BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Review

Beauty and the Beast (2017) 
A Review By Ben Hunter
2.5/5 Stars

GET TO THE POINT BEN!

When you shoot for the lower tiers, that’s what you get critiqued on … or is that what you were shooting for?

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Delicacy and elegance, refinement and style … grace … poise … beauty. Real … beauty, to emanate from within, when one realizes such delicacy and poise, that my friend … is love. Not to condescend into morality and decency, or take political precautions, but this is the essence of French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s La Belle et la Bete (The Beauty and the Beast). Published in a series of stories called La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins “The Young American and Marine Tales” in 1740. Yeah that’s right, this story is old and a classic! Over the years there have been remakes on the stage, and naturally a transition with the times into modern day mediums. The most common being Disney’s 1991 animated feature that was nominated for Best Picture that year at the Academy Awards, when there were only 5 nominees and before the arousal of the animated feature category. 

So does this new, 2017 version from Twilight Saga director Bill Condon live up to the expectations? 

Well, the structure is basically the same. Belle (Emma Watson), “supposedly” a principled, virtuous, gentle and kind, meek and extremely virginal, pure of heart lead character that sees the beauty in things. Absolutely will not fall for outward influence but so pure that her soul seeks the same in its mate, enter the beast (Dan Stevens) who at times looked like a video game stimulation. The curse upon the beast by the Enchantress must be broken when true love of the arrogant beast is reciprocated. So a “supposedly” emotional roller coaster with our beloved talking inanimate objects from some of our well known working actors from today ensues as true love prevails. 

La Belle et la Bete
Annnnnnnd cut, credits. Now let us adults get back with our lives letting our children have this one. Teaching them this is a fairy tale and not to be taken seriously, what my parents informed my nieces of when all the talk of Batman & Superman was in the air. 
Now, had true love TRULY prevailed, we’d be having different conversations. Those of love and how the heart works. How one day you will hopefully meet your soul mate, start a family, etc. Not that fairy tales aren’t real. It’s too “fairy tale” to take seriously. I know that’s some kind of oxy moron as this is indeed a fairy tale. But as I ALWAYS say, “Good storytelling is good storytelling, good filmmaking is good filmmaking.” Had Condon and his people in conjunction of the oversight of Disney thoroughly delved into the connection of Belle and the Beast, convincing us that a woman could actually and “for reals yo” fall in love with a hideous beast because deep down it’s about what’s within, then I could truly climb on board with this story. Deep down, think about it, women today have to make the connection and fall for the romance. Could they put themselves in Belle’s shoes and actually “do it”? Making excuses for the decision she makes when the last rose pedal falls thus forever permanently sealing the curse upon the Beast and our beloved house appliances. If the answer is, “yes, but only girls 14 and under” then I guess you’ve successfully completed a well done children’s flick. To be taken lightly and not a force to be reckoned with. And that’s how I will view this remake. 

That’s my major beef with this film. Any negativity towards it and, “well it’s just a fairy tale, come on now”. Which gives it the appearance of disingenuous virtue signaling for points instead of being true to the potential of the material and just being honest with itself. Knock it out of the ballpark for all ages (like Pixar … on most days)! Instead of only T-Balling it for little leaguers. Convince me the romance is beyond the shadow of a doubt 100% (“keep it 100”). Something we all can cry with and enjoy, not just the kids to be introduced to. But if that’s what you’re going for, then that’s what I will critique you as: a really well done children’s flick (which I don’t think is the case as this is a golden opportunity to bring back the nostalgia for us oldies and introduce to the newbies like what Disney is also doing with Star Wars). Don’t expect Oscar recognition (like with the last one or even major props like with the French 1946 version). But again, I’m sure that’s not what Disney was aiming for. The same goes for the first Disney, live-action remake, Cinderella (2015)

Decent mediocrity … “but it’s a fairy tale Ben, come on, let up.”

Be Our Guest!
Add in how Emma Watson’s personal life turns me off to any believable innocent fragility, or the painfully obvious political correctness, “… because it’s 2017!” and you get what you asked for Disney … decent mediocrity. Not Oscar quality. 
A shame, maybe Mulan or any of the other upcoming, “milking it”, live action/non-original/remakes will kindle the real emotion within, eager to surface. 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Fantasy/Musical, 129 Minutes, PG
Screenplay By: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos
Directed By: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Ewan McGreggor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, GuGu Mbatha-Raw


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