Thursday, 30 March 2017

Film Review No. 20 Beauty And The Beast (PG)

Strong Points:
Faithful adaptation of the classic, with modern day extensions
Great songs - old and new
Amazing visual effects
Great acting
Nice changes to the story to fill in plot holes
Can stand on its own...

Weak Points:
Singing was sometimes a bit manufactured
But best experienced as a nostalgia trip
Some words were stilted/felt added on

Took me a little while to suspend my disbelief

Some spoilers ahead:

In-depth Review:
It's a tale as old as time (if time began in 1991) and a fan favourite, but did Beauty And The Beast really need a live action remake? The answer is, probably not, but I'm glad it did. I went in expecting averageness at best (see Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland), but came out having really enjoyed the film (see The Jungle Book). It's definitely one of Disney's better live-action remakes and makes me hopeful that at least some of the 20 or so they have planned in the next few years will be good.

Although it took me a couple of lines at the beginning to suspend my disbelief (both the actors and characters are famous in their own right and so seemed slightly disconnected) I soon got into the film (even if some of the costumes were slightly 'cosplayey'. Another thing which took a while for me to get past was some of the singing seemed... off. Not bad, mind you, all the singing was great, but slightly manufactured. Therefore, some of the words coming out of the mouths and the shapes the mouths made also seemed slightly disconnected.

*Rant Alert*
Ah, look! A musical with catchy songs and good dance numbers, heavily invested in the past while changing its formula enough to attract modern artists. Oh. It's a Disney blockbuster. Must knock 20% off the rating for that right? I mean all it does is provide entertainment to the masses in a family-friendly and enjoyable way.
*Rant Over*

Song wise I was pleasantly surprised by how well they were able to translate the music of the original to here. Be Our Guest especially was really well done, and the visual effects employed were astonishing. They all seemed real, which is an odd thing to say seeming as it was a talking candelabra with the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The new songs added, while not as memorable as the originals, helped to keep the pace up in the second half of the film, with Beast's melancholy solo a highlight.

There were plenty of funny moments in the film, from Beast and Belle's snowball fight to anything with Cogsworth, but there were also moments of great tension and emotion from the pivotal fight scene between Beast and Gaston to Chip losing his movement just after jumping and nearly crashing into the ground. Everyone in the cast really gave their all in the film as well and seemed to enjoy their parts, no matter how small. 
I guess I have to do a quick mention on the 'gay subplot' involving LeFou. It involves a wink, a dance with another man at the end and some other euphemisms here and there. That's it. It's not a main focal point and cinemas shouldn't really be banning the film for it. That's all I'm going to say about the subject. However, I do believe that Josh Gad did a good job as LeFou, giving depth to the character, especially with him turning on Gaston at the end. 

The 'gay subplot' wasn't the only thing they added to the film, with extensions to Belle's family story (including the plague) and additions to Beast's character to fill in plot holes. For example, his age when being turned into the Beast is raised from 11 and it is explained that his servants stay with him out of loyalty to him and pity due to his beast of a father, who turned him into the selfish prince he was before. 

Conclusion: if you're new and accept that you want to 'be their guest' in the film then you will be pleasantly surprised by the film. If you're a long time fan then be ready for a feast.

Rating: 90%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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