A Review of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Film
If you’d like to check out my similar post for the Snow White fairytale, click here.
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
Watching this film feels like you’re inside a fairytale. It was more like a beautiful piece of art than a film. The changes to the tale that I won’t go into detail about to avoid spoilers give it a much more poignant and important feeling. If you are a fan of the story and haven’t seen this version yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch it. This version Belle is a bit less appealing and there are some moments that border on hokey, but overall this can be considered a masterpiece of fairy-tale film. A
Trivia: The costumes were manufactured at the workshop of the famous Paris couture house of Jeanne Lanvin, with the men’s costumes under the supervision of Lanvin designer Pierre Cardin (IMDB).
Beauty and the Beast (1987)
This film was simply not good. It’s the French version, similar to the 1946 and 2014 films also on this list. However, it’s poorly made and incredibly poorly acted. The singing was beyond awful and I admit to doing my fair share of fast-forwarding. I give the movie minor credit for the faithfulness to the original tale and the beautiful costume design. Other than that, pass. D-
Trivia: The movie was filmed entirely in Israel. (Wikipedia)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
I’m not going to bother convincing you of why this movie is amazing or even telling you about it, because you’ve all seen it. Amazing characters, a fantastic voice cast, timeless songs; this is one of Disney’s proudest achievements. When it comes down to it, you can’t beat Disney’s animated classic for a better fairy-tale story. A+
Trivia: It is the only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture Oscar without being nominated for Best Animated Feature, as the latter category had not been created at the time (IMDB).
Beauty and the Beast (2009)
No one can be surprised that this SyFy Channel original movie didn’t go over too well. Estella Warren makes a very beautiful Belle but beyond that, there’s nothing really great to say about this one. This is a loose adaptation of the original story where Belle and the Beast work together to prove that Beast is not responsible for a series of crimes. It’s SyFy so, what do you expect? F
Trivia: The project was filmed in Australia at locations on the Gold Coast and at studios at the Village Roadshow Studios adjacent to Warner Bros. Movie World in Queensland. (Wikipedia)
La Belle et la Bête (2014)
I was looking forward to watching this film for a long time before I finally got a chance to thanks to Netflix and it did not disappoint. Perhaps the most visually stunning of the films on this list, Le Belle et la Bete felt like a fairytale come to life. The casting was perfect and the use of the original French version of the story made me very happy. The movie managed to incorporate its own sense of magic and mystery completely different from Disney. I also really like how they used flashbacks to define The Beast’s character. My only complaint is that they could have built up the relationship between Belle and the Beast a bit more but hey, we knew the end of the story already. This was my personal favorite of all the live-action versions. A
Trivia: Perduras is a new character that was created for this movie only. (IMDB)
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
This film can definitely be considered a successful live-action adaptation of the Disney classic. It stuck very closely to the animated version, which is a good thing considering how amazing that story is. I personally hated the additional songs that were written specifically for this version.The singing isn’t nearly as strong as the animated version and it does get a bit tedious to see the same exact scenes played out. However, this is a fantastic film that anyone can enjoy. A-
Trivia: Alan Menken, who scored Beauty and the Beast (1991), returned to score this live-action adaptation, which includes new recordings of the original songs, in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. (IMDB)