have to use a lot of CGI and for the most part it was fine. In some scenes the integration of CGI and live action was noticeably bad, but for the most part it never took me out of the movie.
The best parts of the movie were the set designs and the music. The sets were well done and beautiful. There was a sense of craftsmanship that went into making them that was refreshing to see in this movie. I also enjoyed the music. The orchestrations are well done and hard not to sing along to. There is a musical number with the Beast towards the end of the movie that I very much enjoyed.
In conclusion, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I wanted it to be more than a mediocre retelling of a movie that we already know and love. I hoped to get a sense of artistic vision and wanted to see director Bill Condon explore the universe giving his own voice. What I got was an experience that made no difference whether I saw the movie or not.