What stood out for us, our biggest disappointments, the new additions and twists that gave new meaning and depth to the story line, plus a small soapbox! Come be our guest and listen as we share our rants and raves about this live-action version of the classic 1991 Disney animated film on our Beauty and the Beast movie review!
Because Beauty and the Beast has just been released at the time of this recording, the first part of our Beauty and the Beast movie review will be spoiler-free.
Spoiler-Free Beauty and the Beast movie review
If you liked Disney’s 1991 Beauty and the Beast animated movie and thought, “I wish the graphics were better and they had a couple more songs,” then you’ll love this 2017 version! The 2017 Beauty and the Beast movie was enjoyable. Almost everything was great; acting, singing, sets, and costumes were all amazing. The moments it deviated from the original were a little more engaged, but a lot of the time you already knew what was going to happen next especially if you saw or grew up watching the original 1991 animated film by Disney. However, it would have been nice if they did a little bit more with some of the moments they deviate from its animated film version. It was engaging, but almost too far off the main path.
With very few expectations, it was surprising that this version would be a full musical. We knew that they would be reusing some of the music, but we thought that this would be like the recent live-action Cinderella movie; retelling it but kind of going back to the original to retell the story. Still Disney-style, but still a different movie. This particular Beauty and the Beast movie was like going to see a musical live that you’ve seen before or are somewhat familiar with, but with the original Broadway cast or because you have heard of the cast recording and you were off to see it again with an entirely new cast. It’s different, and you’re kind of comparing the whole time, but find it still enjoyable. The 2017 Beauty and the Beast movie stayed very true to the Disney production, using the same soundtrack with additional songs and plot twists and backstories, very much like the recent live-action the Jungle Book movie, which included the song “Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.” In spite of including the songs that were originally in its original Disney animated film, the Jungle Book’s storyline completely changed. It was also cool that, once again, Alan Menken got to do the music for this live-action film, who also did the music for the 1991 Disney animated film of Beauty and the Beast.
The graphics and background of the movie was lovely. They showed the Beast’s castle so many times with so many sunrises and sunsets, which was one of the highlights in the movie. The fact that they can translate them so beautifully into the movie and the way they used that iconic castle was very noticeable. Because it’s live-action, it makes it seem more magical because you’re seeing these characters looked so life-like but be so not human. There were some really cool 3D moments right from the very beginning, giving its viewers to appreciate its depth. Beauty and the Beast is a fun movie that Once Upon a Time fans would enjoy and love.
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Beauty and the Beast movie spoilers
There was some controversy about this 2017 Beauty and the Beast movie because director Bill Condon mentioned in an interview before that it would include an “exclusively gay moment,” making it the first Disney movie to have an openly-gay character. We’ve seen some groups saying that they are boycotting the movie. Yes, there is a “gay moment” in the movie when LeFou gets danced with a man in the end with a look as if he has found his true love with this man, as well as little, subtle hints that LeFou might have some feelings toward Gaston. That said, this controversy seemed insignificantly small compared to the other things that was shown in the movie, such as violence, hatred, and weird relationships.
By the way, in case you missed it, Josh Gad, the actor who plays LeFou, was also the same actor who provided the singing and speaking voice Olaf in the movie Frozen.
It was cool how some of the moments were explained a little bit more and made it more obvious compared to the original Disney animated movie, such as the snowball fighting. There were a lot of elements in this version that they tweaked that fixed a lot of problems with the original Disney animated version, one of them is Belle’s attitude towards the villagers in the beginning. With this live-action film, they used the same song but managed to have her knew her neighbors. While they still thought that Belle was odd, she was clearly more involved. They even pointed out how Belle stood out and was ahead of her time when her father said that she was like her mother—courageous, fearless and ahead of her time, who was dying from the Black Plague so they had to run away so they wouldn’t catch it, too. This alone gave the story, and the father-daughter relationship more depth.
While it seemed that they went a little too far off with the backstory about Belle’s mother, it also made sense for it to be a big mystery and reveal. We loved how they tied the rose in with that backstory, too. There was so much symbolism of the rose in the movie and even her father getting taken by the Beast because he was trying to take a rose for Belle.
It was exciting that one of the people that was shown in the movie was Audra McDonald, the actress who played Madame Garderobe. While the whole prologue scene was weird and disturbing, it also told the story better. It gives the audience an idea that all of the village was involved and suffering from this curse because they have been made to forget the castle. Even those with loved ones who worked in the castle was made to forget. The party with only the most beautiful women in attendance was very creepy, though.
The way that Gaston was portrayed in this was more entertaining. In a cartoon, there’s only so much detail you can give the character because it is two-dimensional, so to see a human with all these subtle facial expressions and movements made it so much entertaining. To see how ridiculously stuck-up Gaston is and how full of himself he is was a lot more fun to watch here than in the animated version. LeFou and Gaston’s back and forth banter was fun to watch. They set it up so well that illustrated her strength and independence that it adds depth to the actions between Belle, LeFou and Gaston.
Thinking back through, a lot of moments were done in a really different way, like the first time Belle went to rescue Maurice and asked to trade his freedom for hers. We also loved the way they added embellishments to Belle’s yellow I’m-not-a-Princess princess dress and how they pulled this glistening, pretty glitter bugs from the ceiling and magically infused them on to the dress.
The enchantress twist was slightly complicated because one of the things they did very well in this Beauty and the Beast movie version is highlight the lives of the people in the castle and what pain that was causing them, the separation and what was at stake for them. It was interesting and moving, it was sad to see everyone slowly moving and freezing. Although they did that very well, it kind of begs the question why she would do that to the entire household just because he doesn’t have a love in her heart. We liked that they brought the enchantress through the story, like she was part of the story at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end through Agatha.
One of our biggest disappointments about this film, however, was that they didn’t get any of the iconic voices from the original 1991 Disney animated movie to play in this, such as Angela Lansbury to play Mrs. Potts. It kind of wasn’t fair to Emma Thompson playing Mrs. Potts because Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts was a tough act to follow and, as disservice to the visual for Mrs. Potts in this movie is so much less life-like. That being said, if you look into this movie as a stand-alone, those who they did cast to the roles were good fits.
One other disappointment from this movie is Beast’s transformation, which was actually the same beat to the original animated film. This is one of the most magical moments of the movie, and it would be need to stretch out longer a little bit more to see him go through the transformation even more slowly.
It was a nice nod to the original 1991 Disney movie that they had Celine Dion sing one of the songs in this new Beauty and the Beast movie. It was also cool how they panned and show the murals towards the end of the movie, which was very similar to its Disney counterpart. This Beauty and the Beast movie could replace the 1991 Disney animated movie not only because of its similarity, but also because it was like an extended edition with better graphics and more songs that were nicely done and fit so well.
What do you think about the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie? Have you seen it? Do you recommend it with fellow Once Upon a Time fans? Share your thoughts with us using the comment section below!
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