Beauty and the Beast (2014) Review

OH MY GOSH THIS MOVIE WAS ATROCIOUS.  I honestly don’t even know where to begin here, so let me just paste in the details from IMDB first.

“An unexpected romance blooms after the the youngest daughter of a merchant who has fallen on hard times offers herself to the mysterious beast to which her father has become indebted.” – IMDB

So let’s start with the very few pros, shall we?  The reason this movie was on my radar in the first place was for it’s amazing soundtrack.  I love listening to instrumental music while I study, so I knew France had made a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast a few years back.  The problem was, I had no way to watch it until recently.  My library decided to upload the movie on their streaming service (shoutout to local libraries) so I gave it a go.  Unfortunately, only the English dub was available, which is understandable since most people in my cooperative only speak English, Spanish, or Arabic.  This is why the actors are going to be pardoned from the rant I’m about to embark on.  Dubs for live-action movies are notoriously bad, and I lost half of their performance by not hearing their real voices.

So let’s get on with the cons, and OH BOY there was a lot.  My biggest issue was that the story was everywhere.  On the one hand, I appreciated how this movie didn’t take anything from the Disney version, but directly based it off of the original fairytale instead.  Well, at least they did at first.  This is where the “on the other hand” comes in.  They began with the standard framework from the story, but for some reason ended up diverging completely after about the first half hour.  For instance, the backstory they gave for the prince’s curse was that as a human he had loved bow-hunting and wanted to catch a specific doe he had seen in the forest.  His wife didn’t want him to hunt it, but he did anyway.  When he finally killed the doe, it turned into his wife and told him how she was a forest nymph who wanted to know what love was.  Even though they loved each other and it was an accident, the forest god Pan would now punish the Prince by turning him into a beast.  Nymph lady dies (even though her father could have easily healed her before she passes) and the beast must find someone who will love him despite his appearance.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

What’s even better is how there is no characterization of anyone whatsoever.  Belle is bland and literally does nothing the entire film.  The Beast just creepily stalks around her and watches her while she sleeps (Who wrote this? Stephanie Meyer?).  To top it all off, she’s only there for like, a week? maybe?  and literally nothing happens.  The only thing they share during her stay are dinner every evening and some terse dialogue during these meals.  How utterly romantic.

The CG was terrible.  I don’t know why they used it, nor why they used so much.  I can understand for the Beast, but entire towns?  Meadows?  There was no reason to animate half of the crap they did, and it was not that well done.  They should have just stuck to the Beast and parts of the castle then called it a day.

The cinematography was also…something.  Listen, you know you shot a movie badly when even somebody who didn’t go to school for film had an issue with the shooting.  There were close-ups of everyone, and I would get so frustrated because I just wanted to see a person’s entire face when they were talking.  Again, I can understand doing this technique for the Beast, but Belle?  Why?  I need answers, French people.

Final score: ⭐⭐⭐ 3/10 stars. It was that bad. 😤

So in conclusion: don’t watch it.  There are many better movie and book versions of the story out there, and this is not one of them.  I’ve honestly seen so many now that I’m probably going to make a Beauty and the Beast retellings post at some point in the future.  Stay tuned for that!

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