Guten Morgen, leute!
On Thursday, I went to see the new, live-action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remake with my family and well, I was skeptical to say the least. Ever since I was a kid, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was my favorite Disney movie. Belle (and still is) was my favorite Disney princess. I absolutely adored the cartoon movie and I also fell in love with the stage production too which I have seen countless times. And thus, my fears and lack of faith in this remake was born.
Now, I’ll just start by saying that the movie pleasantly surprised me and I enjoyed it a whole lot better than I thought I would. My general five-star rating system doesn’t accurately show my rating of the movie so I’ll do it on a five-star scale. I’d give this remake a 6.5/10 stars rating. And well, that’s actually pretty good by my standards as I’m pretty nitpicky when it comes to movies. You might be thinking “6.5 stars and she’s saying she really enjoyed it?” And while, yes, that might be kind of odd, with movies, generally, my ratings are very, very low. My family gets very annoyed by how much attention I pay to small, seemingly trivial things, mostly because I can go on and on about these things. But I figured that I’d write it all out for you all to see. So this is all of my thoughts and opinions on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017). Let’s discuss it! Oh, and there will most certainly be spoilers so if you don’t want to see any spoilers, you probably don’t want to read this discussion!
**Before we start, I’d just like to start out by saying that this is a discussion of things I notced/liked/ disliked, not a review! These are all just opinions and personal thoughts/interpretations!**
So, we open with a flamboyant ball. And well, I’d say that if I were alone in the theatre, I might’ve clapped at this part. Attention to the overly flamboyant, frivolous nature of the French aristocracy pre-revolution? Yes, please! Now, let’s just start by saying that the movie clearly takes place pre-revolution. Look at the costumes! The men are all still wearing breeches, even in the town in which Belle lives. If this was mid-revolution or even post-revolution, this would likely not have been the case. Also, if this was mid-revolution, I’d expect some sort of revolt to happen if people knew that the aristocracy was holding such flamboyant parties. So, that establishes our setting.
One thing overall that I really enjoyed was the overall aesthetic of the movie. The movie did a really good job of portraying the aristocracy of France pre-revolution. The flamboyance, the carelessness, the selfish attitude was enough to get me wanting to jump on a table and rally Paris to arms.
While we’re on the topic of historical accuracy, let’s talk about the costumes a little, shall we? I’d say that overall, the costumes were pretty historically accurate. I liked the attention the costume designers paid towards the styles of France back then. However, when it came to Belle, there were some things about the costumes that just got me shaking my head. In her village dress, for most of the time, it looks like part of her dress is tucked up, revealing what would have been undergarments back then. Now, I know that now, to us, it’s not a big deal. They’re very modest, almost pants-like undergarments. But back then? It would have been absolutely scandalous!
When it comes to singing… I will say that I thought that the singing was… decent. I’d still have preferred if singing had been done by professional singers. I don’t know… the singing wasn’t bad but it was most certainly “meh”. And, while we’re on the topic of singing, let’s talk about the songs! The songs were the same songs that I’d loved before. However, seeing that they added all of these new songs only made me more disappointed that they didn’t use any of the Broadway-exclusive songs. There were some parts in which they even used some direct lines from the Broadway songs and the melodies from songs like “A Change in Me” and “Home” were used and I just wished that they’d used those songs. They’re beautiful, so why not? One of the additional, new songs that I really liked, though, was “Evermore”, the Beast’s new song. And while I still don’t love it quite as much as “If I Can’t Love Her” / the reprise. However, with the vibe that they were going for with “Evermore” was clear and I really liked that.
So far, I’ve mostly been talking about things that I disliked or thought were weird so I think that I’ll talk about some things that I really did like. And one of those things was definitely the fact that the Beast and Belle got to share more bonding time over books and such. It was a nice touch. Their banter over Shakespeare was also very likeable. As a person who very much dislikes it when people say “Well, I’ve read Shakespeare so take that”, I really enjoyed the fact that the Beast scoffed at the fact that Belle said that Romeo and Juliet was her favorite play and told her that there was so much that she didn’t know, things that were better. And you know, the thing is, I felt like it kind of put Belle in her place, showing her how much she just doesn’t know. Reading every Shakespeare play and nothing else doesn’t make you literate. It just makes you literate in the world of Shakespeare. And well… Shakespeare only wrote thirty-seven plays. That’s thirty-seven works of fiction compared to the thousands and thousands of other works of fiction out there.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that the character interactions seemed very natural and not forced. It was very easy to like all of the characters (well, for the most part).
