Review: Beauty And The Beast Brings Nothing New To The Table
There is no getting around that remakes and reboots are the order of the day. There is also no getting around that this isn’t going to change anytime soon as long as they keep making crazy amount of money. This became even more obvious when The Jungle Book made nearly a billion dollars so we should all settle in for a bunch of these. When the trailer for Beauty and the Beast shattered records, we all knew it was going to be a big deal but there was a question hanging over it; what are you bringing to the table that’s new? Why should we go see this movie instead of just rewatching the old one?
Beauty and the Beast is the kind of reboot that is good for the sole reason that the original is good.
The original animated movie from Disney is about as close to movie perfection as we could hope to achieve. It’s a masterpiece and while masterpieces are often copied and revamped, you also need to do something different to set the two apart. In the case of this version of Beauty and the Beast, the main thing they did was decide to shoot it in live action instead of animation. There are a few other small changes such as a new song, a little more agency for Belle (Emma Watson) and filling in some plot holes that never really bothered anyone. However, none of those things are reasons to go see the movie when the animated movie still exists.
All of the things that made us enjoy the original are there but it’s hard to justify the cost of a movie ticket for the target audience which are families with kids. We’re talking about nights out that are going to cost a pretty penny when the animated movie is a pop in the DVD player away. The moments where Beauty and the Beast really stumbles are the moments when it tries to be the original. The ballroom scene, for example, is a classic moment that hit extremely hard in the original but feels just a little flat in this remake. The “be our guest” moment is another that just doesn’t feel as charming as the original. There is also something along the lines of the uncanny valley when it comes to the various objects. The lack of Disney-esque cartoon eyes make them just a little creepy.
That is to say that none of this is bad. It takes a minute to settle into everyone’s singing voices but everyone’s got a decent voice in the end. The tempo of the well known songs aren’t the same as the original so I kept mentally stumbling as I sang along in my head, but I eventually was able to move on from it. Luke Evans is a lot of fun as Gaston and he gets more depth here that is actually one of the changes that feels significant and not superficial. The new song for the Beast (Dan Stevens) is fine but not very memorable.
Beauty and the Beast is an example of someone painstakingly recreating a classic like the Mona Lisa but in a different medium other than paint. It’s good but it’s really only good because the original is good. This doesn’t bring anything that the animated version didn’t and for first timer kids it’ll be great. For everyone else who has seen the original it just can’t hold a torch to an Oscar winning movie.