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Drew Reviews: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

A new (but not very new) spin on a tale as old as time

Courtesy+of+Walt+Disney+Pictures
Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Drew Huddleston, Film Critic

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“Come into the light” the fair girl says to the large figure, obscured in the darkness of the castle’s dungeon. The figure doesn’t move out of the shadows. She grabs a candle and holds it in front of the silhouette, gasping when the light reveals the face of the monster.

Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time about a prince trapped inside the body of a monster (Dan Stevens). Unless he can learn to love, and gain love in return, he will remain a hideous beast for all of eternity. Then he meets Belle (Emma Watson). When she takes the place of her imprisoned father, the beast must gain her affection, before the spell it sealed.

Let me answer your question now.

Yes. I literally copy and pasted the plot summary from my review of the 1991 Beauty and the Beast onto this one.

The 2017 remake of the classic Disney musical is barely any different than the source material. Some of the lines and dialogue are ripped ripped straight from the animated movie. Even some of the shots are identical to those of the original movie. Depending on who you are, this could be a major downfall for the movie. The way I see it, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I find no issue with the striking similarities between the two movies. It reminds adults of the film they grew up watching. All the old songs are there with a couple of new additions to the pack. Those new ones don’t add a lot to the story and aren’t nearly as impactful as the originals.  

Despite the resemblance between the two films, the new one tries to set apart itself from the animated classic. There is sub-plot about Belle’s mother. It takes a little too much screen time and honestly gets pretty tiring. There’s the scene where the beast uses a magic book to take Belle to the one place she desires to go. The love-struck duo spends their romantic evening at the deathbed of Belle’s mother. Wonderful.

The 2017 Beauty and the Beast out-does the original in terms of style. The transformation of the animated characters to live action works exceptionally. Nothing looked too cartoony. The sets look gorgeous, mostly due to the extreme detail packed into each set piece. I could tell that most of the locations were practical sets and lots, a major change from the almost entirely CGI Jungle Book remake. I couldn’t help but find myself spellbound by how I was sucked into the vast expansive, clean-cut world.

The casting in this movie is on pointe. Everyone perfectly fit their parts in terms of visual appeal and performances. The beautiful Emma Watson might’ve been better a better Belle than Paige O’Hare in the cartoon. Dan Stevens slipped into the role of the Beast perfectly. Lumiere (Ewan Mcgregor), Cogsworth (Ian Mckellen), and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) all were flawless as the servants turned household items. Luke Evans, while not resembling the formidable size of his character Gaston, nailed the look and spirit of the arrogant antagonist.

However, the real showstealer was Josh Gad as Gaston’s side-kick Lefou. Gad, experienced with Disney, looked almost identical to the animated character and was able to portray the lovable character with visceral energy. He also killed the song “Gaston”, adding a hilarious new touch when attempting to spell the name of the public idol.  

2017’s Beauty and the Beast gives a new flare to the tale as old as time, reminding us why we loved the original, and taking our breaths away with its strong visual style.

Grade: B+

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Drew Reviews: Beauty and the Beast (2017)