Beauty and the Beast (2017) Movie Review
Tale as old as I am, for the most part. I was so anxious about this release that I didn’t want to watch the trailers. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to see it. We’ve seen countless remakes and different adaptations in our lifetime, but I never saw this coming. Beauty and the Beast sits at the very top of my list of favorite movies, holding the number one spot for as long as I can remember. And no, not the top Disney movie, or animated movie… the top movie, period. Conan the Barbarian sits at number two; think about that for a minute.
What would my expectations possibly be for a film being released decades after the original, having been adapted into live-action from the untouchable magic of Disney’s Classic animation. I didn’t grow up with Belle being Belle. I grew up with Paige O’Hara being Belle and it’d be hard to accept anything else. Heck, our wedding was (not entirely) but very heavily influenced by Beauty and the Beast. I had the “cake-maker” custom blend colors to match the blue and yellow in the original title art; our “wedding song” was Beauty and the Beast (Tale as Old as Time); did you even see what I wore? Why did I choose that gold and blue suit of armor? Do you remember what the Beast wore when we danced with Belle for the first time? Yea, you should get the point.
I’m not a formally trained movie critic; well, for the thousand reviews we’ve written on products, restaurants, movies, etc. we’re not formally trained critics for any topic. Therefore, I just want to talk about this movie and experience a bit, while highlighting some key points of what stood out the most. Most importantly, I want to get one major point across.
I loved it.
I really did. Again, I couldn’t really tell you what my expectations were because I wasn’t sure, but I think they were lower. Well, they were far exceeded, but there were some personal changes I would have liked.
WARNING: Some SPOILERS ahead.
Here are my three biggest issues: (1) the auto-tune on Belle’s voice, (2) unnecessary lyric changes in Gaston, and (3) missing Beast’s iconic roar when he sets Belle free. Those were the only ones that really struck a wrong note with me. They didn’t butcher anyone else’s voice, they absolutely did justice to Be Our Guest, and they tried to make up for the lack of roar with a new song by the Beast. My issue with that was, the Broadway play is phenomenal. Alan Menken, who is a deity in soundtracks and stage music, created a beautiful score for the 1994 stage musical and If I Can’t Love Her, sung by Terry Mann, is one of the greatest performances in the history of Broadway. For me, they really missed an opportunity here, but these are little things that might have just bothered me.
Then there were changes that didn’t really bother me; the mirror was painfully small; the West Wing wasn’t quite dark enough. Still, some were great additions. The bookshop owner is now a Priest, running a small church with a modest book collection. They decided to bring the Enchantress to life and integrate her into the story, not only by showing her, but also by adding more depth and history to Beast’s curse. With that additional magic, they added a back story for Belle’s mother. They changed Maurice from being an “inventor of everything” to more of an artist. Again, most of the changes made were great because in the end, they kept the skeleton of the story intact, and I loved that.
It’s probably obvious that I could write a dissertation or a novel on the subject, but I want to leave it at this; as a person who clearly “likes” the 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2017 live-action adaptation. I thought it was well-cast (even though I should have played the Beast); the soundtrack was absolutely beautiful; the sets and costumes were out of this world (jaw-dropping, stunning); the screenplay was well-written and directed. It was, all in all, epic and enchanting. Finally, they even brought Celine Dion back for a song to accompany the end-credits, that were done so well with so much attention to detail.
Oh, and I can’t help but give them credit for doing justice with my favorite scene “Something There.” I enjoyed some of the comedic touches such as Belle taking the massive snowball to the face, LeFou changing sides to work against Gaston, etc. Also, they did a great job with The Mob Song; it couldn’t have been done much better. Okay, I’ll stop now! We hope you enjoyed it and totally recommend that you go see it in theaters because it’s such a marvel that a home television couldn’t do justice. And as always, stay hungry and fit!