The day finally arrived. yesterday the trailer for the much-anticipated Beauty and The Beast (the live-action version) finally dropped. And people lost their minds. I think 8 different people posted and shared it over a dozen times that day.
While I’m not totally sold on this “Let’s make everything that was animated, live action” kick that Disney seems to be on, I can understand why they want to do it. (The answer is money.)
I’m still a fan of the original animated movies that Disney put out, but that doesn’t mean that they are without their flaws. And that includes Beauty And The Beast.
Understand that I am treading on sacred ground here. My wife loves this movie. My daughter, who is 2 by the way, is memorizing the words to the songs and dialogue in such perfect timing that she doesn’t have to be within earshot, and know exactly when Belle yells “Wait!” at the Beast. This is a very special movie in my house.
But I still think that it could have been better.
Now, I could go on a tangent and talk about the story. Many bloggers and bloggers have, and with good reason. There are a lot of things, little things mind you, that make you question how this is all going on.
A ten-year-old doesn’t let a strange woman into his castle, and then he is cursed for listening to his parents (who don’t appear anywhere in the movie…..). A town exists just outside of the forest that houses a castle and a damned beast, and no one knows who used to live there or have any knowledge as to what happened there. A ten-year-old grows up and somehow forgets how to use a spoon and read.
The story needed some work, for sure. But that’s not what I would fix.
And I’m not about to knock the animation. It was and still is amazing what they could do with paper and pencils. Yes, CGI was used, but nothing like it is today. So any weird lines or inconsistencies in character design, I will let slide.
My problem is with the reveal of the Beast.
The beast is a monster. Somewhere I read that he is a mixture of a cow, bear, lion, and some other animal, making up a truly bizarre creature. But he is supposed to be scary. You are supposed to cower in fear when you see him. You are supposed to be repulsed at the sight of him.
Because that is the story. It is about how inner beauty is more important that outer beauty. That is why Belle doesn’t want to marry Gaston. While he is handsome (and she does admit that), his personality and attitude are deplorable. The Beast, while physically horrifying, is supposed to show us the beauty of the human spirit.
That needed to be played on so much more. And I think one of the ways to do that would have been to reveal the Beast in a much more terrifying way.
In this Disney classic, we see the Beast (most of him) in the opening narration. In his hideous form, trying to hide his face, the narrator tells us why things are the way they are. Now, this works for a kid’s cartoon. I get that. I understand that this is meant for 5 to 12-year-olds.
But every entrance, every imposing or trumped up appearance, where we are made to feel scared of the Beast, the emotion falls flat.
For example, when Belle enters the castle and goes looking for her father, the Beast is there in the shadows, wanting to know who she is and why she was there. Dialogue ensues and Belle promises to stay with the Beast in exchange for her father’s freedom. She says, “Come into the light.”
This would have been the perfect time for the full reveal of the Beast.
Step into the light, show us, audience and characters, exactly who you are.
It would have been a wonder time to finally shock/scare the audience. It would make Belle’s gasping reaction all the more powerful. It would have let us feel the pain of being stuck with someone so tremendously disgusting and ugly.
The glimpses and shadows that were all done up to that point were alright, minus the reveal (again) when Belle’s father, Maurice, stumbles into the castle. It would have given us something to fear, something to feed the idea that this was a monster that hid in the castle. It would have been a Hitchcock-style mystery about who this Beast was.
That would have made the movie so much better. The emotion of being stuck with this monster, the turn from an angry creature to a loving and lovable man, it all would have been heightened with that one little change.
We won’t get that in the latest version of Beauty and The Beast, sadly. The joys of modern movies, and ruining everything with official images and teasers, trailers, and extended trailers.
Anyways, that is what I would do to make this movie, a great movie on its own, even better.
That is how to fix Beauty And The Beast.