I just saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie. My thoughts, I liked it but Emma Watson was so auto tuned it wasn’t even funny.
That’s it in a general sense. I mean, obviously I’m going to say a little more say since this is a review (and recommendation of YA retellings) but I did enjoy it if I didn’t think about it and wasn’t being all nit picky.
The Disney version is probably my favorite animated movies and I saw the Broadway version every time it visited Houston when I grew up-which was a lot (save for the premiere-yes, it premiered in Houston). So, when I heard that the songs were going to be included in the film I was extremely excited.
Only thing, Emma Watson can’t sing. They auto tuned the hell out of her. I get she’s Hermione and that equals instant Belle, but if she can’t sing dub her. They did that a lot of times in the past (see: My Fair Lady) and it was for the better. It was just really disturbing hearing these songs arranged in a slightly different way to accommodate Emma’s not so great vocals. Also, new songs not a huge fan of them. I was hoping they’d use some of the Broadway show’s song. I did hear some orchestration of “Home” but I was also hoping they’d use some of the songs like “Human Again” and ” Me” for example. There were others as well, like the “If I Can’t Love Her” (AKA the Beast’s ballad) that they simply revamped into news songs and I was like-what, you had a good song to use already.
That is me being ultra picky and I know there’s a lot of different factors why they might’ve chose to use new songs and arrangements BUT…those songs were good.
I will give Luke Evans credit though, I think he did Gaston justice. He was entertaining and I thought he did a fairly good job performing. I also liked watching t him and Hugh Jackman having a Gaston sing off because….Gaston sing off and I was reminded that Hugh did the Australian show version of Beauty and the Beast and yeah….
Matthew Crawley was surprisingly not a bad Beast either. Though, it’s still weird thinking that Matthew Crawley was transformed into a beast (and they still don’t give us the Prince’s name so the purposes of this review I’m calling him Matthew Crawley, though I think the Disney Wikia list it as Adam) . I thought Lady Mary if any of them would’ve been the one turned into a monster for being rude to poor Lady Edith (who is so a wannabe Enchantress if there ever was one) . But that wasn’t as weird enough, seeing him wear an obscene amount of eyes shadow, high heeled shoes, and powdered wig.
Oh yeah, the movie decided to go heavy with the period costumes which made me blanch because we all know the French Revolution happens soon after the movie and…
Though the really weird thing about the period costumes is they seemed mostly constrained to Matthew Crawley and the Downton Castle servants. Belle seemed to be wearing some sort of Free People inspired version of Beauty and the Beast wear that was very inappropriate for the time period-really, Disney was it necessary to see her bloomers? And that end dress really looked like one of my Anthro folding chairs being made into a ballgown (shudders at the thought).
But then we get to the yellow dress…which there are cosplayers outfits out there that did a better job. Hell, even Belle’s cheap ass dress of Once Upon a Time looked better. Hell, both Belle and Rumple’s Beauty and the Beast inspired getup looks better.
The CGI was pretty God awful too. But I’m not a fan of CGI in general so I’m just going to live it there.
For all the nitpicking I’m doing though, I did enjoy it. Those two hours in the theater reminded me why I love this story so much it has everything: curses, magic, books, redemption, dancing, ball gowns (though fugly ballgowns in this version), crazy villagers who act like Middle America did this election (seriously, “The Mob Song (Kill the Beast)” is pretty much is Republican fear mongering in song form and Gaston is how Donald Trump thinks he looks) , and Kevin Kline).
Yes, Kevin Kline. I think he’s the first person who actually made me like Maurice so props to you, Otto.
If you want to watch something that brings back childhood nostalgia I recommend seeing this one. Is it perfect-no. BUT I do think they kept the spirit of the original there. So if you can get past some bad auto tuning, Anthropologie chair dresses, and Matthew Crawley in heavy makeup you’ll like this one. Though to be honest, I probably really had wanted to see it had Lady Mary been the one turned into a beast (ppssss, Michelle Dockery can actually sing yall so maybe they could’ve gone there).
Overall Rating: B+
Now since this is technically a book review I thought I’d list some Beauty and the Beast retellings you might want to check out if the factors I mentioned are too much for you to want to see the movie or if you got hives from seeing Matthew Crawley in a wig:
- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Take Greek mythology and have one very bitter Belle and you get a very interesting retelling. Bonus points, for quasi evil Belle. I like how flawed the MC is here. I always list this as one of my favorite YA B&B retellings that I read there’s a reason.
- Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay: I really like the underlying lesson in this that has you questioning what exactly is beauty. Both characters undergo a transformation which is sweet to read about.
- Hunted by Meagan Spooner: I liked that this one grasps with one of the biggest issues I had with the original animated movie-wanting more. The chemistry between the two characters isn’t as great as some other retellings, but it is a fun one to read.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas: I was on the fence about putting this one on here because after the sequel I really don’t view it so much as a B&B retelling. BUT I think you could make the argument that we just didn’t know who the beast was in the first book. I am planning on rereading the first two books in the series before the third one comes out so we’ll see.
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik: I would say this one is more Beauty and the Beast inspired than a direct retelling but still fun.