Dear Corporate Disney – Beauty and the Beast (2017) review


Where do I even begin with this. Spoilers obviously, but honestly, if you’ve seen the 1991 masterpiece, there are hardly any spoilers to speak of.

This movie was like the weird clone of a perfect human being. A clone that had so many things wrong with it, like a nose missing or one eye larger than the other or three feet. So you’d think the kind thing to do would be to kill it before it lays eggs. But that cloning company still keeps cloning – and won’t stop.
Quick review of the movie before I go into my rant about capitalism and the control of corporations.

Omg beauty – the MUSIC. The best decision they ever did was to bring back Alan Menken for this. Even though the original team was missing a very wonderful Howard Ashman (RIP), they gave the score an extra dimension, all whilst keeping that wonderful music we’ve all come to know and love. The added songs  (some from the stage musical) were wonderful, and I was pleasantly surprised by Emma Watson and her singing. Also I love that they kept the Beast’s song in this version!

The set and costume design – I’ve read a few reviews about how they didn’t even try to make it look realistic, but I actually did like the very quaint storybook feel of everything. Also all the bling – you honestly can’t go wrong with glitter ( I say as I still find glitter in all my crevices, 2 weeks after using said glitter).

Yay – No One has as Much fun as Gaston. Honestly if you asked me my dream role in any stage musical, I would ,without a doubt, say Gaston. He just has so much fun as a character, used both as comedic relief and hellish villainy. Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou were the only ones in the entire movie who looked and sounded like they wanted to be there. They really played with the nuances with their characters and actually brought something new the film.

The character of the Beast – I have my own issues with the Beast’s CGI, which I will articulate later, but they made this Beast so much more relatable! Yes I am aware that I am relating to the Beast and I need help, but hey, he was so snarky and likeable when he wasnt throwing tantrums.

Meh– Emma Watson. I never thought I’d say this :(. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great Belle, I suppose I should blame the director for this. She was so underwhelming, and brought nothing new to this character. Also, her Hermione was showing the whole time hehe.

Nah – The supporting cast. They did not utilise them at all. You have a wonderful cast at your disposal, and honestly, they were so dispensable you could have had anyone in those roles and it would have been ok. I believe I will put the director on the Chopping block in the next point but oh god, there were so many missed opportunities with them. Also, when you have Audra McDonald in your cast list, you make her sing, goddamnit. She had a total of 45 seconds of singing time in this film and I was so disappointed I could have cried.  Also, shout out to Ewen Mcgregor’s terrible French accent. Also, an actual thing that happened in the theatre when we were watching this movie.

Lumiere (on screen) : what if she’s the one?

My roommate: no, but you are the Obi Wan for me!

(Both us of us silently chuckling for the next 5 minutes)

God,  I wish they had picked Jean Dujardin for this role.

The added plot points – pointless (punintended). Absolutely pointless. The book that takes them anywhere, the shoehorned back stories of their parental issues – unnecessary and not well articulated.

Oh God Please Make it Stop – Sigh. The CGI – what made The Jungle Book a good adaptation was its convincing CGI. This one was worse than a lot of CGI that came out of the early 2000s. Honestly, I was more convinced by the wolves in The Day After Tomorrow than the insipid recreations in this film. The Beast’s face was Super distracting and I really wish they had gone with their original idea of prosthetic makeup with CGI touch ups instead because Dan Stevens had some great expressions which would have come across way better had the CGI been good.

The editing – nope. Just nope. Bad choices all around.

There was nothing new – really though, some parts of the movie were just frame by frame recreations, with exactly the same dialogue like they just could not be bothered with the whole thing. I feel very strongly about this, and will articulate about it later.

The Directorial choices- *deep breath* who let the director of the last two Twilight movies get this gig? His choices were terrible. Here you have an almost frame by frame recreation, without the artistry of it all. There was no thought out into anything, the cuts were dodgy, and the cinematography meh. I’ll cite one unforgivable example – the Beast transformation sequence. In the 1991 film, it is one of the most beautiful sequences ever in cinema. You have the low angle shot of the Beast’s face transforming into the man as the orchestra crescendos and your heart leaps. The camera stays on him and your eyes are glued to the screen.

Now in this version, they start off the sequence normally, and as you’re expecting the big finale, they have the gall to cut to the outside of the castle as the transformation “glitter dust” is shown through its windows. Worst decision ever.

Overall: uninspired and pretty underwhelming. The directorial choices were terrible and amateur to say the least, and the CGI made me feel that had just one guy on the helm, getting increasingly frustrated at the render times so he decided to cut everything by half, and photoshop them instead. This movie was pretty much by the book, like a student who had just finished a film theory course but had slept through most of the lectures. If it weren’t for the pure nostalgia, and Gaston, I hardly think I could have sat through it.

Which brings me to mindless corporate money making ventures.

I love Disney, anybody who knows me even a little bit, knows that this has been my one true passion – to work at Disney, even if it means donning the Mickey suit. Disney specialised in making wholesome, gorgeously artistic films that became instant classics in their day. They had passion and love in their movies, and this was what made me love them so much. But Corporate Disney, why are you so caught up in your money making agenda that you forget the very roots of your films? Why make bad reproductions of  already masterpieces when you have the Creative talent to make more of the art that put you here in the first place?

Are you lazy? Why are you acting like Corporate monkeys hankering for easy cash because you know the Disney name would get you the crowds without trying? You have just made a movie that was absolutely not required. It felt like it was done for the sake of it, quickly and lazily cobbled together because you don’t want to let your brilliant minds come up with anything new.

Please Disney, bring back the love. This breaks my heart. Stop with the live action remakes. The closing of your 2D department was the first step to your mindless money making venture, please don’t mess this up. Do what you do best – bring love for the craft of animation back to this world.

Oh, and don’t mess up The Lion King. This is not a request.

Rant over.

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