Disney seem to be in a trend of live-action story re-telling as of late, with their newest addition to their film slate coming in the form of Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon. Starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast and Luke Evans as Gaston, the film has now had its world premiere and the critics are having their say on whether or not this ‘tale as old as time’ is worth YOUR time and spare change.
Check out excerpts from some of the biggest outlets’ reviews below, and click through to read each in full…
Nicholas Barber, BBC.com: “While the new film isn’t terrible, it’s difficult to see what the point of it is as long as the cartoon exists. Beauty and the Beast is simply a cover version of a chart-topping song, played with such anonymous competence that Condon’s motto must have been, ‘It ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Another motto might have been better: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t remake it.’”
Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine: “Beauty and the Beast is unlike so much princess-centric lore in that the woman does the work of saving the man, not the other way around. It’s also piercingly explicit about the unpredictability of love, the way it sneaks up on us unbidden. That idea is summarized neatly – yet confoundingly – in a line from one of the songs: ‘There may be something there that wasn’t there before.’ The line is both a riddle and an answer. If you’re old enough to have heard it for the first time in 1991, it almost certainly means something new to you now.”
Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent: “The familiar ingredients are all here. On a visual level, the film is just as enchanting as you would expect with lots of snowscapes, gold flakes and images of rose petals. Condon does full justice to action scenes like the final reel fight on the castle ramparts or the sequences in which the snarling wolves attack the Beast and humans alike. Overall, though, this feels more like a re-tread than a re-invention of the first Disney film. It’s certainly not a beast of a movie but it’s not a beauty either.”
Dan Callahan, The Wrap: “Condon’s Beauty and the Beast is the kind of enormous production in which it seems as if anxious executives were pressuring and second-guessing the decisions of the creative team. The result is a star-stuffed relay race that looks like an assignment more than anything else.”
Michael Arbeiter, Nerdist: “Tough though it may be for any straightforward romance to match metal with the screwball antics of animate flatware, part of the fatal undoing of this new Belle is in star Emma Watson’s ostensible yearning for material with even a microbe of real-world edge. Watson, a noted talent and card-carrying heroine of her day, feels curiously out of place as a doe-eyed yesteryear princess like Belle, much in the way a Beauty and the Beast this beholden to its forbearer’s genetic code feels to the big screens of 2017.”
Tom Gliatto, People: “After a while, as the human performers and the CGI effects combine to whirl you breathlessly through the movie, you may realize that the original Disney cartoon was more graceful, and that its flattened dimensions perhaps allowed it to sustain the story’s different elements in better balance.”
Sandy Schaefer, Screenrant: “The live-action Beauty and the Beast may not achieve instant-classic status the way that its 1991 predecessor did, but that’s as much a testament to the high bar set by the latter than anything else. Condon’s Beauty and the Beast delivers enough in the way of classic Disney romance and musical delight (served with a modern edge) that it ought to manage to please most fans of the original animated movie, as well as the younger generation of filmgoers who have never ‘heard’ the Tale as Old as Time before.”
Kristy Puchko, CBR: “Maybe Condon chose to give in to the nostalgia rather than challenge it with something brazenly new. But this surrender to repetition makes the film feel astonishingly unnecessary. When a filmmaker diligently recreates the frames of comic book in its movie adaptation, perhaps that’s being true to the art. Perhaps it’s fan service. But it still allows for innovation and invention in the motion that sets cinema apart from comics. However, when a director gruelling recreates shots, staging and performances that have already been captured on film, well, that’s just ‘Psycho’ 1998, an arguably interesting experiment, but one that feels like a wasted opportunity to take bolder gambles.”
Beauty and the Beast hits UK cinemas on March 17, 2017.
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