Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

I’ll just get right down to it: nothing in this movie worked for me at all. I really cannot understand what it is that makes this movie so well-liked.

This is my opinion: Beauty and the Beast was a cheap, tacky remake that tried to branch off from the 1991 animated original in all the wrong ways.

Whew. There, I said it. Now let’s move down from the ‘what’ into the ‘why’.

First things first (literally in this case), I would really like to address that opening sequence. This is really the moment where I began to question why I was sitting in my living room watching this.

I guess I’ll start with something small, but really confusing and annoying: the Prince’s makeup, which was hella on fleek (I don’t know how to use slang) but crazy unrealistic. Seriously, what was with that whole Black Swan motif he had going on there? It’s crazy unrealistic for a French prince to put on elaborate makeup more akin to a stage actor in this era and country. What this screams to me isn’t “This movie is set in eighteenth-century France!” but rather, “We’re a little confused as to when this actually is, but our makeup artists are great!”.

Yeah, I’m a little confused too. I feel like this was one of a few laughably absurd ways to get the movie to feel like a fairy tale, rather than a historical piece. It really failed. I feel like the reason about why this just didn’t work is because there wasn’t enough variety in costumes to pull the whole thing together. I’m going to briefly compare this to 2015’s Cinderella. In Cinderella, there were dress styles from the 1830’s, 1880’s, 1950’s, 1700’s, and some very modern, chic costumes that were mixed and truly blended together to create a setting utterly beautiful and timeless. In Beauty and the Beast though, everyone was dressed in something from the 1700’s, making this movie feel like it definitely had a historical setting rather than a fairy tale one, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What made this a bad thing is the unusually patterned and colored clothes and over-the-top makeup that didn’t blend anything together, but just confused you because there wasn’t any sort of variety that needed to be blended together in the first place, making all those phony attempts at creating something magical very puzzling and almost strange.

Okay. Now that I’ve said that, let’s move on.

I believe that the Prince and how he was portrayed in this sequence deserve some mentioning. I really don’t think that his fatal flaws should’ve been vanity and over-indulgence, as they seem to be portrayed in this adaptation, what with all the makeup and all those girls and that awful music. For sins like that, a powerful and terrifying beast doesn’t really make sense as a fitting punishment (seems more like a step up to me, actually). For him to be turned into such a brutal and frighteningly temperamental beast, I think he should’ve been portrayed as a brutal and frighteningly temperamental man, rather than some wimpy, foppish playboy. It just doesn’t seem consistent with his character in the rest of the movie.

The last thing I’ll say about this opening before I move on to the rest of the movie is pretty minor, but it really just tied that opening sequence together as something horribly grotesque for me. The singing. Why, oh why did they pick lyrical opera music for this scene? First of all, the lyrics were distracting from showing us the Prince’s vanity by telling us about it. A very important, tried-and-true rule about any sort of writing is to show, not tell. These people could’ve gotten by with this scene and really delivered the Prince’s highly conceited character by just showing us the sequence of the expensive, elaborate party, Black Swan makeup, and room full of dancing girls without needing to tell us (through the song) that this guy was ostentatious and self-absorbed. Hello, we could already kind of tell. Plus, it was just awful to hear.

Now let’s get on with the rest of this showboat.

The beginning of the movie after the opening sequence was such a disappointment. Why? Because (heaven above) couldn’t you hear the autotune? Emma Watson’s singing didn’t even sound natural! Her voice must have been really freaking awful to justify all that tampering with it. I really was hoping that that crass autotune would stop there, but it carried on for the rest of the feature, to people whose voices probably didn’t even need it! Would it really have been so bad to have the actors learn to sing and have this film be a showcase of talent (like most are) rather than a jackdaw parading around in a rooster’s feathers? Give me a sapphire, not blue-colored glass!

Aside from that, so much of this film was glaring red GENDER POLITICS. And it wasn’t even subtle. This I believe was supposed to add to the plot, but it just kind of gave me the impression that the writers only had a month to write this and incorporate all they could into it, didn’t rewrite, and then just started filming. None of the dialogue is subtle, and by this I mean that everyone in this movie said exactly what they meant. This may sound like a good thing, but it isn’t. How often in real life do you say exactly what you mean? Not half of what you mean, three-quarters of what you mean: exactly what you mean, 100%, all the time. Yeah, didn’t think so. These characters would do so, and then it would just kinda slide right off, like their innermost thoughts and feelings didn’t really mean a whole lot. Like, sure, maybe it’d give the plot a little nudge or a push, but in the end it didn’t affect the characters at all. Night and day, was this written by a second grader?

I believe that actors are paid to showcase their talents and ability to portray real people that we can relate to and identify with. They give us emotions that either move us to tears, cause laughter, or really make us think. Actors who can’t do any of these things are wasting a lot of people’s money.

Hello, Emma Watson.

I’m sorry, but she ruins all the movies she is cast in. Well, why do they keep casting her then? Probably just because she’s pretty, was in Harry Potter, and is a super-feminist.

Which meant that she was perfect for Belle, right?

I mean, look at the similarities! Emma’s smart like Belle, and Emma’s pretty like Belle…um…uh…

Well, here’s my advice: hire someone who’s good at acting to be in a movie. I don’t care if Emma Watson is pretty or has a degree. She’s a terrible actress. She ruined Belle with her over-dramatic, shaky-voiced performance. I’m very sorry, but that’s how I feel.

On top of Miss Watson’s unsurprising failure, Kevin Kline (who played Maurice, her father) seemed just lost to his performance. His character was completely invisible to me, with absolutely no substance to get a grasp on. Luke Evans and Josh Gad (as Gaston and LeFou, respectively) were funny at times, but so many moments with them were very awkward and uncomfortable, as if they were trying to portray an openly gay relationship but at the same time trying not to. However, Dan Stevens really shone in his role as the Beast, coming across as a real, frustrated and desperate character and certainly outperforming his co-stars. Granted though, he was CGI for almost the whole feature, so…

All in all, the costumes and makeup were corny and missed the mark, The acting was face-palm worthy, the script was deserving of nothing more than a pitying glance, and THE AUTOTUNE was disgusting and very obvious, making Beauty and the Beast one of the most grotesque films I’ve ever seen. I would not recommend this to my worst enemy.

It’s funny though, because I felt like this film was Gaston and I was Belle, just because it was a frustrating film and I felt like it was insulting my good taste. Then again, I’m the one who sat down through the whole thing, so I guess the joke’s on me!

What do you think of this film? If you think it is deserving of praise or not, please tell me in the comments down below! God bless!

 

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