Beauty and the Beast – Tale as Old as Me

Kyle Fosse-Staff Writer 

The “new” Beauty and the Beast is now in theatres, at least, that’s what I’ve been told. When looked through my old VHS tapes, though, it turns out I already have it – so I gave it a watch. 

I expected a new and original retelling, but was disappointed to find that the movie is remarkably similar to the classic I remember seeing as a child. Too similar, in my opinion. With recent remakes, Disney has tried to update their old films with new ideas – implementing cultural references, new characters and the occasional new song. 

This film, however, felt exactly like the original. All the songs were the same, and none of the characterization was changed. I respect veteran actors like Ian McKellen (“The Da Vinci Code”) and Ewan McGregor (“Robots”), but they brought nothing new to the table, and their animations as a living clock and candlestick, respectively, were terrible for a live-action production. 

According to the reviews, this “new” story follows Belle, played by Emma Watson (whom you may know from the 2014 film “Noah”) as she sacrifices herself to save her father and becomes entrapped by a prince-turned-beast. 

In order to turn back into his handsome self, the prince must experience true love. But how could anyone ever love a beast? After enough time in the enchanted castle, Belle and the Beast begin to feel the spark of romance. 

I have to commend the casting directors– Emma Watson looks remarkably like the Belle I remember. Having apparently undergone a remarkable makeup transformation, she will capture your attention with a heartfelt performance. 

Also in the “new” film, the antagonist, Gaston, is played by Luke Evans, who has bulked up to almost cartoon proportions since “The Hobbit.” He’s joined by his now-infamous sidekick, LeFou, who caused a lot of stir for being cast by a taller actor. 

Don’t get me wrong – Josh Gad is a fantastic comedic actor, but I think it would only be right to cast someone of the appropriate height to play this character. As is, it feels like the film is taking a stab at short people. That may have been funny twenty-five years ago, but it feels inappropriate in today’s political climate. 

One other thing I didn’t like was the use of CGI – the whole movie looks almost animated. The battle sequences were particularly bad, with jerky movements, complemented by atrocious CG rain. 

In the end, it was a fun film – at times, almost as good as the original. I just don’t think it’s a movie that needed to be remade. Had they switched things up a little, introduced some new characters, maybe changed someone’s motivation a little bit, it would have been more justifiable. 

The result is an uninspired flick with an unoriginal storyline and no cultural voice. It’s lackluster, with poor performances and even worse CGI. Watson delivers some genuinely sweet moments, but on the whole, not enough to redeem this film. 

I gave the original movie five stars, but this one only deserves two, in my book.


Editor’s Note: All Zircon articles are the Dordt Diamond’s semi-annual homage to the time-honored, First Amendment-protected, great American tradition of satire. The literal truths of these articles are not to be taken at face value, but we hope the hidden truths allude to the absurdities of some of the realities we face in society today.

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