Beauty and the Beast (2017) review – and a reminder of the power of animation

 

So I watched Beauty and the Beast a while back, and while I certainly enjoyed it for reasons likely similar to many others – the nostalgia fest of songs, the DANCE and the beautiful set pieces – I couldn’t help but find that it lacked something the original had that makes it so dear to us.

Perhaps this is especially because it is an extremely faithful and mirrored rendition of the original, hence some inherent differences stand out more given the lack of comparison plot-wise.

First, an unpopular opinion: Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle was lacking. Yes, I do love Emma Watson and think she’s a gorgeous actress. However, she seemed a little too much of Emma and too little of Belle – it’s like the whole time I get this impression that she’s saying ‘hey, I’m Emma, and I’m playing Belle!”

Also, while the CGI antiques were pretty well done IMO, they did lack the charm of the original – though I don’t really blame the filmmakers for this – as I think this boils mostly down to the power of animated films in general.

I rewatched Moana sometime after watching Beauty and the Beast, and felt so much more heavily struck – both emotionally and visually – by it. Animation allows for a beauty that can’t quite be captured by live-action CGI, I think of the adorable protagonists of Zootopia and the visceral climax of Moana, and I think about the 3rd, 4th and 6th highest grossing films of 2016 were animated films.

Films are meant to be an escape from the monotony of reality, and I think that’s why animated films continue to do so well – the good ones truly allow you to escape into an entirely different, visceral and often bedazzling world.

Which brings me back to Beauty and the Beast. Instead of truly offering an escape to the world of the beloved fairytale, my interpretation of Emma as Emma as well as the lack of slightly too realistic looking characters (though I once again emphasize that I don’t think this is the filmmakers faults, but a limitation of the medium), this rendition remains a notch below the timeless original for me.

Still,

8/10 because the music was lovely and so was the cast!

 

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