Thursday, July 13, 2017

Remake that Doesn't Know How to Remake

Emma Watson makes the best of a movie that doesn't know how to movie taking example from another famous Emma who just won an Academy Award for the same thing. 
There was so much ridiculous hype and over-marketing (if that's a thing) over the live-action remake of arguably the best Disney film of all time. Trying to capitalize on the success of the live action remake of The Jungle Book which actually was useful and interesting, the studio heads decided to basically make a carbon copy of the original with a few new songs to make extra off of iTunes and to stretch the run time. If you haven't seen it, watch the original...and that's exactly what this film is. It's like when Gus Van Sant did a shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock's Psycho but that was for Avant-Garde performance art purposes so he gets a pass, not to introduce children to a totally bastardized and creepy version of what was a great film to start with. 

Good luck explaining sentient furniture to your kids now. 
So it's set in the most British part of France apparently where only Lumiere has an actual French accent. And in a cartoon world a lot of what was deemed unbelievable could be conceivable with enough suspension of disbelief. Now it raises a lot of uncomfortable questions like can Gaston really lift two heavy-set people with his hands, and do all of the sentient object in the palace actually have human souls? I mean, it's creepy as shit. 

The motion capture on Dan Stevens is basically ridiculous. He's terrifying, which kind of kills the love story which is central to the plot. 
But not as creepy as what they did to Dan Stevens, that poor son of a bitch. They could have used practical prosthetics, hair and make up to make him properly beastly looking, but they decided to CGI the fuck out of him so that he looks like he was drawn by a 12 year old on a Windows 7. Also, the sentient objects with actual speaking parts have more character and facial expression in the original, than the CGI moving objects in the old palace. I don't care how good of a French accent Ewan McGregor can do. 
As I said, with a few new songs added (because Bill Condon has a huge hard on for almost memorable songs that stretch the runtime), the songs are exactly the same, except they sound like cheap karaoke versions of the beloved originals like 'Be Our Guest'. 
They were fun, remember them?
There is a cheap half-assed attempt to fill in some plot holes like what happened to Belle's mother?  How did no one in this tiny town notice that the Beast has been beasting for like ten years? And how the hell did she get the damn Beast on the horse after being attacked by wolves. But it's so lazy, I'd rather just use my imagination. Speaking of which, I remember that as a kid, you really did fall for the Beast and understood why Belle would too, but in the live-action version he's so CGI'd to death that there's nothing remotely attractive about him. 
I'd also like to touch on the controversy surrounding La Fou as the first openly gay character in the Disney-verse. In this great article it actually surmises that La Fou is a piss poor tribute to the gay community. He basically meets the somewhat offensive and stereotypical gay tropes like an effeminate manner, and a one-sided crush on Gaston that's never really nuanced, but apart from that he's the gay comic relief that you expect in a film from the 50's that's more ignorant than anything else. He gets like one sincere moment that would make him a genuine gay character, but that's all that Disney allows him. Lest we forget that his name literally translates into 'the fool'. C'mon Disney, you had more going with Ursula or the Sherif of Nottingham. 
I guess I missed the take-acid-now instruction prior to this scene. 
Bottom line, this remake is not only useless, but it's superfluous. Apparently Disney couldn't leave well enough alone. The most iconic scene in the film; the ballroom dance scene between Belle and the Beast in that stunning yellow dress had more beautiful sprawling camera angles and lighting in the cartoon. It's like they're not even trying. If you haven't seen it, just watch the original and pretend it's in live action. 

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