Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast Live Action Review

I've been thinking about reviewing Disney's latest live action offering, Beauty and the Beast, ever since I watched it. While I would rather it be in video format I don't really have much time to sit down and film at the moment, so thought I would write a blog post on my thoughts about the film while its still relevant.Now I'm not someone who reviews movies, so bare with me through my turbulent thought process as this is going to be far from a perfectly written review.

Beauty and the Beast has been one of the most anticipated films for quite a long while, even before casting was confirmed. I am always a little hesitant about Disney live action films, especially after seeing how they butchered my favourite villain, Maleficent. My faith was restored by Cinderella, which I think was done beautifully, but I was still a little on the fence when Beauty and the Beast was announced. I wasn't surprised when Emma Watson was cast as Belle, not really seeing a reason why she shouldn't be, even if the Harry Potter nerd in me was screaming "She will never not be Hermione!" Fast forward to the first trailer release, and I found myself rather excited. However, as more trailers and clips were released, the more disappointed I became. I just wasn't at all that bothered. Now here is where the real review begins. Sitting in the cinema with my friends, a fanta ice blast and some salted popcorn, I tried to go into it with no judgements.

The first thing I have to say is that Belle was the weakest part of the whole film. I found her lackluster, her auto tuned singing awful without any sort of emotion and her acting rather stagnant. Then comes her chemistry, or lack of, with the Beast. I just didn't see any sort of connection between them at all. Everything felt forced. Let's not even talk about that ballroom scene that had me cringing so hard that I had to cover my eyes at one point. I mean, I know that at the end of the day it must be incredibly difficult for an actress to show emotion towards a cgi beast, but I just expected more. Did anyone else also hear that random growl made by human beast at the end of the film? NO NO NO! I just cant even. 

Now let's talk about the strongest part of the whole film. Gaston and Lefou. These two literally made the whole film for me. Their character development was shown so well and I found myself waiting with anticipation for their next scene. What I love about Luke Evans' portrayal of Gaston in particular, is that he was shown exactly as I imagine Gaston to be. In reality, the character of Gaston is the worst Disney villain of all, as he could be anyone. He is the most realistic. He portrays the real issue of domestic abuse. At the start of the film I almost found myself feeling sorry for him and half rooting for him. That is, until he doesn't get his own way and snaps, becoming a vicious monster. You can see in parts him trying to control his temper and manipulate those around him to get what he wants. It actually makes me kinda nervous about how many people gush over Gaston as he is truly a horrific person. 
Lefou is another character who really impressed me, having so much more personality in the live action than was ever given to him in the animation. Josh Gad really made Lefou his own and I found his little quips hilariously sassy. Their chemistry together was outstanding and their scenes made me feel so many things from pity to anger to empowerment, at Lefou's actions in the castle.

Other stand out performances included Maurice, who I really connected with and felt for during the film; the duo of Lumiere and Cogsworth, who else belly laughed at that one liner by Ian McKellan at the end; and Plumette, who was never a stand out character in the animation but had a more central role in the live action. 

The story itself generally followed that of the original film, but gave us more of a backstory to Belles life, which I loved. Having those unanswered questions included within the plot made me connect to the story more and I really enjoyed hearing more about Belle and Beasts families. I also enjoyed how the characters within the castle had relatives in the village and really like the fan theory currently circulating, that the village was frozen in time along with those in the castle.

The cinematography of the film was simply breathtaking. The visuals were one of the most redeeming qualities about the film, being an absolute joy for my eyes. The "Be Our Guest" scene was one of my favourites of the whole movie, it looking and sounding incredible. Speaking of sound, I do have to say that i wasn't a fan of the new songs. I just found them a bit dull and uninspiring. The song everyone is gushing about, Evermore I believe it's called, was just super unnecessary for me and I found myself wishing it would hurry up and be over.

Overall I did enjoy Beauty and the Beast, but it was just okay. I am a total Emma Watson fan, but she just wasn't Belle. Belle and Beast just didn't live up to my expectations. The rest of the film, amazing, but with the main characters not being a highlight, I just don't find myself loving the film. By all means it wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect either. 

What did you think of the Beauty and the Beast live action adaptation? Did you love it or find it just okay?

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