Hey guys! As you can tell from the title, this is NOT a book review. This is a movie review instead! Why am I doing a movie review? Because this movie has our dearly beloved Disney princess bookworm of course (and also because it was awesome)! But, before you click away because you haven’t seen the movie yet, I will tell you how I’m going to review this movie. I will NOT spoil the movie for you! If you want a spoiled movie review I’ll give you all the details in a private message or, if demand is high enough, I’ll go watch the two movies again and review the movie scene by scene. For this review instead I will go over some of the questions, concerns, and points I looked for in this movie in comparison to the classic, and some other suggestions that my friends have told me I should discuss in this review.
So, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that I welcome you tonight. And now I invite you to relax, pull up a chair as the blog proudly presents: your spoiler free review of Beauty and the Beast!
Which movie was better?
So I decided to start with the hardest question for me to answer. Belle is my favorite Disney princess (right beside Mulan) and Beauty and the Beast has been part of my top five favorite Disney movies. No matter what, I will always have a special place in my heart for the classic 1991 film. And I think the director and producers knew they would never be able to replace Beauty and the Beast in many the hearts of many who grew up during the Disney Renaissance period (1989-1999). Instead, I feel the 2017 movie is an homage to the classic. Certainly, while watching the new film, you can see the references placed in the movie that call back to the original. The new movie has so much more than the classic movie that you could even call it an expanded version of the classic. If I had to state which one I liked better though… It would be the 2017 movie. I loved the 2017 movie. I felt the magic and love from this new film. I loved that this film was a musical instead of just a normal film. I can’t even adequately explain why I love this movie so much without getting into my other points other than I want to watch it again and again.
Before we get into more involved questions about the film, let’s go over some of the important points about the film.
How was the CGI?
Talking and moving furniture is easy to animate, but I’m assuming it’s much, much harder to make into CGI. How did Disney do not only having to computer generate talking and moving furniture, but also a huge Beast? I think they did beautifully. My husband, who watched the movie with me in theatres and who has a degree in programming, and I didn’t notice any lag or awkward parts in the film. Emma’s hand wasn’t hovering above the beast when it was supposed to be resting on his arm and the characters didn’t hover above her when she was supposed to be holding them or supporting them. The Beast didn’t walk unnaturally or move through other computer generated images. The whole moving looked real and if I was a child I would have believed that these events did take place. It looked so realistic and beautiful.
How was the singing?
Let’s just get this out of the way early on. Paige O’Hara did an amazing job as Belle and she will always be my favorite singing voice for Belle. She will probably always be revered for doing such an amazing job and she deserves it. Paige worked so hard at creating Belle and she was even the inspiration for Belle’s iconic hair flip and some of Belle’s facial features. But Paige can’t be Belle forever and Emma didn’t set out to take Paige’s spotlight from her. Emma made her own Belle character… and she did fantastic singing the songs. I’ve heard the complaints about the auto-tune of Emma’s voice, but, as I’m listening to the soundtrack for the second time, everyone is auto-tuned and auto-tune has become a common practice for movies and music nowadays. Also, Emma is not a trained singer in comparison to Paige. Paige did Broadway musicals for years before obtaining the part of Belle. Emma took classes for the singing parts of this movie and she did an amazing job. The singing for the other characters is equally amazing and the director did an amazing job at finding people that could harmonize well! Josh Gad (LaFou) does an especially excellent job in the Gaston song and Dan Stevens (Beast/Prince Adam) singing voice actually evolves as the movie progresses! You can tell Dan Stevens singing voice begins as beast-like and evolves to prince-like by the end of the new film. Audra McDonald (Madame Garderode), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Ewam McGregor (Lumiere), Luke Evans (Gaston), Nathan Mack (Chip), and Rudi Goodman (spoiler) all did an equally amazing job! I loved Emma Thompson’s rendition of Tale as Old as Time (however, my favorite will always be Angela Lansbury) and I thought that Audra did terrific for her aria and the ending song. The whole cast of this new film did amazing and I’ll probably have the soundtrack on repeat for months to come (if you think I’m kidding, I’ve had the Moana soundtrack on repeat since I saw the film).
How was the music?
In the new film they redid the classic music and I honestly LOVE the redone music. I love both versions, but I love this new version a tiny bit more. Alan Menken did an excellent job at keeping the music familiar but new at the same time. It was definitely a beautiful nostalgia moment every time an old favorite of mine started playing. I’ll discuss my two big songs (Tale as Old as Time and Be Our Guest) later in the review.
