Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.
A meandering and dull mess. One of the biggest disappointments in recent years.
Sure, I'm a huge film snob who (on the surface) only likes artsy-fartsy foreign films from before the 60's, but that hasn't stopped me from loving Disney's Beauty & The Beast; in fact, it's probably my favorite American animated film and is easily Disney's finest work. It's beautiful, it's breathtaking, it's warm, it's hilarious, it's captivating, and, in Disney fashion, it's magical. When I learned that Disney would be remaking their classic films, B&TB was undeniably the best wrapped package. How could they go wrong?
Oh man, they went wrong.
First thing's first: this film is so flat. The directing was dull and uninteresting throughout the entire film and it honestly felt like one of the Twilight sequels...and then I looked it up and found out that, yes, director Bill Condon was the man behind Breaking Dawn parts 1 & 2. Every shot looks bored and uninterested, which contrasts heavily with the original animated film that was constantly popping with vibrancy. The script too is boring because it's almost a complete remake of the original, though I guess most people won't mind that.
Next: the CGI is horrid. Although I didn't care for The Jungle Book from last year, I could at least admit that the CGI was breathtaking. The same cant be said for this film. Characters like Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts, and most of the cursed appliances have very strange, lifeless faces that are pretty off putting to be looking at for such a long time. All of the sets too look artificial and fake, especially the town towards the beginning. However, the biggest offender is easily and infuriatingly the character that mattered most: The Beast. The CGI on the Beast's face is so distracting that it completely takes you out of the film. His eyes are completely devoid of soul, and his mouth is a gaping video game black hole of fiction. Klaus Kinski looked much better in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode of Beauty & The Beast, and that was a 1984 TV show episode. But do you know why it looked better? Because it was an actual face with actual eyes, not some video game computerized synthetic monstrosity. When will studios learn that practical effects will always top CGI?
Finally: wasted casting. Emma Watson is beautiful, but she's no Belle. She is completely devoid of the warmth and humanity that made the animated Belle so beloved. Instead, she is cold and heartless throughout most of the film. Kevin Kline is 100% wasted and does nothing except look old. Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and even Dan Stevens as the Beast are very expendable and could've been played by anyone else. The only good characters are Gaston and LeFou, mostly because they are fun and played by actors who breathe new life into their original shapes. If anything, this film should've been about Gaston and LeFou, but that would never happen because that would mean Disney couldn't cater to blind nostalgic 90's kids.
Overall, this film is a complete bore. It could've been better if even the special effects were good, but the CGI in particular is horrendous. I'm all for Disney remaking their nostalgia- catering 90's films, but they need to be interesting. This film, sadly, is not. Even the Christmas sequel is better than this film because it's at least something.
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