Watched this movie at the cinema earlier tonight, so I figured I would write a review of it.
As usual, bad points first, good points after.
1. You know, while Emma Watson is a good actress and she really does look like Belle, I gotta say she's not an impressive singer, and her entire performance in this movie sounded very autotuned. In fact, I would say her voice is pretty underdeveloped, and at times I can barely even hear her above the orchestra. In a production like Moulin Rouge or Fame this wouldn't be such an issue, but because this is a movie set in the 1700's and every song in this movie has a very noticable operatic flare to it, Emma Watson's meek voice really doesn't hold up. I'm sorry, but if you can't even sing with a vibrato, you don't belong in a Broadway-style musical.
2. The Broadway elements get just a bit too over-the-top at times, in my opinion. Something that looks great in an animated movie can easily look garish and tasteless in a live-action one, and I feel this is particularly the case with the Be Our Guest number, which has disco lights and impossible colours and belting out all those high notes all at once, and it's just a bit too much. Granted, this movie seems to be set in the 1770's in France, which was basically the place and time that had the most over-the-top fashions of all time, with frills, bows, pearls, glitter, enormous hairstyles and even bigger skirts, so I guess in a way these overblown musical numbers feel somewhat at home in this setting.
3. I don't understand why they went mostly historically accurate with everything except Belle's ballgown. Seriously, all the servants and party guests and whatnot, plus Belle's peasant dresses, are for the most part historically accurate, so why did they go with that sleeveless red carpet thing for Belle? Granted the skirt is still way too simple for the 1770's, but if they just gave her some rococo sleeves her ballgown would be perfectly acceptable for a 1770's ball, so I don't understand why they made it sleeveless.
4. This one is very nitpicky, but why is it that when everyone became static objects near the end when the Beast dies, that everyone looks like the object they were, except for Lumiere, who turns around and becomes a candelabra that looks completely different? That's such a weird artistic choice.
1. Good acting. Gaston somehow manages to be semi-sympathetic despite his psychopathic actions, and I love the Beast's petulant and stubborn attitude, like he never wants to admit when he likes a book or when he's enjoying himself, he just wants to be a grump all the time. Also good chemistry between the two main leads, so that's a plus.
2. This movie is basically the exact same as the cartoon, only in live-action and with some minor changes, so watching this was a really nostalgic experience. Seeing these actors perform the musical numbers I grew up watching was a lot of fun.
3. I LOVE the aesthetics of this movie, it's absolutely beautiful to look at. There's Rococo carvings and little golden Versailles-style decorations everywhere. In every sceen, it I was kind of just distracted looking at all the beautiful costumes and all the beautiful decorations, it's really just gorgeous. Also props for actually mostly keeping the fashion historically accurate, unlike that Cinderella movie that came out a few years ago. The way the castle looks is really great, in my opinion, it really looks like a kind of dark and cursed version of Versailles, which I'm assuming is exactly what they were going for. The village also looks good, very nice and oldfashioned French look to it.
4. They did a number of minor fixes that really makes the movie make more sense. For one, Beast was now an adult or at least a teenager when he was cursed, which makes the Enchantress look a lot less petty. The fact that nobody in the village knows that there's a castle with royalty in the middle of the woods now also makes sense, because the movie explains that the curse made it so that nobody outside of the castle would remember it was even there. They've also toned down Beast's abusive behaviour a lot so the relationship between him and Belle seem more like genuine love than just Stockholm Syndrome. They also now explained what happened to Belle's mother, which the animated movie never even mentioned.
On top of that I also feel like mentioning that Gaston's attraction to Belle now also makes more sense, because the village girls look more frumpy with ridiculous outfits, and as he says "A real hunter doesn't waste his time chasing mere rabbits"; essentially he wants Belle not necessarily because she's hotter than everyone, but because he can't have her. Also the village girls' obsession with Gaston makes more sense now too as Luke Evans is a hell of a lot more handsome than his animated counterpart.
5. Also, kind of random, but it's refreshing to see a black opera singer, since most opera singers are white. I was going to say something about it being historically inaccurate to have a black woman with a prestigious job in the 1700's, but then I remembered that this is the French empire, not the British empire, and the French empire had very different ways of handling the African colonies. Specifically, if I remember correctly from history class, both were very oppressive, but the British empire saw black people as inferior to white people and let them continue with their cultures because they essentially "didn't have the potential" to become any "better", whereas the French empire saw black people as equal, but saw the African cultures as inferior and forced them to abandon their cultures in favour of French culture instead, so it actually does seem perfectly realistic to have a black opera singer at a French court in this time era.
All in all, it's a very solid movie. If you love the animated movie, or you love anything Rococo-related, you're gonna love this film. If I could give it a score of 1-6 where 1 is the worst and 6 is the best, I'd give it a solid 5.
Oh, and also I just have to mention this because it's hilarious. This movie got a 16 age limit in Russia due to the fact that LeFou is gay in this movie. Knowing that, I figured the film would actually explore his homosexuality or something, but no, the most explicitly gay thing in the entire movie is at the end where he happens to be dancing with a man. xD Yes, seeing a man dancing with another man is apparently so shocking and traumatising in Russia that anyone younger than 16 is banned from seeing it. You know, something that most kids wouldn't even be able to notice as gay in the first place.