It's Pretty I Guess?

by

Beauty and the Beast is Disney's latest in the series of remakes of their animated classics, which include the mediocre to bad Alice and Wonderland (2010)and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) the pretty good Jungle Book (2016) and Maleficent and the GREAT Cinderalla (2015). The thing about these remakes is that, for better or worse, they tried to put a new spin on the original. AIWL, while flawed, went from being loosely tied together vignettes to a LOTR-esque epic fantasy; Cinderella was reframed to ACTUALLY be about Cinderella and give her some actual character (go back and look at the film. The main characters are the mice); The Jungle Book became centered around actual emotional and societal connection between Mowgli and the animals, and Maleficent was a Grendel level subversion of the tropes of fantasy good and evil.

Beauty and the Beast kind of does none of this though. This film opts to rather be a big budget, beat for beat, remake of the 1991 classic. There are minor changes here and there, like slightly more backstory for the Beast and the dynamic between Gaston and his crew being slightly different, but other than that, this film is essentially just a film that really wants to bank in on the nostalgia for the original, full stop. There might be a few reasons for that. One, the original is arguably the best thing Disney Animation has made, so there's not much to change. With the other films, since they were remaking older, and let's be honest, dated films, It was almost a guarantee that the filmmakers would have to change somethings up, but with Beauty and the Beast, since it's comparatively newer and the critical reception is still mostly valid and accepted, Disney opted out of trying to do anything new or engaging with the I.P.. Essentially what we have here is a really expensive looking fan film. And for what it's worth, for the sake of films that are trying specifically yo cash in on Millennial and Gen-X nostalgia, it's fine. Since the film is so beat for beat to the original, there's nothing technically wrong with it really. Outside of maybe some new songs that I didn't enjoy as much as I could of, and Ewan McGregor's bad french accent, the film is an easy enough watch. The problem however is that it just feels unnecessary. There's no reason to see this movie, outside of pure nostalgia, since the original one still exist and is still somewhat relevant in the pop culture ether. The other remake, both good and bad at least justified their existence by being different. Beauty and the Beast 2017 just felt like I spent 16 dollars to see something that was ok, but was done better in animation.

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