Beauty and the Beast Reviews
I also disliked the politics that were unfortunately unnecessarily added to the film, This is a disney classic and it is a shame they felt they needed to add this nonsense.
I will spare you the story, because you almost certainly know it. I really like how little it deviates from the original. The songs are all there, the characters are well-realized, even many of the shots are the same. The relationship between Belle and her father is done very well, as is the relationship between her and the Beast.
There are a couple of new songs to pad the runtime. While they are well-performed, I don't know if it makes the move flow as easily as it could. I did enjoy the opening scene, fleshing out what was only told in stained glass in the original. Also, some of the songs were reworked to make them longer, which made some of the lyrics and editing less tight.
There's a mixed bag of acting here. Emma Watson is great, but her singing voice leaves something to be desired. I really enjoyed Dan Stevens as Beast. Kevin Kline is also great as Maurice. While Luke Evans gives his all as Gaston, I disagree with the decisions they made (he should have been a bass, not a tenor). Josh Gad is well-cast as LeFou. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen play off each other very well as Lumiere and Cogsworth.
Nostalgia is definitely a main reason why I enjoyed this. However, nostalgia for a great film still makes a memorable experience, even if it can't possibly live up to the magic of the original.
Bill Condon is an unknown director, primarily for one reason, his catalogue of films are practically tripe, yeah I'm looking at you 'Twilight', so why Disney entrusted him with a project of this scale is beyond me, probably revolving around financial gain, but heck this is still his strongest effort to date.
The best way to describe this film is that it's technically a shot-for-shot remake, but with extra filler scenes in-between. The main "wow" factor of this film is in its gorgeous production design and costume design, of which I wouldn't be surprised got Oscar nominations next year. The cinematography is generally rather alluring and the visual effects are pristine, but lack in comparison to say 'The Jungle Book' (arguably Disney's strongest live-action adaptation of recent years). I can't fault the acting (maybe Ewan McGregor's flimsy French accent aside) and the songs were executed brilliantly.
My main issue however, was how "dumbed-down" this film was in comparison to the original, perhaps kids of the 90's were just a little more intelligent and didn't need those gags... who knows, but despite it all, the film has that magical vista we all need in our life, something to make us smile. Sure, it'll never stand up to the original, and there are noticeable flaws lying about, but this aside it is still a charming film.