BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Retelling a Tale as Old as The Terminator Part 2

FILM TITLE: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 2016 HANDOUT ... Emma Watson as Belle in Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio's classic animated film.

I’ve had real trouble sitting down with this one. I am a sea of conflict. I am pulled two directions and I don’t know what to do.

Do I praise Beauty and the Beast because it entertains in a throwback fashion that is sure to delight fans of the classic original?


Do I moan and complain about the regurgitation? Are we really ok with Disney simply remaking their cartoons as live action? Whatever happened to original thought?

I simply can’t decide so I will do both. The Pros and Cons. The Positive and Negative. The Beauty and the Beast.

The Beauty of the Film –

Fans will not be disappointed. Director Bill Condon has carbon copied much of the magic for the 1991 animation classic (The first to be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy). Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast hit their respective notes and flesh out the beloved characters.

This film, as the Disney live action adaptations before it, takes the opportunity to enhance the story. We see the prince become cursed along with his devoted house staff. An added element is the curse erases them from the memory of their loved ones which makes sense why no one ever came looking for any of them. The design of the film is breathtaking with opulent sets and gorgeous attention to detail.

Some may be put off by the character design of the Beast and his staff. The idea was obviously to go with realism: Lumière looks like an actual candle stick, Cogsworth a clock and Mrs. Potts is a piece of talking fine china. But they can easily look muddled and I found it to be distracting throughout the film’s run time.

A few songs are added and are welcome. The tone of the film reflects the sensibilities of an Old Hollywood Musical and there were plenty of times I was moved to tears of joy. Mostly because I took my five year old daughter (complete in her Belle dress) and her face would fill with life when the familiar songs would come to life.

Beauty and the Beast captures the feeling of the original and delivers on the promise of bringing a beloved film back to life.

The Beast Of the Film –

But why? Why? Why?

Why do we only make reboots and sequels and prequels? Why remake a 25 year old film, hitting most of the same plot points, singing the same songs, when you could just re-watch the original? We’ve already had Cinderella, Maleficent and The Jungle Book and there are more and more to come. The Lion King was just announced.

While these movies are solid entertainment we are destroying original storytelling. Look at the slate of upcoming films. A major proportion of what is being pumped out from Hollywood is nothing but “re-imaginings”. Movies I’ve covered so far this year are John Wick 2, Logan and Trainspotting 2. And I’ve loved them BUT I think we need to ask more of our storytellers.

Go and enjoy this film. It’s fine and it works. But also know, in the back of your mind, that this is lazy filmmaking.

Thanks for listening. I’m going to go take my Bi-Polar medication now.  

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