Written by: Brandon B
So I liked it but didn’t love it, I think if I hadn’t grown up with the animated film with my little sister rewatching it everyday then my reaction would be very different. I can understand why critics didn’t like this one because it really did follow the original beat by beat, maybe a little too closely. There wasn’t much that wasn’t carried over besides the “Gaston” reprise.
Overall, I thought the cast all did a good job. I liked Emma Watson, and I thought she turned in a pretty good performance, but she was obviously the weakest of the main cast. I was actually surprised that Dan Stevens nailed his performance being that he’s basically a rookie in Hollywood. The shoddy CGI in some scenes didn’t phase me because he turned in a great performance. Luke Evans made for a pretty good Gaston. Josh Gad was great as LeFou. So too was Kevin Kline as Maurice. All the actors playing the objects were great as well. Ian McKellen’s Cogsworth was probably my favorite character.
Evan McGregor really brought Lumiere to life as well, with his questionable accent aside. Kinda like any movie where an actor or actress’ accent isn’t great but it doesn’t matter because he or she is giving it his all. Speaking of which, Emma Thompson could have toned down the cockney accent too. She seem to be imitating Angela Lansberry but I still liked her as Mrs. Potts. Plumette, Cadenza and the Wardrobe had more depth than in the animated film (in the case of Cadenza, he was brand new) and Gugu. Stanley Tucci and Audra McDonald all were wonderful. A solid cast in general.
The songs and how they were staged ranged from good to okay. I thought “Be Our Guest” worked the best here, but then again it’s probably the most well known song behind the main title song. The best of the new songs was definitely “Evermore”. I even enjoyed that more than “If I Can’t Love Her” from the Broadway show, not the least of which for occurring at a point in the story where it makes more sense for the Beast to have an emotional ballad. As for Ms. Watson, I didn’t think she sounded bad per say, but autotune was obvious in more than a few places. She sounded strongest in “How Does A Moment Last Forever?”
The Beast should have had more screentime in the first half. He should’ve been involved in some scenes where the other object characters were. The ballroom sequence really didn’t hold a candle to the original film to be honest. That being said, there were a few things that this film did better than the animated film. The characters of LeFou, Maurice and Plumette were much stronger here, and some of the songs like “Evermore” fit perfectly.
Overall, while it isn’t a better film than the original, it certainly is a worthy companion to it, and in due time it might be one of my favorite of the Disney live action remakes. I would advise watching the original before the remake if you haven’t seen either though.