Blu-ray/DVD, Disney, Live Action, Reviews, Studios

[REVIEW] ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017) Blu-ray

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Live-action remakes are the new hotness and the 2017 live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as the eponymous Belle, is no exception. It is already the highest grossing film of 2017, adding more fuel to the fire. So is the Blu-ray worth picking up?

The Film ✮✮1/2

With the original 1991 film being such a masterpiece (it was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars), it’s a huge undertaking when trying to do a remake. That’s being said, live-action remakes have been successfully achieved by Cinderella and The Jungle Book, so why not Beauty and the Beast? It has all the key pieces for greatness: great songs, an independent heroine, magic. So it’s a no brainer that this remake would be just as great as the original. Unfortunately, for me, it was not.

Over and over again, I felt that that the filmmakers were trying to recreate the original Beauty and the Beast, more than tell a new story of their own. Yes, there are new elements, such as new songs, extended backstories, and plot holes fixed, yet despite all those, the ultimate product just fell flat. There were many scenes that were straight up recreations of the original from camera angle to dialogue. These obviously were an attempt to appease fans and bring back great moments from the original, but to me they came off as a cheap copy.

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The new songs written for the film were good for the most part. “Days in the Sun” is by far the best new song, which I could easily listen to on repeat all day, while “Evermore” doesn’t quite hit. Beast’s song “If I Can’t Love Her” from the Broadway musical would have been more fitting. I’m not entirely sure why they felt that they needed to write even more new songs for this version (when they already have a plethora of amazing songs from the Broadway play), but my guess is it was another attempt to make this one stand out on its own. Another side note about the music: can we talk about that auto-tune? Why? Just why?

While there were a few new plot points and backstories (Belle being an inventor, the Beast’s childhood, and Gaston’s wartime glory days), these new additions felt half baked. If the filmmakers wouldn’t have focused so much on trying to stick to the original’s plot points so closely and perhaps branched out a bit more on these, I feel that I would have enjoyed this film a lot more like I did with the 2015 Cinderella.

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Overall, I did not enjoy this film. Midway through, I really started to lose interest and was getting annoyed by the fact that this didn’t bring new. This Beauty was simply not enchanting.

(For a different perspective on this film, check out Gary’s review.)

Bonus Features ✮✮✮✮

This Blu-ray is packed to the brim with great bonus features, such as director’s commentary lo and behold. But let’s jump into the bonus features!

      • Enchanted Table Read – This featurette is probably the best on the collection because it’s one of the most unique. It’s common for films to have a table read, where they bring together the entire cast to read through the script before principal photography begins. But this table read was particularly exceptional in the fact that all the musical numbers were accompanied by dancers (and even some of the cast) performing their hearts out. The detail that went into this mini production is incredible and really goes to show how special this remake really was.

      • A Beauty of a Tale – This is your classic making-of bonus feature where you get various interviews from the cast, crew, and other members of the production staff, who talk about various aspects of making this film, from paying homage to the original while making it their own to costumes, set pieces, and more. Director Bill Condon talks a bit about how Emma Watson was really their first and only choice for Belle because she not only fits all of the aspects of Belle’s personality, but also is a modern empowered woman who represents everything they wanted Belle to bein this film.