However, one of the things that I didn’t enjoy very much was the change they made in both Gaston and Maurice. I, for one, truly enjoy Maurice being the a little weird, cooky inventor. With the live-action movie, they kind of took that away. And while that makes sense for the change in plot that they put in, Maurice, as a character was not a character I enjoyed as much in this movie. Not to mention that when Gaston tried to help him, it was essentially Maurice’s fault for not being able to find the castle again. Gaston was pretty understandably frustrated with the situation. However, Maurice was, well… pretty unfair towards Gaston who, at the time, was being pretty… kind and gentlemanly towards Maurice. Then again, though, shortly after that, Gaston loses his temper and ties Maurice to a tree for the wolves to eat him.
Then, there was the change in Gaston’s character. At first, I found it enjoyable. Gaston wasn’t nearly as arrogant and stuck-up in the beginning as he was in the cartoon and that was refreshing. However, as time went on, Gaston was very, very malicious. Malicious in a way that he never was in the cartoon. And while Gaston was arrogant, stuck-up, and quite annoying (characteristically) in the cartoon, it was easy to like him. I laughed at his jokes and his stupid comments. And while, in the cartoon, Gaston still hatches the plan to put Maurice in the asylum, putting someone into an asylum is nothing compared to attempted murder.
Can we talk about Gaston’s death scene briefly as we’re still on the topic of Gaston? In the cartoon, Gaston stabs the Beast and the Beast kind of… well, jerks back in pain and Gaston loses his balance and falls to his death. In the new movie, the castle starts crumbling and Gaston falls. Which is not nearly as impactful as what happened in the cartoon movie. And well, this is a result of the fact that when a rose petal falls, the castle crumbles a little. And really, the only reason I can think of for the fact that they did this is that they wanted Gaston’s death scene to work like this so that the Beast wouldn’t be a “murderer” or anything like that. But… even with the cartoon version, the Beast isn’t a “murderer”. It’s still Gaston’s fault. Point-and-case? I don’t like the castle crumbling thing. I just feel like it was completely unnecessary and, quite frankly, stupid. It’s not as if the entire castle came crashing to the ground when the last petal fell. If it had, I think that I might’ve liked the whole catch a little more. But what can ya do?
While we’re talking about unnecessary plot devices, let’s talk about the fact that the book (the one that allows for the Beast to go anywhere in the world) was pretty… unneeded. The only reason it was there was to solve the mystery of Belle’s mother. Which, was, well, something that really didn’t need to be solved. And I don’t know… making it the plague that killed Belle’s mom just made me shake my head. The plague was common enough and I think that Belle, as a person who is fairly smart, should have been able to guess would have been the cause of her mother’s death. Not to mention the fact that Belle and the Beast were in the same room in which her mother was supposed to have died. The plague killed half of Europe and really, the only way to effectively stamp out the disease was by burning everything. Going back to the house which was probably riddled with the bacteria was probably not a smart thing to do. So, long story short? I didn’t like the book trinket. It just seemed like an unnecessary scene.
I’m sure that, at this point, y’all are probably thinking “Did she like anything about this movie?” And well, quite frankly, yes, I did. I liked a lot of things about the movie. The aesthetic was wonderful, most of the new plot devices added in were wonderful, the characterizations of most characters was pretty spot-on, and overall, it was a really good movie. I’m just a little protective of the cartoon version as it was the movie I grew up with. It was my favorite movie as a kid and I still love it. Was the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST everything I’d hoped it’d be? Well… no. Was it bad? Of course not! As you can see, most of the things mentioned throughout the discussion (with a few exceptions) aren’t things that indicate a bad movie, they’re things that just irk me as a person.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed the movie and it will be one that I buy on DVD when it gets released! What did you think of the new movie? Danke schön und tschüss!