Beauty and the Beast 2017 LA/NYC Re-Release IMDB
The new versions of Disney animated films with real actors, among which Beauty and the Beast is one more, begin to resemble the software updates of the iPhone. Press a button and the old caricature of Bella becomes Emma Watson, the Beast becomes Dan Stevens and maybe some errors are fixed in the system.
Beauty and the Beast, that “history as old as time” (published in France in 1740), could certainly take advantage of certain modifications. After all, it is a fable that invites you to find inner beauty and ends, curiously, with the once superficial prince falling in love with a beautiful woman whom he kidnapped and whose name literally means beauty. If you like to untangle these ironies, what a feast!
The film by director Bill Condon, which we could call “Beauty and the Beast 2.0”, seems to go in search of a purpose that goes beyond money. Much of the combination of real actors with digital effects feels less alive than the animated film awarded the 1991 Oscar: it has acquired a dimension but lost its pulse. The great performances and the great production design (the stages almost swallow the characters) strive to achieve a respectable film.
The Beauty and the Beast are in itself delightful. The songs of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are still catchy, but most of the great musical moments feel just like good versions of the originals. There are three new songs by Menken and Tim Rice, but they are less memorable.
The film finds its own energy but late. Condon changed many of the gender roles of the old story.