      • The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast” – In 2017, film is not just a man’s game. This film in particular had quite a few women prominently working as heads of departments and making key decisions including set design, costuming, and more. Here Emma Watson introduces some of these women and they talk about the key aspects that they worked on to contribute to the overall film.
      • Making a Moment with Celine Dion – Celine Dion is iconic for her original rendition of the pop version of “Beauty and the Beast”. She’s back with a new end credits song – “How Does a Moment Last Forever”  – and discusses her thoughts on the song, as well as being a part of the legacy of Beauty and the Beast.
      • From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – Songs are such an important part of this film, so these featurettes break down each song and give us a glimpse behind the curtain to see what went into creating each of these sequences. I loved these portions because each song had its own challenges, from “Be Our Guest” basically being just Emma by herself for a week (“The most boring time I’ve ever had on set,” she says) to the memorable “Gaston” bar scene with Josh Gad and Luke Evans.
      • Deleted Scenes – Every Blu-ray release should have deleted scenes and this one is no exception. There are quite a few on this disc, although disappointedly some are only 15-30 seconds long. The majority of these are deleted sequences during the mob sequence in the castle. This is led off with an incredibly short general introduction by director Bill Condon, who basically says, “Here are some deleted scenes that were cut for either time or tone.” That’s it. No follow up discussion about each of the individual scenes, which is underwhelming.
      • Extended Song: “Days in the Sun” – This new song is incredible, but there actually was a longer version that ended up getting cut due to advance screening feedback. Personally, I much prefer this version and wish they could have found a way to keep it as is.
      • “Beauty and the Beast” Music Video – You know the drill. Music video filler of the movie’s titular song performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend.
      • Making the Music Video – And in case you couldn’t get enough music videos, here’s how they made the music video!
      • Disney Song Selection – This is fun little featurette for all the song lovers out there and allows you to hop directly to all your favorite songs and sing along with the movie. Since there are so many songs in this film, you’ll be singing along for quite a while.

Final Thoughts

While I thoroughly did not enjoy the film (I’m not sure I’ll go back to watching this one for a long time), I did enjoy the bonus features. The amount of bonus features in this collection were great and went both broadly and deeply into a variety of topics. The notable absence of a director’s commentary on the actual disc is interesting, but strangely enough you can still watch if you unlock your digital copy on VUDU. If you’re a fan of this film, chances are you’ve already picked it up; if not, you may skip this one and just re-watch the original on Blu-ray.


Purchase Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Morgan Stradling

Morgan is a native of Arizona and is a desert rat who loves the heat–she doesn’t even turn on the AC in her car in the middle of the summer! She loves big eyeliner, Survivor, Lady Gaga, and, of course, animated films. She has her MBA in Marketing from ASU and now works as a Product Manager for a tech company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

  • AB

    I’m so sad to know that you didn’t like it… 🙁 It’s still my favorite movie of the year. After the disappointment that was Maleficent for me, I thought I wouldn’t like any other remake, but Cinderella really changed that, and this definitely is the Crowning Jem for me, I think it merged perfectly the himage to the animated version with the new elements, and visually it was stunning. I saw it 4 times on theaters and I’m eagerly awaiting for this release. Unfortunately, here in Mexico I have to wait until the 30th.

  • I am very willing to accept people not getting into this remake and I still love the original and is clearly the best, but I honestly have a soft spot for this one a bit….I had a ball watching this in theatres, I know not the best in many areas but I appreciated some of what they did 🙂
    Can’t wait to get the blu ray after reading this review of it for sure!! :DD

    • I’m with you. Nothing will beat the original, but this remake was mostly done well.

    • My aunt and I both liked it enough. It’s a way better rendition than Maleficent was in my personal opinion.

  • Great review Morgan! I have to say, although I gave this movie 3.5 stars, I still stick with my rating. I adore the lavishness of this remake, the new songs (Evermore especially) and most of the performances. Definitely agree with you about the auto-tune, the lack of soul and the unnecessary plot points. Oh and those magical objects still creep me out. It’s not a flawless remake, but I do enjoy the positives that this has to offer.

    This may not be a movie I’ll revisit regularly, but for what it is, I really think this remake was done well. That said, I still think Cinderella is the best of the modern live action remakes we have got 🙂

    • What I love is that we have both perspectives on this site. Your review is much more glowing that mine. I’m not sure why, but this movie just wasn’t for me. Perhaps I’m such a purist that I couldn’t get over that fact while watching it. Not sure. Either way, there were positives about this film, but overall, like you mentioned, it’s probably not one I’ll be revisiting.

      And yes, The Jungle Book is fantastic and so well done! What I think made that successful is that they took plot elements from the books that weren’t covered in the original film. So we had tons to explore without it feeling like a rehashing of the 60s version.

  • Rachel Wagner

    I pretty much agree with you but thought the big set pieces like Be Our Guest were fun. My biggest problem was the poor singing and auto-tuning as you say. Yikes…

  • Lodmot

    Thank you!

