Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The trailers for Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens) indicated that this would mostly be a shot-for-shot remake of the original animated Disney film, but I suspect few movie goers have a problem with that.  When you combine a beloved story, excellent songs, gorgeous visuals, and the star power of Emma Watson, you are surely heading for cinematic gold.  Beauty and the Beast may not surprise, but it delights–and that’s all it needs to do.

The film does flesh out a few parts of the story, adding motivations for the protectiveness of Belle’s father, showing why Belle is such an outcast in her village, and elaborating a little on the Beast’s past.  Some moments in the original story that may have puzzled viewers are explained or modified.  For instance, in the original it’s unclear how a bookseller says in business in a village where the only reader borrows and does not buy books.  This version gives a nod to viewers’ questions by creating a more realistic scenario for Belle to borrow books.

Questions of feminism and how this version would address it and the potential of Stockholm Syndrome surrounded the film before release.  Belle’s character is fleshed out more so that her strength, kindness, and fearlessness are highlighted.  And there is at least one extended scene where viewers can see the Beast’s kindness and the connection he and Belle forge.  Belle also directly addresses her status as a prisoner.  These moments are few and short, however, so that the bulk of the story focuses on the familiar scenes, with a few dialogue changes to keep things fresh or add humor.

However, the story really does not need many changes to be strong.  The makers seem to recognize that the relationships are what really drive the story.  By focusing on the bonds between individuals, whether it’s a father-daughter relationship, a romance, or a friendship, the film finds its heart.  Love in all its forms is supportive and powerful and transformative.  The message may be as old as time, but it is a message that continues to resonate.  No modifications needed.

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18 thoughts on “Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

  1. Sarah says:

    I still haven’t had a chance to watch this yet! Hopefully I will get to see it soon – it sounds just like what was promised. The traditional disney version brought fully to life!

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    • Krysta says:

      It’s only been out a week, so you have plenty of time! 😉 My theatre was sold out so sometimes it pays to wait awhile. There were a lot of inconsiderate audience members at the viewing I attended.

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  2. luvtoread says:

    I’m glad they didn’t do the shot-for-shot remake. That is certainly how the trailers made the film appear! I really enjoyed the movie, and think I’ll enjoy it the more I watch it.

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    • Krysta says:

      I think they mostly did the shot-for-shot remake, actually. There were a few scenes fleshing out the backstory, but it’s not a new adaptation by any stretch of the imagination. But I wasn’t expecting something new so I wasn’t disappointed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luvtoread says:

        Maybe it’s just been awhile since I’ve seen the cartoon, but I thought it was close enough but not an exact copy. The most disappointing thing to me about it was the fact that I absolutely love the opening narration / music, and I didn’t so much care for the opening in this new version. I thought the songs were different enough too with the new verses and slight differences in lyrics & timing.
        I was going in thinking it would be identical, so was very pleasantly surprised when there were differences. But yeah, nothing terribly new or different, just fleshed out more.

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        • Krysta says:

          No, I wouldn’t call it an exact copy. However, I have seen some people disappointed the film was not vastly different from the animation. But I don’t think the trailers promised a new film. I think they promised the animated film made with actors and CGI. Which is fine by me. It was gorgeous, well-acted, and had just enough fleshing out to be satisfying.

          My friend was just complaining that they changed some of the timing for the songs! I guess they were trying to keep it a little fresh? But why mess with something so iconic?

          I was also disappointed by the song they gave the Beast. I laughed at a few of the lines…. I wish they’d used “If I Can’t Love Her” instead!

          Liked by 1 person

          • luvtoread says:

            Yeah, I wasn’t too thrilled with the new Beast song that he sings when Belle leaves. It felt a bit too upbeat and happy for that particular moment. I’d have to listen to it again, perhaps I misheard it, but that was such a sad scene and then he breaks out into this song and it just didn’t fit. I almost started laughing in the theater when he first started singing, which I’m sure was not the intended response 🙂

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            • Krysta says:

              I heard a few people laughing in the theatre when he burst out into song because, as you say, the timing seemed a little off. Which made me laugh. And then some of the lines were just funny. “She’ll still be with me even as she runs away” (I’m not sure of the exact words) is just funny. She’s quite literally running away from you and all you can do is sing about your love for her? Maybe think about why she’s running away from you? You imprisoned her and that allowed the villagers to imprison her father in her absence! Take some responsibility, man!

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  3. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I went to see this just yesterday and could not have been more satisfied. I feel that this is Disney’s best live action yet. I did not mind at all that is was pretty on point with the original animated edition as it felt so nostalgic and yet entirely new with the incredible cast. It was simply exciting for me. Executed superbly 🙂 I did pick up on a few of the more diversified elements that were tossed in, especially towards the end and applaud Disney for this! Great review ❤

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  4. Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

    I just saw this movie yesterday, and I loved it! I was expecting a scene by scene remake, and watching it I was not let down. I thought each scene was so magical and looked exactly like the animated version, which made me so so happy! I also thought Emma Watson as Belle was perfect and I liked how they fleshed out her character. I’ve also always had the ~unpopular~ opinion that Belle did not experience Stockholm Syndrome and it was actually true love, and I felt like that love was highlighted even more in the remake.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I don’t see Belle as a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, so I like that the filmmakers really acknowledge that issue with her line about needing to be free. They deliberately draw attention to the fact that Belle does not fall in love with the Beast until after she leaves. This is true in the animated version as well, but I think the makers were right to recognize that something needed to be said.

      And yes to love being highlighted! I felt like the whole movie was a love letter to all sorts of different love! All the relationships were beautifully done from Mrs. Potts and Chip to Cogsworth and Lumiere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Ah I’m so glad this worked!! I do have my concerns about these remakes being too close to the original, but I’m glad it works and you’re right, the original is so perfect, it’s not necessary to change the basics!

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