Nostalgia gets us every time. We gave into the hype and bought early tickets to the first-day showing of Beauty and the Beast, the latest remake in Disney’s cannon. We couldn’t wait to see Belle and Beast dancing around a grand ballroom set to the eponymous song. We yearned to recapture the awe and wonder of our childhood through Beast’s eventual transformation back into fairytale prince. We anticipated a modern-day reimagining with more depth and humanity than that of the epic original animation.
Movies like Beauty and the Beast reinforced so many positive idioms when we were young. Things like “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “love conquers all.” But we forgot one of the more life-appropriate lessons learned through our teens; that great expectations are rarely, if ever, met. So, before you clamour for seats at Saturday’s matinee, here are five things you need to know about the new Beauty and the Beast.
This film will appeal to younger audiences, ones for whom Beauty and the Beast may be an unknown or less popular tale. But the near-literal translation of the original story to live action falls far short of fantastic. It’s a visually stunning work of art with a plot that’s better suited to cartoons than it is live action. Far from a reimagining; it’s an expensive restoration.
Emma Watson is as sublime as expected.
Aside from a narrower range than Paige O’Hara, Broadway star and the voice of the original Belle, Emma Watson does our favourite Disney princess proud. She’s commanding, breathtaking, confident and strong in nearly every frame. Simply breathtaking.
To be fair, the actor wasn’t done any favours with the addition of a new original song, “Evermore,” a sappy musical note to his beloved Belle where Stevens has to attempt to bring legitimacy to lyrical gems like, Now I know she’ll never leave me/even as she runs away. And his transformation from monstrous to love-struck seemed disingenuous. Suspending disbelief as you watch a cartoon character take the hero’s journey is one thing, but regurgitated to live action, it requires more finesse for believability.
Disney really is trying to show they’re okay with the gays – no matter what the internet says.
Le Fou amorously pines for Gaston, alluding to his illusion of a relationship with the blockhead antagonist on more than one occasion. An attacking villager sashays down steps in a manner befitting any diva after his trio is halted and adorned with fabulous frocks in the climactic showdown between man and animate object. And said villager even winds up in a waltz with Le Fou during the expected happy ending. Is any man publicly hopping on the D? No. But the fairytale is set in the late 1700s – let’s not get all anachronistic for the sake of progress.
If you do decide to watch it in theatres, see it in 3D.
While the live action adaptation falls flat of the original, one thing cannot be denied; the cinematography, set design, and overall art direction is gloriously captured and exhibited in 3D. If you’re paying to see it at all, might as well pay to see it right.
Have you seen Beauty and the Beast yet? What did you think of the live action remake? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.