By Jeremy Say
Malaysia has made itself known many times to the international audience and generally, our image has not been very favorable lately. Beauty and the Beast just so happens to be yet another smudge on Malaysia’s image, all due to some ridiculous censorship issue with an alleged 3 second scene thought by some to be an “exclusively gay moment”.
Thankfully we still go the unedited version somehow, but the cinemas were packed with people wanting to see this movie. Now whether it was due to the news or people truly like live action musical remakes of classic Disney animations, I just had to find out. Actually I lied, I was dragged by my girlfriend to the cinema.
Beauty and the Beast is based off the 1991 animated film of the same name and stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as Belle and the Beast. The story is an almost exact retelling and in a nutshell is about an arrogant, but not evil prince, who imprisons a beautiful young farmer girl who later falls in love with him.
The characters are more or less just fleshy versions of their cartoon counterparts, with the stylization, CGI and costume designs being just as fantastic as the original. Your eye and attention is easily drawn to the more important characters, with their vibrant and colourful costumes standing out against an otherwise bland backdrop. Even the servants and the Beast himself are beautifully rendered as pieces of furniture and highly entertaining, just like in the original animation.
The acting in general was serviceable, though it does feels a bit rigid at times. As for the CGI characters, their expressions come off as being stiff with little to no emotion, but hey, at least the singing was good.
Otherwise all the characters are likeable and interesting, with LeFou’s character being the most interesting but still forgettable. Meanwhile, Gaston, and I can’t tell if this was due to the script or the actor, was completely and utterly dull. As for all you Emma Watson fans, you should be able to enjoy this movie regardless of any faults.
Visuals and Audio
Visually this movie is a feast for the eyes. Like I said before, you have beautifully dressed and designed characters. The only exception is the CGI facial expressions, which kinda remind me of the whole Mass Effect Andromeda issue. The sets and locations are well detailed and are beautifully designed.
As for the musical scenes – they were well done. I did, however, felt as if they may have overdone it. Not that the music wasn’t good, but the number of musical numbers show how little dialogue there is to move the plot along. The movie doesn’t really give you little reasons to care what happens to any of the characters with only just musical pieces to set up their motivations.
Now, talking about the plot, it’s nothing more than a dragged out version of the animated one. Considering there were no reimaginings or revisions of the plot or characters like a similiar project in Maleficent, the plot feels thin for a 2 hour-plus long movie.
Generally nothing is wrong with the plot if you think of it as a Disney movie, but there are a lot of plot devices to explain away discrepancies. It also doesn’t help that the story is of a girl who basically dislikes and disses her provincial life and town. It only when she is imprisoned, that she falls in love with her captor – a real-life phenomenon known as Stockholm Syndrome. Also there are some beast-iality implications here, just saying.
Beauty and the Beast feels like nothing more than a long draggy musical. It merely nothing more than candy for the eyes, and a soothing sound to the ears. It doesn’t have any of the charm from the original animation and just feels empty. At least there were some fun scenes in the castle to keep me entertained.
Sadly I have to admit that nothing really left any impression on me, well, all except for that last scene.
*SPOILERS* This is where Belle is dancing with the Beast-now-turned-Prince and asks him to grow a beard. His response was a smirk and some out of place beastly growl. WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT? It was so cringy that it is the only thing I vividly remember of the movie. What are they going to call the sequel? Beauty and the Beard? *SPOILER*
Even the so called controversial scenes were barely memorable. More of a blink and you will miss it moment, at least it was a nice touch from Disney and I have to give them credit.
This get a solid 6/10 for me, if you like musicals, Emma Watson or Disney stuff in general, it’s worth a watch. Otherwise, go watch the 1991 animation – it’s still so much better than this tepid reimagining – once you get pass all the hairy bits, that is.