Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

IMDb plot summary: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.
Directed by Bill Condon. Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad.

I have thought more about Beauty and the Beast than anyone I know. I have deeply analyzed these characters I love so much, dissected how the various themes play out, and vehemently defended it to people who don't realize that it's so clearly the best Disney movie out there. So it had a lot to live up to, and it only halfway measured up.

The musical numbers are what holds this adaptation together. Aside from several meaningless 30-second songs and anything where Emma Watson sings, the songs look and sound great. "Be Our Guest" and "The Mob Song" are two especially great sequences that really make the whole movie look better in comparison. Where the movie fails is in embracing the understated nature of the original story. It attempts to shoehorn in several more dramatic subplots and overplay everything that's already there. This is exhausting and ultimately undercuts the actual themes because we're never given the time they need to breathe. A stronger script more confident in its relational drama would have been a huge asset to this film. Not a bad movie, but it pales in comparison to the near-perfect original.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Beauty and the Beast > The 5th Wave
Beauty and the Beast > The Impossible
Beauty and the Beast < The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Beauty and the Beast < The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
Beauty and the Beast < The Grapes of Wrath
Beauty and the Beast > Borat
Beauty and the Beast < Four Lions
Beauty and the Beast < Mad Max: Fury Road
Beauty and the Beast > Marty
Beauty and the Beast > Band of Robbers
Beauty and the Beast > Notting Hill

Final spot: #598 out of 2596.

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