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Beauty and the Beast 2017 is worth a watch but doesn’t justify its existence

Remakes. Why does Hollywood make them? The answer is almost always because movie studios are owned by corporations with stockholders and board members and their supposed to turn a profit and nothing turns profit quite as easily as known intellectual property. So, like in all business, the goal is to make money rather than create a quality product. That’s okay, I don’t have any problem with capitalism. What I do have a problem with is remaking a movie that was a perfectly good film in the first place. What’s the point? If you’re not going to do something better or at least different, why even bother? Well, again, that’s an artistic question and we all know that the reason this movie exists is financial. With all that being said, let’s talk about the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast.

SPARED NO EXPENSE!

jurassic-park-we-spared-no-expense

John Hammond cast this movie.

When it comes to this movie’s cast, they spared no expense. The list goes on and on: Emma Watson, Ewan Mcgregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad… Was it worth it? Sure, I think so. Everyone turns in a fine performance. I don’t think I would have cast Kevin Kline regardless of how much I love him because I just don’t think he’s right for this particular role, but it’s not like he’s distracting or a deterrent to the movie. That’s more of a matter of taste then a critique.

EXCEPT FOR WHEN THEY DID
This movie has a ton of digital characters, digital camera moves compositing together real actors and digital sets and all sorts of computer gobbledygook. And I gotta to tell you, it doesn’t all look great. I did tend to think that the characters made of objects looked pretty good, but sometimes, the Beast just didn’t look right. I’m not sure if it’s the way they designed him or maybe just his hair, or the fabric simulation, but mostly I think it was just that the rendering of the Beast himself didn’t fit with all of the lighting. He particularly stuck out in the library. This is the Beast at his most video gamey-est.

THE MOVIE AS A WHOLE:
I need to get down to it: yes, this movie is good. Is it great? I don’t think I would go that far. The problem is that this movie does not exist in a vacuum; the original Beauty and the Beast does exist, I have seen it and the first version is the superior production. This new remake shows no restraint; it features ill-advised CGI, uneven pacing, dialogue where none is needed and the new original songs… yeesh. Here, I can tie two points together: the original animated film cut out a song called “To Be Human Again” that they added back to an anniversary DVD release. Once you hear it, you’ll know why they cut it out in the first place. Meanwhile, this live action remake feels as though it inserts new songs because someone at Disney insisted that this movie be 2 hours ong, featuring new songs that could possibly get nominated for best original song at various award shows and because the movie had to add something new while taking zero chances.

If your part of the hardcore Disney audience then chances are you’ve already seen this movie and I’m probably not going to change your mind. If you’re too young for the original then it’s possible you weren’t even aware of the animated version and may have no use for comparisons. Either way, I would say that while this movie is good enough, it’s far from great and it’s certainly not a new addition to the Disney classic catalog of films.

GENERAL GRIPES
There was a point during “Be Our Guest” when I was completely confused – I didn’t know where they were or what was happening… and did the Taj Mahal make an appearance?

The Beast is not compatible with the light in the library and in other moments throughout the film.

I’m sorry, say that again? The Enchantress gave the Beast a book that allows him to travel through space?  (But not time, because that would be ridiculous.  And also make the movie five minutes long.) She has the ability to create this book or at the very least has it and this is what she does with it? That kind of took me out of the movie.

There were a few moments where I expected them to up the visual ante from what we saw in the original and boy does that not happen. There’s just nothing as grand or as exciting as the big wide Ballroom shot from the original in this new dance sequence. There’s just not. I know it’s hard to show us something we’ve never seen before at this point in twenty-first century, but that shot was composed on a computer in the early 90s. Now entire movies are made with computers so I was expecting something but I got nothing.

Ugh, that Beast song. I’m not a fan of the new songs in all their blandness but the Beast’s solo effort has got to be the worst of the bunch.

The Maelstrom is Closing to Make Way for Frozen Ride

“You are not the first to pass this way – but, you will be the last.”

EPCOT’s mini log flume ride The Maelstrom is closing on October 5, 2014, to make way for a Frozen themed attraction. Thus, another educational attraction at EPCOT bites the dust. Read the rest of this entry

Disney subtly suggests that Fur is Murder in 101 Dalmatians

In my lifetime, Disney has been very “be a pirate even though they’re the bad guys” and “sell your soul for a man, little girls!” but in the past, Disney sung songs in my tune.

101 Dalmatians has a super subtle message regarding the fur industry. It’s subtle, right? And it was only 1961, too! Disney was so progressive back then… Now all we get is a rehashing of Hamlet over and over again. Well, probably only the two times, but I’m sure you see my point. Disney isn’t exactly out there tackling income equality, but I suppose they deserve credit for distributing Wall-E.

Disney’s Tower of Terror (movie review)

Disneys-Tower-of-Terror-movie-reviewI betcha didn’t know there was a Tower of Terror movie based off the Disney’s Hollywood Studios/California Adventure attraction of nearly the same name.  (That’s The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for the uninitiated.)  The attraction itself takes a simple idea and makes it great, but basing a movie off a Disney Attraction has never worked out as far as I can recall.  (I mean artistically, not financially!)    The only thing more shocking than the fact that this movie stars Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst (other than it exists, I guess) is my overall impression of the movie.   Read the rest of this entry

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