I am just going to preface this review with the fact that there will be spoilers in reference to the older animated version because let’s face it, if you haven’t watched the 1991 version already you deserve to be spoiled.
The overall look of the film was spot on – whether it was the village, the castle, the clothing, they were all very well represented. Even the residents of the castle in there object form was pretty spot on – a little creepy at first sure but they grow on you.
As for the songs…you could tell Emma Watson was auto-tuned a lot but I thought most of the songs she did were okay. The new songs they added into this movie really helped certain characters “shine” more like Maurice and the Beast so I enjoyed them. I thought both songs featuring Gaston were clearly the best represented. I however did have a problem with the two iconic songs from the movie – “Belle” and “Beauty and the Beast”. In “Belle” I just didn’t feel the town was as hectic and lively as the animated version, everything felt so much slower and more organized…and how are you going to get rid of “Marie! The baguettes, hurry up!”…smh. And then of course “Beauty and the Beast” as Belle and the Beast dance in the ballroom. I had no problem with Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts singing it just like in the original but why fix something that’s not broken? Some of the phrasing changes and tempo changes really irked me, I get that changes need to be made to make it more modern but I just didn’t enjoy the changes to such a classic song.
Now the acting…this is what really drops the rating for this movie. Most of the acting was very rigid and quite frankly emotionless. Emma Watson is not a Disney princess, I’m not saying she’s a bad actress because we’ve all seen her work as Hermione in the Harry Potter series but this movie just didn’t reflect very well on her acting. Her scenes with her father were very disjointed, even when she finds out what happened to her mother and they embrace I just didn’t feel like it was a very emotional moment. Luke Evans as Gaston (acting wise) didn’t really shine for me either. The spotlight on most of his scenes ended up going to Josh Gad as LeFou. The one scene where he’s supposed to be in the pub all depressed after getting his marriage proposal rejected from Belle (which was omitted from this version…why?), he just doesn’t seem depressed at all. The actors that really shined were the ones that played the various objects in the castle (Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen).
And finally, the one thing that really irked me the most was…how did Maurice leave the castle? When Belle decides to switch with her father and become the prisoner you see the Beast pick him up and then start going down the hall. And the next thing you know he’s at the pub all cleaned up and asking Gaston for help. In the original movie you see him get thrown into an “alive” carriage but this movie fails to show anything at all…would it have been that difficult to add that scene? Sigh.
Originally I rated this higher but after looking at some past reviews it just didn’t make sense. So…