This article contains spoilers for the film.
As soon as the trailer premiered online, I found my newest obsession: I needed to see the new “Beauty and the Beast,” starring one of the heroines of our generation, Emma Watson.
It was a challenging project for the filmmaker Bill Condon. Many had failed, including the 2014 French adaptation, “La Belle et la Bête“ which starred Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux.
So how did it go? Is it better than our classic animated Disney film?
The answer is yes and no.
Unfortunately, despite my unconditional love and admiration for the actress and feminist Watson, she wasn’t the best fit for Belle. As we see her declining Gaston’s advances, Watson gives another life to Belle, a more authentic and human interpretation. However, as soon as she leaves for the Beast’s castle, she becomes nothing more than a mannequin permanently smiling. No more funny Belle and no more outraged “Madame Gaston.”
I don’t know who was responsible for the audio mixing of her songs, but I would like to send that sound designer a letter and ask him or her to come and study sound design again at SCAD.
How can Belle, who sang such classic Disney songs, have such a fake and auto-tuned voice in this movie that everybody was waiting for? Why? Why Disney?
I found Belle faded against the very charismatic Gaston, played by Luke Evans. Gaston, despite his awful and narcissist character, seemed to have more scenes than Belle.
None of the masculine figures in the movie were as autotuned as Belle, not even the Beast.
Among all the adaptations of “Beauty and The Beast,” Dan Stevens remarkably offers one of the best interpretation by showing a wonderful mix of the grumpy behavior, added with some really well-done humor. The final scene of the Beast becoming human again is simply fantastic and undeniably the best scene of the entire movie.
Unfortunately, the movie was more about the Beast and Gaston, than it was about Belle. I was even more attached to Belle’s father than her, who still grieves his lost wife.
Adding some background story about Belle’s mom was a risky move and wasn’t executed well.
Belle discovers the place she was born in, an old windmill located in Paris. After some research, she found out her mother died from the plague.
Bringing to life something that was as real as the Black Death—which killed between 30 and 50 percent of the European population in the 14 century—didn’t mix well when combined with Belle’s perfect little village. The brutal reality of the medieval age did not fit into this adaptation, which was otherwise faithful to the animated movie.
Which raises the question, did they have to be that faithful?
Watching 3D dancing plates, forks and other utensils is pleasant in an animated movie but very bland in a real movie. Then Belle does nothing more than fake smile during the entire “Be Our Guest” song, which made me sincerely want to shake her. You are watching dancing plates, forks and many other utensils; can’t you do anything other than smile?
Speaking of “Be Our Guest,” more specifically about Lumière, what the heck was that Americanized French accent?
Being a huge fan of Ewan McGregor, it breaks my heart to say that as a French person, I didn’t appreciate the very fake and clichéd accent. Any French actor would have given a more authentic impression of our classic and entertaining Lumière.
Thankfully Cogsworth, played by Ian McKellen, was on point. Well, is Ian McKellen ever not perfect?
There were a lot of good and bad elements mixed together, which made for a very interesting and pleasant movie to watch in the end (except the times Belle sings and you have to plug your ears). I would say it is entirely worth watching merely for the Beast and Gaston, as their interpretations were more than satisfying.
Overall, I would give it a good 14.5/20 — maybe a 15/20 just for the Beast.