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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast 2017

The beloved Beauty and the Beast (*BATB) film stormed into cinemas yesterday but as a remake of the original 1991 animated Disney classic. The original film captivated audiences from around the world with many favouring it as their favourite Disney film, but how does the new remake compare? Well I went to go watch it yesterday morning, here's what I thought.

I can't claim the 1991 classic as being my favourite Disney film, but it's certainly in my top 5 so I had some expectation on what I was going to watch. I was a bit nervous on how the remake was going to perform. I had dozens of questions, like would the cgi of talking kitchenware look childish and how would Emma Watson perform as Belle? That's the problem with a remake; you never know if it's going to turn out good because nothing beats a classic, right? Then again, there has been films that have been much more enjoyable than the original like The Jungle Book remake of 2016 which I think was much better than the original. Controversial? Probably. It just goes to show that you never know what you're letting yourself in for. Presumptions and questions aside, I was pretty excited to go watch the remake of BATB.

Source: here.
So at 11.15 I sat myself down in the cinema with my falafel wrap and smoothie (yes that was really my choice of cinema food) and got ready for the film to begin. It began with huge amounts of colour and shots of the local village before diving straight into song and propelling me and the audience straight into it. I wasn't expecting such an exciting opening. I thought it was going to be good, but not great to the point my eyes were popping out of their sockets. There's nothing I love more than a film that captures an audience's attention as soon as it begins because that's a clear sign that the director is dying to enthral his viewers. And Bill Condon certainly did that. My attention was his from the moment I saw Emma Watson singing with the local villagers. But if you're thinking it was just in the beginning BATB had my attention and not throughout, you'd be wrong. Sure there was once or twice when I got distracted and was off-focus for about 10 seconds, but as soon as that happened the film found other ways to capture my attention. From the loud articulate beautiful voice of the gorgeous Luke Evans (Gaston) to the magical dance in the ballroom scene between Beauty and the Beast (which had incredible birds-eye view angles). There were all sorts of ways the film got me to continue watching.

What I particularly enjoyed was the humour throughout the showing. It was nothing like in the original animation. It was witty jokes and sarcastic comments which is certainly my type of humour, but maybe not of the target children audience. Strange that there would be so much adult humour in such a childish film, but I'm not complaining. It made me want to watch. It was really funny, the whole audience was laughing. Of course the best humour was from that of Gaston with him being a smug self-absorbed character, but all his jokes emphasised the kind of care-free person he was. Disney really captured his character, but also that of LeFou's character who had a much larger role than in the original film. Different to the original, LeFou's humour was very camp and flirty which was hilarious to watch because it was unexpected considering he was not made camp in the original.

Disney really experimented in this remake by changing the characters, from presenting LoFou as gay (presumably) to making Gaston more evil.  They almost exaggerated their personalities which made an interesting watch. Although this was mostly good, I found Belle's character a little disappointing. Sure, Watson played her part well and her singing was okay, but the one characteristic that lacked was her enthusiasm and happiness. I was questioning this throughout the film and found myself becoming annoyed at why she wasn't cracking a smile like Belle was constantly doing in the original. Maybe this doesn't sound like a major thing, but to me Belle's smile is important. It's who she is.

As for the houseware characters (Cogsworth, Lumiere etc) I was impressed to see how the CGI created them. It didn't look how do I put it, terrible. In fact, I was rather impressed with how well the talking chinaware looked. I would go watch this film just to see the CGI alone because it was that good and certainly the team deserves an applause for it. I'm normally not a fan of huge amounts of CGI in films because I feel it distracts from the movie and areas like acting and script can fail, but not in this movie. Everything was up to scratch.

So is the film worth going to see? 100%. No matter if you're a Disney person or not you'll enjoy this one. I saw children, mothers, couples, mums and sons, a group of boys, a group of girls, I could go on. Everyone was seeing it because it was so suited to all age groups and people. I've only seen it the once and I already want to go for round two! Highly recommend.

Watch the full trailer here:


What do you think of the remake?

Liam
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