Is the new, live action Beauty and the Beast worth watching? Probably not. Will you end up watching it anyway? Yes, you will. Through a combination of either children, significant others, or just plain curiosity at all the alleged controversy surrounding it – you will be dragged to watch it.
As a musical, it is competent enough IF you have watched neither the original animated film, nor the Broadway musical. However, that would also mean that you are between the approximate ages of two and four years old.
This movie does nothing new. And, an argument could be made that it is actually far inferior to both its previous incarnations considering that it must have cost many times as much to produce. The addition of live actors actually seems to have detracted from the charm of the original significantly, and is quite obviously Disney’s attempt to double dip into the Broadway musical’s success.
And that is just what is wrong with Beauty and the Beast. At the very heart of it this is nothing but a musical, and a musical lives or dies on the performance of its cast; not how pretty you make the set pieces.
To be fair, it started off quite promising. The first act was an almost frame for frame reproduction of the original cartoon. Then, it quickly devolves into a Michael Bay-ish orgy of CGI on CGI-for-the-sake-of-blowing-their-CGI budget.
By a mile, the most egregious overuse of CGI was the ballroom scene. It focused way too much on how pretty the room was, and almost completely ignored the interactions of the characters.
As for the actual performance of the cast? It is about what you would expect for an ensemble cast of veteran stage and film actors of this pedigree. Not terrible, but fundamentally nothing that will make this THE definitive version of this tale as old as time.
As for the controversy, we are sure that most of it was just manufactured for the sake of ticket sales. LeFou’s character has not actually changed at all from the original. He is just as effete and flamboyant as he was in the cartoon, and the only difference is that he has been given more lines to articulate himself with. And the underlying message? Pretty much the same as it was in 1991. And that is just it – this film changes nothing.
If you have children, the original cartoon will be a part of your family library. When the inevitable revival of the musical happens you will throw your dollars at that one, too. But despite its mediocrity, this film will still make a billion dollars or more at the box office. All from our curiosity and nostalgia. – The Binge