Ben Oliver

Banner image for Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

There are no such things as beasts, or talking teacups, or magic! But there are wolves, frostbite, and starvation!
21 July 2017

A live-action remake of the 1991 Disney animation. Emma Watson stars as Belle, Dan Stevens as The Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston.

This is a particularly clumsy and lifeless entry into the live-action-retelling catalogue. It’s colourful but devoid of intrigue or emotion. The set design reflects this; they clearly spent some real money in getting this film to look great yet somehow the feeling of being on a sound stage is more prominent than ever. It’s more Disneyland than Disney film.

Emma Watson acts like she’s in a 6th form stage play written by her dad, and there’s no real spark between her and Stevens’ CGI beast. The supporting cast hold it together but the charming animated objects you know and love are now merely soulless CG pastiches of the originals.

There’s also something weird about how this has been edited together. The camera sweeps and swoops around the cool set yet there’s little attention to detail or continuity. People teleport around with every cut, Belle goes round the same corner six times and objects seem to magically shift around. I’m not one to pick up on these usually but at some points you get bombarded with scenes that make no sense.

The obvious question with all of these recent remakes is ‘why?’ but just remember that this cost $160m to make and it took over $1.2b at the box office. When you’re making that much cash, wasting everybody’s time is a small price to pay.

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