Both Kiz and I saw the Beauty and Beast Live Action movie opening weekend. We did live videos from our parts of the world before and after the movie to share our initial thoughts on the whole film.
We thought it would be nice to give a detailed review of the movie. I (Cassie) am sharing my thoughts here, but then you can also see our video thoughts on the video below!
I am going to share the things I liked and loved, the things I didn’t and some spoilers. Note that there are spoilers all throughout the post, but I will specifically tell you when I am about to share the big spoilers!
Things I loved:
- Cinematography – the cinematography was beautiful! I loved the landscape, the depiction of the castle, the French countryside and the French village. The opening scene and song are just like that of the movie! Great opening song and the music, scenes, villagers and sequences mimicked that of the animated version!
- Followed the Story Line – Similar to Cinderella, it followed the story line exactly, except for the very end. I can’t think of one scene from the animated movie that they left out of the live action movie. They got in every scene and every song from Disney’s original animated movie. But this movie is over 30 minutes longer than the animated counterpart. So as you could guess, they added 30-minutes of storyline and music to the movie. The additions were great, appropriate and fit well with the story. The spoilers section has additional details on the additions/ending.
- Living Characters Were Amazing – I was blown away by the way that Disney was able to bring to life real objects. I really had no idea how they were going to pull that together. It was very well done. These are the real objects found around the castle that had come to life. The crazy thing was that they looked like real objects, yet they were alive. It was so believable as they didn’t look fake at all! Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Chip are just a few of these unbelievably believable live objects. I would imagine that this type of live action movie mastery is a difficult one and Disney certainly mastered it!
- Great Cast – the cast was a fantastic pick! I had one issue with Emma Watson, but it wasn’t her performance or fit in this movie at all, it totally had to do with her former character. I talk about that in the cons. I especially thought Luke Evans as Gaston was a perfect fit and he played the villain so well. He was the character you love to hate! His facial expressions, confidence and charisma made the movie! He just might be one of my favorite Disney villains. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Kevin Kline playing Maurice. But after seeing the movie, he was a good fit (other than the fact he could have been a little plumper, but the face was all there). I also thought Josh Gad was a perfect fit for Le Flou. He’s the same actor that was the voice of Olaf and the part of Le Flou is a quirky, silly, sidekick – so Josh Gad fit it well here, just like his sidekick role in Frozen. If we couldn’t have Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts, I think the pick of Emma Thompson was a great second choice. The rest of the cast was a great choice too! I didn’t know much about the actor playing Beast, except for the fact that he is gorgeous! However, during the movie, there was something oddly familiar about him and his dreamy face though…Dan Stevens. Does that ring a bell (or a Belle)? It didn’t for me either, but I recognized him. So I looked him up – he is our beloved Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey. I broke the day he died so it was nice to see him revived again. 🙂
- Fight Scenes Were Relatively Mild – I know many were concerned about the violence for the young kids with the wolves and the final fight scene between Beast and Gaston. Perhaps because I watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the modern day live action super hero movies, violence has a different definition for me, but I actually thought this was quite mild. I think it was a bit more intense in the animated version. That being said, even if it is milder than the animated, the fact that it is live action adds that extra element of scariness. I honestly think the animals in Jungle Book and the fighting in those scenes was far more scary than these relatively mild scenes. I had my 8-year old with me, she partly knew what to expect having seen the animated version, but she wasn’t phased by it. If a young child wasn’t expecting it (meaning not seeing the animated version), I could see how these scenes could be a fright!
- Ladies Were More Modest Than The Animated – I LOVED this part. I was worried about those three ladies swooning over Gaston with their very cleavage revealing dresses in a live action film. It was over the top in the animated and a scene I don’t like in a kids movie. So these ladies in the live action had slight cleavage, but they were not bursting through their bosoms and I wasn’t worried they were going to pop out of place at any time like I was when I watched the animated version. I also don’t remember seeing their legs, like in the animated version where you can see all the way up their upper thighs. So I was thankful for the consideration of modesty in this movie.
- Belle’s final dress – Belle’s final dress is absolutely amazing! It is perhaps not what you would expect, but I want one! I will leave it at that!
Now I need to share the things I didn’t like as much, a.k.a. the cons.
