In recent years, Disney began transforming their classic animations into contemporary live-action films. With recreations like “Alice and Wonderland,” “Cinderella” and the “Jungle Book,” Disney has received mixed reviews. However they continue to explore the idea of modernizing their classics.
Recently, Disney released a new adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” that came to theaters March 17. I was hesitant to go see the film because I hadn’t been impressed with the previous adaptations, but decided to give Disney another chance. After seeing it I had the same thought: it wasn’t good.
Actress Emma Watson plays bookworm Belle, while Dan Stevens plays the infamous prince who turned into a hideous beast. Stevens did what he could with limited lines in his script, while Watson poorly portrayed the emotion of a girl whose father and freedom were taken away from her all at one time. With a somewhat awkward romance and moments where actors were missing emotion, the film lacked the charm the classic animation had.
Stevens was not only the prince in the first and last scenes, but also was the voice of the computer-generated image (CGI) Beast. His voice as the Beast made the audience feel his frustration as the petals of the rose were slowly falling off and his regret when he let Belle leave, which further developed his character.
While Watson captured the essence of Belle, she lacked any emotion and her singing sounded auto-tuned. I was sitting on the edge of my seat during “Be Our Guest,” but unfortunately for the audience Watson was unable to conjure up the same level of excitement. Her return to the castle to confess her love for the Beast finally showed me the emotion I had been looking for, but her expression of love was nothing compared to how I look at a pint of Edy’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. She wasn’t the Belle I had previously looked up to as a kid.
The film updated it’s original score with several new songs. During the movie, I felt the new and original songs seamlessly joined together, but by the time I was in the car on my way home I was tapping my foot to the tune of classics like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” rather than the forgettable new additions.
However, previously unanswered questions such as Belle’s mother’s whereabouts and what happened to the Beast’s family were finally answered in the film, and the scenes brought more depth to the storyline.
Along with the updates in the storyline, the sets were well thought out and pleasing to the eye.
The ballroom garnished with large bouquets of flowers and chandeliers catching the light with a breathtaking glimmer that left me in awe. The film’s impressive shifts from light to dark in each scene contrasted the village and the cursed castle.
The visual aspects of the movie were beautiful, but the acting was a little beastly. The lack of emotion in the characters acting left me disappointed. Ultimately I was left feeling confused whether I enjoyed the film or not. It did not live up to my six-year-old self’s vision of “Beauty and the Beast.”