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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Author Topic: Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2114
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 03-16-2017 05:51 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The live action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson is mostly a very faithful remake of the 1991 animated film. At times it is almost a shot for shot remake, but it does take time to expand on some of the things which were considered plot holes in the original movie.

The animators did a masterful job of bringing inanimate objects to life. This is something which is easy to do in a fully animated movie, but the effect could easily be creepy or cheesy in a live action movie. A few of these characters didn't quite feel right, but that had more to do with they type of object rather than the animation - specifically the piano and the wardrobe.

The movie contains all of the favorite musical numbers from the animated film, and they are mostly done the same way. This works well for all but the Be Our Guest number.

The movie has stirred some controversy over having an openly gay character. Generally I find this to be much ado about nothing. The character in question is portrayed as being more flamboyant than in the animated movie, but it mostly comes off as a major man crush. The controversial "gay moment" is two male characters dancing together an smiling, and it lasts about 2 seconds. There is nothing overtly gay or subversive; certainly nothing more than kids have seen in other TV shows and movies.

My only real complaint about Beauty and the Beast is that it runs too long. There is a point in the middle of the movie where is starts to feel long. Perhaps this will be less noticeable to someone who hasn't seen the animated movie, but I still feel like the movie could have been 15-20 minutes shorter and been better for it.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-17-2017 12:30 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've never seen the animated version from beginning to end; we played it, of course, but we were so busy that I never got a chance to watch it. Thanks to digital, we were able to pre-screen this one, which wasn't always possible in the film days.

I liked the movie a lot, maybe a little bit less than the "Jungle Book" or "Cinderella" remakes, but better than "Alice in Wonderland" or "Maleficent." I think Disney has settled on a pretty good three-step game plan with these remakes:

1. Don't screw with the story too much, but add enough extra details to make it worthwhile
2. Enhance where it needs enhancing, making use of modern technology
3. Don't cheap out on anything

Emma Watson was great in the lead role but she sometimes seemed a bit overshadowed by the large supporting cast.

Josh Gad gave the movie most of its best laughs. I thought his flamboyance toward the beginning of the movie was a lot more "gay-ish" than the 1.5 second dance bit at the end, but who knows? I think most kids will be on too much of a sugar high to notice anything about this whole issue, and I'm suspicious that Disney may have thought NOBODY would notice it, and they tried to cozy up to the gay community a bit by publicizing it. We'll probably never know.

The household items brought to life were a hoot ("I don't have tastebuds"). I especially liked the bit where the piano character shot his keys at the bad guys during the big battle, and then when he became human again he had almost no teeth. Emma Thompson was my favorite of the household-object characters and she did a nice job on the signature title tune. (When is somebody going to make a movie with an all-Emma cast?)

I agree about the middle part feeling longish...but it wraps up very nicely at the end. The big battle scene is a little outlandish in spots as most of those scenes are, such as when the Beast seems to become light as a feather when he jumps around from turret to turret on his his castle.

The only part of the movie that sort of bugged me was the framing of it...I kept on feeling that the picture was sort of crammed into the frame, and then it hit me...this movie was made for Imax type squarish screens. The effect was most noticeable during a couple of the musical numbers. Dammit, Disney, the vast majority of people will see your movies on regular theater screens now, and TV-shaped screens later....why not make the movie for the format most people will see it in?

One thing I was glad of, was not to be watching this in 3-D. Since most of the movie takes place inside a dark castle and/or a dreary forest at night, the picture is pretty dark throughout, so a lot of the details would be lost in 3-D. I would, however, love to watch the "Be Our Guest" sequence in 3-D -- it's a visual feast.

I was quite surprised the movie didn't get a PG-13 rating, given the level of violence and "peril" in a few spots. Some kids will be nightmare-ized.

Everybody in our group loved it, and I think most people will feel the same except maybe a few parents of scared little kids. 4 stars out of 5 from me.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-02-2017 10:35 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We watched the animated version today. As noted above, I'd never seen it all the way through.

I fully expected to think the animated version would blow the new version away, but I would have to say I like the live-action version better. There is so much detail in the new version that the animated version seems over-simple by comparison.

I also liked some of the singing in the new version better, especially the male voices. They seem almost operatic in the animated film. (I realize some people may view that as a good thing.)

The big fight scene featuring the household objects was more "cartoony" in the animated version -- meaning, not as serious. It was played more for humor than it was in the new film.

I liked the ballroom scene in the old movie better than the new one, for reasons I can't nail down -- it was less elaborate but seemed grander in the old film. I like Emma Thompson's rendition of the title song the better of the two, however.

Knowing that the old movie is 47 minutes shorter than the new one, I was fully expecting it to really go by quick; but it seemed about the same length, somehow.

The new version is so rich, visually, that it bears repeated watching to pick up more details. But after watching the old version, I didn't come out of it wanting to see it again right away. So I'd still go with 4 stars out of 5 for the 2017 version, and 3 out of 5 for the 1991 version.

Maybe I was expecting too much from this beloved, revered animated classic. Or maybe after all these years of not seeing it, I just got over-hyped. We watched the animated "Jungle Book" right after that remake came out last year, and found it pretty lacking too. Maybe some of the hand-drawn features don't age all that well in this digitally-enhanced day and age.

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Daniel Schulz
Master Film Handler

Posts: 362
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2003

 - posted 04-03-2017 12:53 AM      Profile for Daniel Schulz   Author's Homepage   Email Daniel Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
The only part of the movie that sort of bugged me was the framing of it...I kept on feeling that the picture was sort of crammed into the frame, and then it hit me...this movie was made for Imax type squarish screens.
The IMAX version was 1.9:1 and not the almost-square 1.43:1, but I agree with you. It's really frustrating to me when they frame a film for IMAX 1.9, and then basically letterbox it down for 2.39 'Scope. IMAX advertises that only on IMAX screens can you see the whole image as the filmmaker intended; but if the filmmaker intended us to see the whole image, they could have simply formatted it as Flat!

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

Posts: 292
From: San Francisco CA USA
Registered: May 2014

 - posted 04-06-2017 11:20 PM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We liked the movie today showing at 1PM in 3-D at the Cinemark Cinema in Corte Madera CA in Marin CO. So nice to see a large scope movie in a single screen theatre on a giant curved screen with a bright light level plus good volume surround sound. A fun Disney flick with some very interesting characters both live and animated. Some good 3-D off screen effects also. Visit this classic cinema soon as they are on a month to month lease and you will miss a SF Bay Area movie theatre treasure when It is torn down. The curtains don't work these days, we just hope they bring back some 70mm films before they close as a tribute to the many years they have brought us some showmanship and presentation.

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Jonathan Goeldner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1330
From: Washington, District of Columbia
Registered: Jun 2008

 - posted 04-23-2017 10:33 PM      Profile for Jonathan Goeldner   Email Jonathan Goeldner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
personally I thought the casting of Emma Watson as Belle was the weakest link - she looked bored and displayed such a limited acting range - it made me cringe.

Technically the movie is amazing and of course the 3D was best when the scene had a lot of CGI involved, the 'Be Our Guest' song. Oddly on the Arclight Bethesda 'widescreen' the 3D image looked a tad blurry, not really sure what was going on.

I was surprised though the sound mix that at the Avalon theater's 7.1 sound system the volume was pummeling, to call it 'loud' would be an understatement. On the Atmos mix (at Arclight), the sound seemed better controlled, but of course used the ceiling sound sources to better immersive effect: notably inside the windmill.

All in all, I was quite entertained it, and at one point brought an emotional tear near the movie's conclusion (a scene that incidentally was not in the animated version)

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