- The Beast was just a little too fake – This was the part that was a little confusing to me. The other characters were so well done and so realistic, that I was disappointed with how fake the beast looked. The digital character seemed to get better as the movie played on in terms of more life like (or maybe I was getting use to it), but the first few scenes with the beast, he was so fake looking, like almost robotic. His movements weren’t smooth like a creature would be in real life. I am not saying he should be graceful, but he should be smooth moving and not clunking around like a digital robot. I know Disney can do it because the animals in Jungle Book live action were very realistic and moved smoothly, like the real animal version would. So I was bothered a bit by the fakeness of the beast.
- Hermione is typecast in my mind – This was the part I was referring to earlier. I could not get Hermione out of my head. I had a difficult time seeing Emma Watson as a future princess. This is not her fault, but my own view of Emma Watson. I kept thinking of a young girl and expecting her to pull out a wand and transform the Beast herself. But she didn’t. However setting aside my typecasting of her, she was an amazing Belle and perfect for the role as Belle as a French commoner if you didn’t already have this preconceived view of her.
- French but with English accents – that brings me to my next con. My girls even commented on this one. And perhaps it is because we have type-cast Emma Watson as a London native in her former roles, but the accents were English, British English. I am not really honestly sure what a movie filmed and done in English with a French accent would sound like, but the setting did not fit the accents.
- Some music was just okay – this was truly a musical, even far more than the animated. Some of the songs were great additions on one hand, but the actual music/singing wasn’t all that great. The opening song (Bonjour), Gaston’s Song was GREAT and Tale as Old as Time was FABULOUS, Be Our Guest was PRETTY GOOD (the action going on around the song was AMAZING), it’s all of the other songs I am referring too. GASP and GULP. 😉
- Not enough human beast time – or in other words, Prince Adam. I would have loved to see more camera time and hear the talking of Prince Adam more. He barely said a word. The animated version does not give him much screen time after transformation either, but they had 30-minutes extra to work with for this film, they could have given us a few more minutes of Prince Adam being human and interacting with Belle and the people more, beyond just the initial transformation. We do see him in the final dance scene for a bit, but he is not talking.
I will stick the video review here before the big spoilers so you don’t have to scroll further if you don’t want. 🙂
SPOILER ALERTS!!! Although there have been some slight spoiler alerts above, I will share a couple of other “surprises” for you. It’s your choice to read on, but you have been warned.
- Slightly Different Ending – I mentioned that the ending was a little different than the original Disney animated classic Disney had created over 25 years ago, but I actually liked the ending to this story a little better. In the original, she “falls in love” with him just in time, or in other words, right as the final rose petal fell that the castle was saved and the curse was lifted. In this movie, the Enchantress that put the spell on Beast and the castle in the first place was a village disgust, but she saved Maurice (another addition that is new but I won’t spoil that here) and then followed the townspeople to the castle when they went to storm the castle. She was there when beast was killed. And yes, he died before Belle expressed her love. The living castle objects had turned into antiques and were no longer living. Everything was dead and gone. The Enchantress witnessed all of this, and witnessed Belle’s love and opened the rose case and magically put the rose back together, thus the castle becoming alive, along with Beast becoming human.
- Beasts Song – One of the additions was a song by Beast when he let Belle go to rescue her father. It was a nice touch and addition and makes sense that he should have a song in a musical as a main character, but it was a little too awkward for me. I was already struggling with the fact he looked so fake, so to add the song, which was just okay, was awkward. I do think it fit the theme and storyline, but probably could have been done better. Maurice had a song too, but it was a bit more natural. It was short and sweet.
- Mothers’ stories – I loved that one of the added scenes was a scene showing how Belle’s mother died. I have always hated the fact that the animated versions have these main characters who have lost a parent, but we don’t know why or how. It’s been a big hole in the stories. I LOVED that in Cinderella. I love, love, loved it. It made the story feel more complete. I didn’t love the fact that neither Cinderella, Belle and even Beast’s mothers died, but I loved that Disney filled that hole in these live action films. Yes, I mentioned Beasts mother too. She didn’t get as much of a story told as Belle’s, but his parents are mentioned and a young Prince Adam is seen at his mother’s bedside.
There you have it! Those are my thoughts and both of our thoughts on video! We would love to hear your thoughts too? Have you seen the movie?