How did the movie flow?
One of my major complaints about the classic movie is that the movie doesn’t flow properly. Between the changing time difference it takes to get to the castle and the way the movie was originally constructed, it just doesn’t flow well. Don’t kill me, but the original movie feels a bit choppy in places. The geniuses behind this movie must have read the internet or my mind, because they rearranged some scenes and the movie flowed so much better. The time between the castle and the village also stayed fairly consistent in the film, which was always my biggest pet peeve because it seemed to take Belle on horseback a couple of hours at least to get to the castle from her home while the villagers could walk there in a few minutes it seemed like.
Describe the cast.
I slightly feared that the cast would be completely white like in the classic movie. While this probably would have been historically accurate, it’s not fair for everyone and it’s better to think that there was a place in the world that didn’t use Africans as slaves. When I saw, through trailer promos and the such, how diverse the cast was, I was ecstatic! I was far more surprised about the characters when I saw the live action film. The film included at least two interracial relationships and both the villagers and the castle-mates were so diverse. The cast even included two gay characters and Disney’s first canonical gay character! The casting of each character was superb in my opinion. I didn’t have any objection or questions to any of the actors that were chosen and they all did a fantastic job! To say the least, the cast was far better than what I expected!
How were the scenes and the scenery in comparison to the classic movie?
Some of the locations changed in regards to the classic movie. Belle’s house, in the classic movie, was located outside of town. In this movie, the house is almost right in the middle of the town. The town is also bigger and go is the castle. Because I consider any detail about the castle a spoiler, I won’t go into detail… but that library ;). Nothing else seemed to change location wise or scenery wise from the classical movie, this new film just made the existing locations more historically accurate. I adored it and I liked it much more than the classic film.
How were the costumes and… furniture pieces?
While I was saddened that three certain characters did not have their classic outfits, I felt the rest of the film’s characters had beautiful, historically accurate outfits. Belle’s outfits had some obvious changes and I thought they were all improvements from the classic film. I didn’t understand why she wore one outfit a certain way (it was pinned up above her knee on one side), but beside from that I loved all her outfits! They were all an homage to the classic Belle and she even had a new outfit towards the end of the film (maybe that outfit was an homage to one of the short films from Beauty and the Beast, but I haven’t seen those in years so I can’t be sure). I preferred Emma’s new wardrobe to the classical Belle and now I can find a yellow dress that doesn’t have off-the-shoulder sleeves! I also preferred the Beast’s outfits in this film. In the original, the Beast is still wearing clothes that aren’t completely shredded and it doesn’t look like he’s been wearing those for 10 years (the original timeline in the original movie). I’m also not sure how the original Beast had clothes that still fit him since the Beast would have been 10 at around the time the curse was placed on him. In the new film, the Beast’s clothes are torn and shredded. It looks like he’s been in those clothes since that fateful night! Another notable character’s clothing is Gaston’s. Gaston’s original outfit was supposed to resemble that of someone who was a hunter and someone of a high rank in the army. Gaston’s new outfit in this one was improved on that concept and it looked impressive!
The talking and moving furniture pieces in this newer film also got a much-needed upgrade. They look much more realistic and historically accurate! They don’t look cartoonish like in the original film. Notable ones that come to mind are Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Madame Garderode. Lumiere is very different from his cartoonish other half, but he looks more human like (as do all of them). Cogsworth is notable because of how his clock works and…. doesn’t work properly at times. Madame Garderobe was my favorite furniture piece. I loved where the animators placed her “face” and moved her when she talked. I loved how she came to life and how she moved! It was so different from the original film, but it was so much better. I preferred this newer film’s furniture pieces to the original film’s.
Is it historically accurate?
The original film got a lot of flak for having some historical inaccuracies. The story is supposed to take place in the 1740s, but in the classic film an image of the Eiffel Tower can be seen during the Be Our Guest scene, which wasn’t completed until 1887. In this film, the Eiffel Tower is nowhere to be seen even in the scene I thought that it would be placed in accidentally. And as I’ve been stating in the other bullet points, this movie kept to the time period very well. I didn’t see or hear any references to anything outside of that time period (but I will have to go back and re-listen to it to make sure). There is even one point where a war is mentioned, which would be either The War of Polish Succession which ended in 1738 or the War of Austrian Succession which began in 1740 and ended in 1748, both of which France was involved in!
Now that we got the important points of the film, let’s cover some of the more fun questions that my friends, my husband, or I thought of.
