This review is pointless. I don’t even know why you’re reading it. Surely you know everything there is to know about a Disney classic you’ve already watched countless times, on most occasions as an adult who should probably be paying bills or taking out the bins or whatever else grown ups do? Ah, but this version of Beauty and the Beast is a live-action adaptation, which means it has computer-generated characters instead of rubbish cartoon ones. There’s no way it’s going to be a pointless, worse version of the original.
Obviously, it’s a waste of time. Director Bill Condon’s real-life (if 70% animated constitutes real-life) recreation is more or less a shot-for-shot remake, which mostly fills you with depressing nostalgia when you’re reminded of the superior original and a time where you still had a full head of hair. For anyone who doesn’t remember the story or was despicably born in the year 2000, it’s about a bratty prince who’s turned into a beast by an enchantress and has to wait for someone who’s into bestiality to come along and break the curse.
Emma Watson is the one with a furry fetish in this instance. Modestly playing someone whose name is French for ‘beauty’, she really hones the whole being attracted to a fucked-up bear-dog thing. There’s a real sense that she genuinely prefers a creature with a mane and protruding fangs to a regular-looking bloke, which would be sweet – albeit a bit weird – if she didn’t know there was a prince underneath it all. Gold-digging bitch.
I would say Watson is due credit for that, but it’s undoubtedly more down to luck and accidental eye acting than judgement. Every line she fails to deliver in this film caused me to anally ingest my underwear in embarrassment. It’s astonishing that she can’t even say the word ‘hello’ without sounding like she’s auditioning for the role of an overtly British parody of herself. She sucks in air between every word, which is actually why this adaptation is a third longer than the original.
Dan Stevens is fine as the beast, but his animated face is not. Considering what Disney achieved with The Jungle Book and Rogue One – creating an entirely animated environment without a single real prop and resurrecting a dead man’s face respectively – the quality here is arse. There wasn’t a single moment where I believed I was looking at an actual bear-dog-man or whatever the fuck he is.
Consequently, I found myself wondering why they hadn’t opted for more practical effects. Beast’s face could have easily been an animatronic mask that raised its eyebrows whenever Belle tickled his ball sack. And Lumiere (Ewan McGregor with a fucking embarrassing French accent) and Cogsworth (Sir Ian McKellen) could have been puppets with the actors’ faces embedded in them, like victims of the London mafia, buried in cement.
As if to further prove my point, the only thing that was vaguely able to transport me to a slightly less bleak place was the production design. Whatever that actually means. The sets and shit, I suppose. Then again, the main success of the iconic ballroom and costumes is that they made me mumble, “yeah, that’s about right.” I’m sure that’s exactly the sort of response they were after when they set out to recapture the magic of a film they pretty much got spot on twenty-six years ago.
That brings me to the music. Now while I don’t have anything majorly against the use of Auto-Tune in Cher’s work, a Disney musical just doesn’t seem like the appropriate place to use it. Luke Evans as Gaston is the only one who doesn’t sound like he’s singing through an iPad app, which made me all the more annoyed when Josh Gad butchered his best moment in the film – the bit where they all sing about how great he is in a vaguely camp manner.
Speaking of Gad, he supposedly has Disney’s first openly gay moment as LeFou, Gaston’s man bitch. As far as I could tell, their relationship is no different to the one they have in the original. Maybe no one rewatched it properly. If they had they might have realised this adaptation was pointless. Like toenail infections.
Two and a half out of five.