Beauty and the Beast (Spoilers, naturally)

WARNING: There are definitely some spoilers in here. 
Last saturday, I went with my twin to see Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast. I wasn't disappointed, as I didn't have particularly high hopes going into it. I loved Cinderella (2015), but I understand that a lot depends on the cast and the director, so the fact that B&B was also a disney remake meant nothing to me. 



The short version: Cute, yes. Amusing, sort of. Generally pleasant to watch, yes. Will I ever watch it again, probably not. I think it's worth watching, but I don't know if it's worth the price of a theater ticket.

The longer version:
Overall....it was okay. 
It just didn't translate very well to live action. Spinning rainbow plates is fine for an animated film, but if you are trying to make a more serious version, they won't do. The contrast between watching Belle's mother dying from the plague, to dancing tea-cups is a little strange. 
For those who loved the animated version, I think that the nostalgic aspect of this movie would make it more likeable, but for someone like me who prefers not-so cheerful, original fairy tales.....it's just not that appealing. 

It has a modern vibe. Fairytales, like Shakespeare, are timeless. Every summer, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival people put on a play (by WS, naturally). They do an amazing job, and often change the time period, while always preserving Shakespeare's dialogue. I love it. 

I would feel very differently if they set it in Shakespeare's time, and changed the dialogue to be more modern and up to date. Or any time, for that matter. You just shouldn't change Shakespeare. 
Anyway. My point is, it would be one thing if they had set Beauty and the Beast in the 2000s, and said things like "it's hero time". But they didn't. 

Beauty and the Beast is supposed to be in the mid 1700s, and as far as I can tell from the visuals in the movie, Disney was going with that. But the dialogue felt very modern. I don't expect thees and thous and all that, but I expect people to speak in a way befitting their setting.
I don't care about stuff like 'oh that dress is from a time period before they would have had a musket like that". But this movie felt more like modern people playing dress up, than 18th century France. 
(It is this same sort of thing, by the by, that I notice in Pride and Prejudice 2005 [as opposed to the splendid 1995 version]. The way people look and talk and behave has a distinctly modern feel to it, and I don't appreciate it.)



The Le Fou controversy. I don't want to get too into this, but I will say that it was quite subtle. There were a few innuendos, and at the end he can supposedly be seen dancing with a guy but I didn't notice. If you're looking for it, it's there. If you want to ignore it, it is quite ignorable. 



Belle: I was okay with Emma Watson's Belle. I think she has a good face for it, she is certainly very talented as an actor...but as a singer? Her singing was, to be honest, a little cringe-worthy. Not to say I could do better, but she just isn't well trained. Emma Watson has a lovely voice, she just isn't all that great at using it. A few more voice lessons, and she would have been good to go. And that picture? I feel like Sound of Music should be offended (or flattered?). They had a girl in a blue and white dress running up onto a hill to sing, and they even had a spinning helicopter shot. I almost started singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of music!" in the theater. 



Gaston: I like Luke Evans. I really do. I quite liked his singing, he did a splendid job being horrible. He is actually a very talented actor, and (like Richard Armitage, I'll speak more about him in a moment) was wasted in the hobbit movies don't get me started moving on. 




Beast/Prince: How do I say this nicely? Hmm. I don't like Dan Stevens face. At all. 
I have a bit of a personal prejudice against blonde men (no offense to you guys, just not my type) but my dislike of Dan Stevens face goes a bit deeper. Apparently I am about to be murdered by Downton Abbey fans? I don't watch that show (it's over now, isn't it?) but DS plays Matthew somebodyorother, and is apparently very popular. 
The beast, I liked. A good deal. He was sufficiently grumpy and witty and beastly and refined etc. When he was talking, I liked his voice, but not singing. I think the problem was that Dan Stevens doesn't have a low singing voice, so they tried to make the songs more growly and it came out all wrong. But when he was just talking gruffly, it was great. 

Now the prince. Sigh. If I had fallen in love with that beast (he is sort of handsome, in a weird way) I would be VERY disappointed to see him turn into Dan Stevens (okay, I've said that name too many times). There is a slight tribute at the end to how weird the transformation would be for Belle, where they are dancing and she says "could you possibly grow a beard". This was followed by a certain someone making a weird growly noise thing and it was very very cringy. 

Along the lines of the change being weird....she fell in love with a grumpy, beastly person, and then the prince is just sweet and charming (did I already say cringy? I cringed). I was later trying to think who I would have wanted to be the beast, and I decided on Richard Armitage (complete with some hobbit beardiness). He has a deep voice (that song....be still my heart) and a good one. He has a dark complexion and a less....spoiled-brat-prince face. I get that the prince WAS a spoiled brat but maybe he could come out with a face that was more sorrowful and less pouty. Don't you purse your lips at me, young Stevens.
I will say that Richard Armitage without a beard is just VERY wrong. 

As Belle, I would want my prince older looking, more careworn (I mean, considering what he has been through) and more...hairy? Beastly? Personally, I think that if she fell in love with beast as he was, would it have been so bad if he stayed that way forever? Just saying. I liked him. As you can tell, I'm rather hung up on this whole thing. The Prince and Beast are just too different. 



Look at that face! Now imagine that with the longer hair of the time period, and maybe a LITTLE more beard and that is WAY closer to what Belle actually came to love. He needs some fangs.


Also see how wrong he looks without a beard? I like how they used his beard as a contour to make his face look more narrow.

















Hugh Jackman was briefly considered (by me) for the role, but he looks too sweet even when he's angry. It's just one of those adorable faces that has too many smile lines to ever be properly intimidating. 
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Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: 
          



2 comments:

  1. I never thought of Richard Armitage or Hugh Jackman as the Beast but, now that I think about it, they would both make better beasrs. Your point about Hugh Jackman is very true XD

    I haven't seen the movie but I'm guessing my expectation will be along the lines of yours. Thanks for the review! It was very well done :D

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! As I said, it was okay, but Cinderella was so much better. I'm curious to see what happens with Lion King, I always liked that movie.

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