Did this movie fix the many plot holes in the classic movie? Were there any new holes?
Something you should know about me is that I watch a lot of Cinema Sins. My husband and I are very bad at “sinning” movies that we watch because honestly some characters do not possess common sense in movies. When we watched the original movie Wednesday night, we sinned the heck out of that poor movie. There were a lot of plot holes and inaccuracies with the original movie and I could explain them all right here, but that would lead to some spoilers for the newer film. If you Google “plot holes in beauty and the beast 1991” you’ll see what I’m talking about. So… did this movie fix them? Yes! This movie fixed all the holes and questions I had in the original movie. Were there any new holes? While I would have to watch the movie again, I only saw one tiny error in the new film and it was regarding Phillippe.
Was there any added scenes, dialogue, songs, etc? Did we get the back stories we all deserved to know?? Did some characters change from the classic movie?
YES and YES!!!!! There was so much added in the new film considering dialogue, characters, songs (SO MANY NEW SONGS), scenes, etc. A problem I had in the original movie was that Belle mentioned she wanted to travel and she was a bookworm. Outside of the library scene and one scene where King Arthur is mentioned, the original movie didn’t have any other literary references in it nor did Belle travel anywhere. It’s assumed she and Adam married and she lived out her life in the castle. This film had so much more dialogue regarding literary references and travel, especially one very beautiful and sad scene regarding Belle’s past. Speaking of Belle’s past, we got a back story on what happened to Belle’s mother and what happened to the Beast’s family. The Beast had so much information regarding his past which I loved! We hardly knew the Beast from the original film and having his back story in the film makes him so much more lovable. Gaston even had a little back story, LaFou had added dialogue and personality, and other characters and new characters had expanded stories that allowed the viewer to know each one personally. It made the movie that much more tragic and beautiful. But between the original and the new film, the existing characters did not really change. Maurice and Belle were the only ones that had notable changes in the film. Belle’s change was relatively minor, but Maurice’s was a major change from his original character. I liked Maurice better in this film because of the change and I believe it helped to establish a better relationship between him and Belle.
Did you see any hidden Mickey’s?
I’m honestly the worst at looking for hidden Mickey’s so I didn’t see any. When I go to re-watch the movie I’ll look harder for them!
Did you see any Easter Eggs that would allude to future Disney remakes?
YES! OMG I saw two direct references to two other Disney films and I hope they both get remade! I won’t spoil, but they’re quite obvious in the new film.
How was the Be Our Guest scene? The Tale as Old as Time scene?
Going into this new film, I had two parts from the original film that, in my opinion, had to be the same or better than those scenes in the original film for this new film to be good to me. The first was the Be Our Guest scene in the original film, which has always been regarded as one of the best scenes from the original film. I’ve listened to the music from the new soundtrack and rewatched the original Be Our Guest scene. I can honestly say that I loved the Be Our Guest scene from the new film a tiny bit more than the original movie. This scene seemed more theatrical and broadway-ish (I love Broadway) and it fit Lumiere and the dining room occupants better in my opinion. I loved how the director wasn’t afraid to make the scene a bit different from the original, but still kept a lot of it the same to the original. The second scene that had to pass my test was the Tale as Old as Time scene and OMG I think I loved it a thousand times better than the original. In the new film you can see the obvious awkwardness of the two mains at first (because this is their first date and there is always awkwardness with first dates) and it’s adorable! While the scene doesn’t do the ceiling downward effect like in the original Tale as Old as Time scene, it does a little of that effect in reverse which I thought was perfect and it gave me a “full circle” feeling. Both of these scenes passed my test with flying colors and I loved them so much!
Would you go see the movie again in theatres and/or buy it on DVD/Blu Ray?
As I’ve stated previously, I do plan to go see the film again in theatres and to buy the movie on Blu-Ray =).
Is it worth the money to go see it in theatres?
YES!!! It was worth every penny! Go check it out in theatres or pre-order it now!! It’s so beautiful and it’s worth watching again and again =).
Is this age appropriate for children?
While I was a bit conflicted with The Jungle Book on if it was appropriate for children without an adult, I don’t have any doubts about this movie. It’s very appropriate for children and adults of all ages to watch!
What would you rate it?
Hmmm…. 5/5 singing LaFou’s! I loved this film!! This will probably be something I have playing on repeat for years to come!
And that’s it! Those are my thoughts on the new film! Leave a comment if you have any questions that I didn’t answer or comment what you thought about the new film!