Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast (2017)

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Tale as Old as Time

An adaptation of the fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.’ (IMDb) (by Bill Condon, 129 min.)

 

Beauty & The Beast is one of those classics that are written in the memories of countless childs all around the world. It’s also the first animated movie being nominated at the Oscars for the Academy Award for Best Picture, so you can immediately see that this was a huge success and a truly remarkable film. One of a kind really.

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When you do look closely to the animated feature, you can see there are some plot holes that aren’t explained and for which there still aren’t any answers. But the sheer beauty of the picture and the story, make that you don’t notice them or don’t mind them. I didn’t and I still don’t. But when Disney announced they were making a live-action version, everybody, myself included, hoped they would do something about those plot holes.

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And the most important question of them all: will this movie, with a long list of A-list actors and actresses, be any good? The director and actors, the producers and the entire team stood before a huge piece of work with a lot of expectations from all different sides. First pictures that were released eased the minds of many and when the first trailer dropped you could feel the pressure release a little bit. Yes, this movie would be beautiful. Yes, the beast does look a bit strange, manipulated by a whole lot of CGI. But yes, Emma Watson is marvelous as Belle and can actually sing.

So, what did I think of the movie? (because off course, I had to see it as quickly as I could.)

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It was marvelous, just marvelous. I enjoyed it so much. From watching the trailer, you could already tell that they would follow the story of the original closely. But after reading here and there, it became clear they would give a lot more information, a lot more background story and they would fix a few plotholes. Are they all fixed? No. There are still some burning questions that aren’t answered. But most of them are. What happened to Belle’s mother? If Beast is a prince, where are the king and queen? Where is Mr. Pot? Etcetera…

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With the different backstories and some other little things that help to understand the story better and to make it feel whole, you feel absolutely absorbed by this film. The narrative is the same as the animated movie. You do recognize everything and our favourite songs return. With some new songs (Evermore, the most important addition and to my opinion one of the bests) the movie flies and takes us on a story we know and love.

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It all blends beautifully together. The graphics are amazing. Lumière and Cogsworth are funny and recognizable, but still a bit more modern and given a bit more expression in their ‘new’ bodies. Emma Watson is beautiful as Belle and her costumes were an ode to the animated movie. Especially the yellow gown was flowing, beautiful, but simple. A bit more refined than in the original, but I thought it was gorgeous. The one thing I was worried about was the Beast. In the trailer you could easily see that they used a whole lot of CGI to make him as real as possible and I thought it looked a bit fake in the trailer. And I had the same thought when I first saw him in the shadows. But then he came into the light and everything changed. It was as if I saw him for the first time together with Belle, and all my thoughts about CGI and other graphics faded away. I was lost in his eyes, in they way his mouth moved. I’m highly anticipating the release of the Blu-Ray to see how they made it all possible. To see a sneak peek of how this came to be.

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The blend of the actors, the music, the cinematography, the songs, the costumes, the production design… Everything felt beautifully in place and you just feel the love for the original of all those who participated in making it. Bill Condon stayed true to the original, but found a beautiful blend between the original material and his new ideas, a perfect blend between the style of the animated feature and his own.

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A beautiful rendition of a classic and one you must go see in cinema to see it in all it’s glory. The reason I only gave it 8.5 stars, is because I still wanted more. This is a world I love and I revisit every time to dream away with the music and the story. And while I’m glad they sticked to the story and gave us a little more backstory, there are still some questions left unanswered. The second reason is the freaking effects they put on Emma’s voice. You feel Disney and Emma herself as well, weren’t a 100% sure if she could carry the songs, so they decided to help it along and put some auto tune on it. That’s really unfortunate, because I do believe she would have been able to carry it completely.

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I’m loving it though and I already want to go back to the cinema to see it again… It’s a real charm…

8.5/10 stars

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