tek's rating: ½
Beauty and the Beast (PG)
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This is a 2017 live-action/CGI remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name. I first watched it in March 2020, on the weekend that the live-action "Mulan" remake was originally scheduled to open. (But it didn't, because we were having a pandemic at the time, which made one of the scenes in this movie feel uncomfortably coincidental.) Anyway, I don't feel the need to recap the plot here, since it's largely identical to the plot of the 1991 movie. There are enough embellishments to make the new movie more interesting (and some bits darker) than the original, though I'm honestly not sure which movie I actually prefer, overall. And while I'd say I prefer the original versions of the familiar songs, I liked the new versions well enough, too. And the new songs were good, and very Broadway-ish, I think, even if I'm probably not going to remember them as well as the older songs. But I don't want to spoil any plot differences, so I guess really the only other thing I want to do with this review is list some of the cast (at least the actors who were familiar to me already).
Belle is played by Emma Watson. Her father, Maurice, is played by Kevin Kline. LeFou is played by Josh Gad. Lumiere is played by Ewan McGregor (though mostly that's a voice role, and I didn't recognize his voice while watching this, nor did I recognize him even in human form). Plumette is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (another mostly-voice role, though at least I recognized her when she was human). Cogsworth (another mostly-voice role) is played by Ian McKellen. Mrs. Potts is played by Emma Thompson (mostly-voice, which I didn't recognize, but I did recognize her as a human). I don't think any of the other actors were particularly familiar to me, though at least a couple of names were familiar, and I may have seen some of them in other things. At any rate, I thought everyone did a great job.
live-action re-imaginings of animated (or partly animated) Disney movies
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The Jungle Book (1994) * 101 Dalmatians (1996) * Alice in Wonderland (2010) * Maleficent (2014) * Cinderella (2015) * Pete's Dragon (2016) *
The Jungle Book (2016) *
Beauty and the Beast (2017) * Dumbo (2019) * Aladdin (2019) * The Lion King (2019) * Lady & the Tramp (2019; Disney+) * Mulan (2020)
In Development: Cruella * The Little Mermaid * et al.
I have a tendency to think of this trend as having started with "Maleficent," though I didn't think of it as a "thing" until "Cinderella" came out, and other re-imaginings had been announced. But then I started thinking I should include "Alice in Wonderland" as the start of the modern trend, as well as remembering that there were other such movies even before that. But particularly since "Cinderella," there have been increasing numbers of old animated Disney movies being remade or completely re-imagined, in live-action. There will be some things I don't include as part of this trend, like TV movies (such as "Geppetto"). And no straight-up modern sequels to old movies, even if they really feel to me like part of this trend (such as "Mary Poppins Returns") Also no remakes of movies that were live-action to begin with (such as "That Darn Cat", "The Parent Trap", "Freaky Friday", etc.) And obviously no animated remakes of films, whether the original was animated or live-action. And no live-action re-imaginings of old Disney movies by other studios (such as "Snow White and the Huntsman" or "Mirror Mirror"). Also I won't bother listing sequels to re-imaginings (such as "Alice Through the Looking Glass"), unless they're clearly re-imaginings of old sequels to the original movies; but that's just getting too complicated. As for "Pete's Dragon," that's complicated, itself, considering the original was mostly live-action, and only the dragon was animated. And of course in the remake, it's still just the dragon that's animated (this time as CGI), but I just can't help feeling like the remake is part of this overall trend. Especially considering that the "Jungle Book" movie that came out the same year uses a lot of CGI, itself.