Classic Movie ReviewsMovie ReviewsClassic Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Keith NoakesMarch 18, 2018

This was the second of Disney’s live action adaptations of their animated films. The production values were definitely there, except for Beast, and the story was somewhat compelling to watch whenever there wasn’t singing. Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast were good separately but weren’t quite believable together. Musicals can be okay as long as they are organic within the story and this wasn’t the case here as very little of the music worked here and wasn’t particularly memorable, Be Our Guest aside. (original review)

Synopsis: Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.  (Google)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans

Writer: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliopoulos

Director: Bill Condon

Rating: PG (Canada/United States)

Running Time: 129mins


Those expecting anything new here may be disappointed as this was pretty much a shot for shot remake of the original animated film. That’s not necessarily a bad thing with the original being released 26 years ago. It will either introduce the story to a new generation or perhaps bore fans of the original film. For the few who don’t know the story, the film is about a young woman named Belle (Watson) who is taken prisoner by a beast (Stevens) in his castle.

What this film does offer is an extended backstory for the Beast, showing him as a rather flamboyant, arrogant prince and his loyal servants. One of his many parties was interrupted by old woman looking for shelter from a storm. When the prince refused her shelter because of her ugliness, she handed him a rose and cursed him and his servants, turning him into a beast and his servants into a series of inanimate objects. To break the spell, the prince must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the rose’s last petal falls.

This film is a musical but always seemed to be more compelling without characters singing. Being a big-budget Disney film, the production values were there. The musical numbers were well shot and had some good choreography but they couldn’t help but to come off as overproduced, making some feel overwhelmed. There was a surprising amount musical numbers which just ended up creating “here we go again” moments. The musical numbers didn’t quite fit within the story, leading to spontaneous singing moments that didn’t always work. The score was great but other than Be Our Guest, none of the music was particularly memorable.

Belle was an interesting character to watch as she was unlike most Disney heroines. She was strong-willed and can think for herself. She was very close to her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) but the film didn’t spend enough time on them or the subplot involving Belle’s deceased mother. She also had to fend of the advances of the town’s resident good-looking guy named Gaston (Evans). He thought she was the most beautiful woman and he wanted to marry her but the feeling was not mutual. He would go to great lengths to prove his good looks and manliness to her but she wanted none of it which only made him more interested in her.

Any Beauty and the Beast film lives or dies on the relationship between Belle and the Beast. Belle and the Beast were okay to watch but their relationship could have been much better. Everyone knew they were inevitably going to end up together but their relationship could have been more believable as it felt mostly forced. It was difficult to get emotionally invested because of the Beast’s almost emotionless CGI face. The scenes between Belle and the objects were fun to watch but she spent more time with them than she did with the Beast.

The production values extended beyond the musical numbers into the film’s visuals. This was a dark film, perhaps darker than expected for a Disney film, highlighting the contrast between the Beast’s castle and Belle’s town. The castle acted as another character in the film, appearing larger than life and towering over Belle and emphasizing her isolation from the outside world. Other than with the Beast, the CGI was well done in bringing the castle and the objects to life, depicting their many intricacies with great detail.

Watson was riveting as Bell. She was likeable and engaging to watch despite not having a proper grasp on the emotional scenes. She had great chemistry with Kline and the various objects. Stevens was good as the Beast but the prosthetics and the CGI didn’t do his performance justice. We didn’t get enough of him either since the film focused mostly on Belle. Their chemistry could have been better but it wasn’t necessarily their fault. Evans’ over the top performance as Gaston was fun. The voice acting from the objects was the best part of the film with the standouts being Ian Mckellan as Cogsworth and Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe.

Overall, this was a good adaptation of the animated classic that stayed true to the source material. While the film took advantage of its budget, the overproduction of the musical numbers often did more harm than good. The film depended on the relationship between Belle and the Beast’s but it wasn’t the most believable because of the lack of development and chemistry between Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

Score: 7.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, follow me on Instagram, and also like me on Facebook.



One comment

  • Tony Briley

    March 18, 2018 at 1:57 PM

    With six daughters I have seen Beauty and the Beast a few times (I quit counting at 403,583). The whole family went to see this one and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, including myself. It’s the first time I’ve actually paid attention enough to grasp the storyline and who is who. Can probably thank Emma Watson for that. We usually avoid PG movies for the little ones but neither are easily spooked, so a few times of putting our hands over their eyes sufficed to keep the scary startles to a minimum.

    Now, that said, this movie also been banned for the kids. Sadly, I had never paid attention to the story, but after seeing this version I can say there is a LOT I do not like about it. I’m not an activist for political correctness by any stretch of the imagination, but the values this movie subconsciously teaches girls is terrifying.

    First, he kidnaps her, holds her hostage, and refuses to let her go. The moral lesson of “looking past appearance” is good but Belle is a victim of Stockholm syndrome in the most blatant way. She falls in love with her captor and loves him for what he gives her, in other words let’s her have.

    The absolute worst part is how she is a constant apologist for HIS bad behavior and it’s all okay because he “loves her”. What a terrible lesson that teaches little girls. It’s okay for a man to treat you however he wants, no matter how bad it is, as long as he loves you? And instead of demanding better treatment, you should instead make excuses and be his apologist?

    And I haven’t even touched on how HER behavior changed HIS. A moral lesson of everyone can do better and treat each other better is a good lesson, I get that. But this movie teaches that if the abused just tries harder, does a little more, forgives a few more times, then eventually the abuser will see the light of day and change from a beast into a prince. WRONG. The abused should flee from the abuser and if they can’t flee then fight. Teaching little girls to just try harder to please him is a terrible lesson.

    So I loved the movie, hated the theme. The best thing that did come from this movie is it is a stark reminder to watch IN ADVANCE and filter anything and everything your children watch. Just because it is a kids movie and from Disney does not mean it is in the best interest of children.


Comments are closed.

Follow us on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 694,384 hits

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,927 other subscribers

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,927 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: