Beauty and the Beast Movie Review
Bestiality goes mainstream with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, its latest brilliant effort to make a lot of money by being completely unoriginal and remaking one of its own cartoons. Thankfully, and once again, this live-action version hits most of the right notes, offering up a fan-pleasing if unambitious incarnation.
Emma Watson, who has largely stayed away from big-budget films since she retired from the Harry Potter movies, stars as Belle, a beautiful, headstrong young woman who is basically Hermione without the witchcraft—but spends most of her time inside a magical castle full of magical characters. In short, she’s not exactly stretching it.
Watson still delivers a fine performance and certainly looks the part, while Dan Stevens does a good job voicing/growling the CGI-animated Beast. The two actors largely capture the chemistry found in the original animated version, making for a romantic adventure that will upset few fans.
There’s nothing particularly new with this live-action version, but director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Twilight: Breaking Dawn) does his best to insert some original moments into the story—ones that are largely unnecessary but don’t hurt either, though the film’s 130-minute running time seems bloated in hindsight, especially since its primarily targeted at younger audiences.
Where Beauty and the Beast really thrives is the visuals and production design. Not a detail was spared to make the film as gorgeous and extravagant as possible; the $160 million budget didn’t go to waste. As in the animated version, the real magic lays in the supporting characters—with the voice cast including Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor, Beauty and the Beast boasts plenty of energy and enthusiasm.
The best character is also the most controversial; Josh Gad’s LeFou, a gay man who lusts after his best friend and deliciously loathsome villain Gaston (the perfectly cast Luke Evans), is a riot and delivers some of the film’s best moments.
Beauty and the Beast is generally unnecessary, as the beloved animated version tells the exact same story, but given that Disney is determined to make live-action remakes of all of its classics, it’s an enjoyable if inconsequential trip down memory lane.
But seriously, at the end, it sure looks like Belle is willing to go all the way with the Beast. That's not cool, folks. That's not cool at all.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.