    I fully agree with everything this guy wrote. I sat through this miserable over-budget, over-hyped knockoff of a film. What ruined it for me most of all was the auto-tune though. Me being a musician, I was _easily_ able to pick up the auto-tune on Emma’s voice, and especially in the opening song, it was just absolutely dreadful.

    The other problem this film had that I don’t think was mentioned here, was the awkward timing of some scenes. To give a specific example of what I’m referring to, the scene where the Beast is dying felt really rushed to me. It didn’t feel like there was any build-up to where he starts floating in midair and transforms.

    Three _good_ things about this film would have to be the sets, a couple key scenes that were basically recreations from the original film, and the CGI was amazing. It’s actually a very visually pleasing film to watch. Everything looks aesthetically really good and carefully crafted. But this film is a fine example of “better graphics don’t make a better video game”. (even though this isn’t a video game :P).

    • I agree with you on the pacing! In the original, everything felt just right. But this one felt so rushed from scene to scene. Perhaps it’s because they kept so many elements from the original while also trying to add in new points that the film just couldn’t keep up.

  • 14Parables

    I liked your review and was glad to find someone else who felt that this film was flat. Actually I would go further and say this version was terrible. The music and auto-tuning were horrendous. The musical numbers were bloated and theatrical. The blue screen, oh the blue screen, was blatantly obvious. The acting was lifeless, unnatural, and the accents were all over the place.
    I think I could have shrugged all this off and still relatively enjoyed the movie if it wasn’t for the bad storytelling and characterization. Story is the backbone of a movie. I have enjoyed and purchased films that had bad effects and acting for the story. The original 1991 version did a magnificent job on story and characters.

    Gaston- in the 1991 version he has a jerk but believable as a town hero. He evolved into a murderous villain slowly. One could see how an entire town could be deceived. In the new one he is so hammy and evil that you wonder why anyone would follow him. Also his death was so contrived it almost made me laugh.

    The Beast- In the original it is his temper that continually gets him into trouble. His passions are misdirected into aggression and at times violence. It is not that he is misunderstood it is that he wont allow himself, or anyone, to get past his anger and bitterness to see what’s within. It is only when he finally controls his temper in the battle with Gaston without loosing his passion that he comes into his own. The 2017 version turned him into a morose mediocre character. On top of that they try to divert responsibility for his actions to his father.

    Belle- probably the biggest disappointment in the film. Her character was butchered by an actress who couldn’t act or sing and a screen writer who didn’t understand the source material. Anyone who understands stockholm syndrome (the medical term for brainwashing) knows that the 1991 Belle did NOT have it. But, as if to prove she didn’t, this film tries to take away any sweetness or elegance from her character. Watching the 1991 classic one realizes that it is Belle’s promise that is keeping her captive rather then the Beast physically doing so. When he releases her he releases her from her promise, thus setting her free. This is a nod to the original fairy tale that resonates as true to life while showing both Belle’s and the Beast’s nobility. In the new movie her constant focus on getting away made it hard to believe she was forming a genuine attachment to the Beast. There was no chemistry. She was overall dull. Also the all the doubt and trepidation Belle would naturally feel when the Beast changes back into a man was expressed by a tilted head and expressionless face.

    Storyline- The Beast releases Belle when she was the only hope of breaking the spell thus condemning his servants to death? They would change into furniture and die. Why would they get a worse punishment then the Beast? He wont die just remain a beast. This was confusing.
    The worst part of the film was that Belle and the Beast did NOT break the spell. The sorceress did. If she was not there the Beast and inhabitants of the castle would all be dead. The love between the two protagonists was to late (oh, and the Beast never says he loves Belle, Mrs. Potts did) they did not have the power to break it on their own. I hated this. Overall everything was so campy it became shallow, the exact opposite the story of Beauty and the Beast is supposed to convey.

    I’m sorry about the rant. I am just so sick of the praise this movie is getting. It is unwarranted and I don’t think will ever stand the test of time, but because of the hype and support I fear Disney and other studios will continue to turn out bad movies that cater only to sensationalism instead of great stories.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write this comment. This is everything I felt while watching, and more! It’s comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way while watching the movie.

  • Mitch

    Hey Morgan, just wanted to say that I agree with every single point you made. There was nothing new that validated it from being a cheap copy of a masterpiece.