Disney breathes life into one of its most-beloved classics.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
In its jump to convert its classic animated films into new, exciting, live-action films, Disney has delivered a mix of great adventures and questionable motives. Last year’s Pete’s Dragon missed at the box office (despite being a good movie); the Alice in Wonderland live-action franchise suffered through a dismal sequel; The Jungle Book was a visual treat.
Now, the Mouse brings to life its, arguably, most-beloved tale: Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 animated classic was a critical and commercial hit, garnering the first-ever Best Picture nomination for an animated film.
This new version tries its hardest to hold onto the charm and honesty of the original, but ends up a mixture of odes to nostalgia and messy new territory.
The songs we all know and love show up, but receive minor new touches that will either incite some to appreciate the newness, but in reality it’ll make you pine for the beats and melodies of the 1991 classics.
Filling the shoes of Belle, Emma Watson does a solid job showcasing Belle’s tenacity and strong-willed nature. Her voice is beautiful, but timid. Offering their voices (for most of the film), Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, and Emma Thompson are fun and light (though, again, you’ll be wishing you were hearing Angela Lansbury‘s “Beauty and the Beast” during the pivotal ballroom scene).
The highlight of the cast comes in Luke Evans‘s Gaston. Though over-the-top, it works to hilarious levels. It’s the right way to evoke nostalgia and provide something new. It’s the animated Gaston literally brought to life. Josh Gad‘s Le Fou has his moments, but he’s used more as a site gag that never quite connects. His one-liners won’t stand the test of time.
Overall, the nostalgia brings about the emotions in an affecting way. But, the choppiness of the new material gets in the way of this Beauty and the Beast from coming anywhere close to its source material. Here’s to hoping the next live-action outing has more heart and less spectacle.
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT
The selling point for The Belko Experiment, written by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame), is the social anxiety that will come from picturing yourself in the same scenario.
In short, a group of American office workers are locked in their office and instructed by an unseen voice to participate in a Hunger Games-like challenge of death, or be killed themselves.
It does make you question your own motives in regards to what you’d do, but that’s about it. The film’s cast of mostly unknowns hold their own with a script that’s cheesy. Actually, it’s all almost satirical. But, unlike previous satirical horror films like You’re Next, once you’re in on the joke, the fun begins, in The Belko Experiment it’s never clear if it’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek or preachy.
Wait for Redbox and rainy day.
See It: Beauty and the Beast
Skip It: The Belko Experiment