Monday, April 10, 2017

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

I didn’t grow up watching “Beauty and the Beast”. I was Belle. I dressed like her to watch the movie. I taught myself to walk and read at the same time. I knew (*cough*know*cough*) every song, and I secretly called my bike Philippe. My neighborhood was surrounded by open space, and sometimes I would ride Philippe to the fields to run to the top of a hill and sing.*

You can imagine how intense my fangirling was when they announced the live-action film. They were going to make my movie! It was going to be real! I had loved the live-action Cinderella, so I had high hopes for Beauty and the Beast.

Maybe that was the problem–I was so excited and hopeful that nothing could’ve lived up to the world inside my head. I enjoyed the movie. Really, truly enjoyed it. But there were a few things amiss, and I’m curious to know if anyone else agrees with me.

First, let’s talk music. It was beautiful, wasn’t it? Nearly every character who sang did justice to their songs. I was impressed with Luke Evans; actually, his songs were possibly the best scenes of the whole movie. But… (how do I say this without being mean?) Emma Watson’s songs felt out of place. The autotune put my teeth on edge. I found myself bracing myself whenever one of Belle’s songs was coming up, simply because I hate autotune. It doesn’t make a tune. It makes a robot.

Which leads me to casting. Was there no Broadway ingenue who could have sung for Ms. Watson? Don’t get me wrong–I think she was a great choice to be Belle. She is a wonderful actress and person. But I think the movie would have been better if someone had sung for her, since the producers obviously thought her voice wasn’t strong enough.

I also question the casting of Ian McKellen, whose voice didn’t really do it for me. It felt like he was relying on his presence as the Great Ian McKellen to carry Cogsworth’s character, but it just didn’t work out. Mrs. Potts was slightly better cast, but still not 100% in my mind. Yet, if you ask my bff, the absolute worst, most despicable casting choice was deciding that Philippe was no longer a draft horse.

On the other hand, Le Fou, Gaston, the Beast, Lumiere, and Maurice were perfect. So. Perfect. Can anyone claim that pub scene wasn’t fantastic? I wish I could love the rest of the cast choices as much as I loved Gaston. And for the backstory changes they made, Kevin Kline’s portrayal of Maurice was splendid. Or maybe that’s just my crush on his version of Cyrano talking…

I did appreciate the world: the castle, the village, the feeling of being somewhere you loved dearly. The story choices the writers made were well-done and believable. Those added details made the screenplay feel fuller and rich.

So, all in all, Beauty and the Beast is worth it. I didn’t love all of its parts equally, but the great ones tended to make up for the ones I didn’t fall head over heels for.

What did you think of it?


For another lovely Beauty and the Beast story, Michelle recommends Robin McKinley’s Beauty, which is one of her Top 5 favorites of all time.

*I’m not ashamed. I was adorable.


  1. Haven`t seen the new B&B movie. I used to watch the old series back in the 80s, don`t remember much about it. However, given the time period, I doubt it has held up.

    I did a similar thing when I was a kid. I named my bike Trigger, wore a Lone Ranger mask and strapped my six shooters (cap guns) onto my belt. The hard part was to getting an orchestra to play the William Tell Overture whilst riding bikes behind me. We didn`t have boomboxes back then.

  2. The other day, our local cinema put two films in one theater. The marquee read "Beauty and the Beast Power Rangers". Lack of punctuation made for an interesting crossover.

    I named the bike Silver, not Trigger.