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Tale as Old as Time: Critic Reviews for 'Beauty and the Beast' Are a Mixed Bag

Disney's upcoming slate of live-action adaptations of their beloved films include such classics as Mulan and The Lion King with no end in sight

'Beauty And The Beast' [Credit: Disney]

#Disney's upcoming slate of live-action adaptations of their beloved films include such classics as #Mulan and #TheLionKing with no end in sight for the studio powerhouse's remake machine. After the previous adaptations of #Cinderella and #TheJungleBook successfully opened up the hearts (and wallets) of numerous fans, this year's adaptation of the 1991 #AcademyAward-winning Beauty And The Beast aimed to do the same -- and it most likely will.

However, many critics have not been as kind, with early reviews split on whether the live-action adaptation of the beloved animated movie is more of a beauty or a beast.

What The Critics Are Saying

With two weeks left before its wide release, critics have had a chance to check out the #EmmaWatson and #DanStevens pairing. With a tentative score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 6.2/10, critic reviews are a mixed bag of positive and negative.

Critic reviews are a mixed bag.

The following are a few excerpts from outlets that have had a chance to check out the film:

Leslie Felperin's review for The Hollywood Reporter:

Although THR's Felperin was not a huge fan of the big budgeted visual effects - its budget topping $160 million - she believes audiences worldwide will ultimately hit a sweet spot for them.

"Paradoxically, despite all the palpable budget spend on fancy computer effects, it’s the cheaper, old-school, real-world bits — like the big ensemble dance sequences or the moments when the actors interact directly with each other rather than with green-screen illusions — that pack the biggest wallops... Nevertheless, this live-action-meets-CGI musical directed by Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) should hit the sweet spot with audiences worldwide. Adding bonus in box-office terms, its early spring release leaves it relatively few competitors, apart from Kong: Skull Island and Power Rangers on either side of its opening weekend."

Owen Gleiberman for Variety:

Variety's Chief Film Critic, Gleiberman enjoyed the film, however he believes it doesn't really do a good job in convincing you that it is a film worth waiting for.

"But the larger question hanging over it is: How major — how paradigm-shifting — can this new form be? Is it a fad or a revolution? Disney already has a live-action 'Lion King' in the works, but it remains to be seen whether transforming animated features into dramas with sets and actors can be an inspired, or essential, format for the future... Going into 'Beauty and the Beast,' the sheer curiosity factor exerts a uniquely intense lure. Is the movie as transporting and witty a romantic fantasy as the animated original? Does it fall crucially short? Or is it in some ways better? The answer, at different points in the film, is yes to all three, but the bottom line is this: The new 'Beauty and the Beast' is a touching, eminently watchable, at times slightly awkward experience that justifies its existence yet never totally convinces you it’s a movie the world was waiting for."

Chris Nashawaty for Entertainment Weekly:

The original 1991 classic said it all.

EW's Nashawaty accurately describes Emma Watson as a "made-to-order Disney heroine" and praises her performance, however he ultimately wishes they did a little bit more with it considering the original 1991 classic said it all.

"Beauty and the Beast is a movie that can’t quite figure out what it wants to say that it didn’t already say back in 1991 — when it was the first full-length animated film to be nominated for a best picture Oscar (and this was when there were only five nominees in the category, too!). It’s fine and funny and sweet and lush and some of the songs are infectious, but I still don’t completely understand why it exists — and why they couldn’t do more with it."

Matt Goldberg for Collider:

Collider's Goldberg wittily mentions that the film "feels" all of its 129 minute run time and ultimately believes director Bill Condon "invests his energy in the wrong places."

"The 1991 film runs at a brisk 84 minutes. By comparison, the new movie is 129 minutes, and it feels it. While there are some stories where you stop and think, “Yes, I would like to spend more time with these characters and this world,” Condon invests his energy in the wrong places. Kevin Kline is a terrific actor, but I didn’t need to know more about Maurice. I didn’t need to know about how the enchantress functions in the present day. I didn’t need to know what happened to Belle’s mother. What I need in a love story between Belle and Beast is more investment in their relationship. To give you an idea about Condon’s priorities, their love story doesn’t really begin until about an hour into the movie."

Brian Truitt for USA Today:

USA Today's Truitt seemingly loved the live-action adaptation and believes the film "improves upon the animated classic."

"Watson’s singing is shaky early on with the signature Belle, though she settles into her feisty character who has no patience for illiterate brutes like uber-macho town hero Gaston (Luke Evans). Stevens' Beast is created through visual effects wizardry, but he finds the right balance between the despair of his pre-Belle days and the good-hearted, surprisingly witty dude he later becomes... More time is spent showing how these two grow to dig each other beyond just geeking out over books — a new plot point has the Beast helping Belle come to grips with the loss of her mom. (Little ones may need to talk after seeing those scenes, and there are a couple of instances with wolves viciously attacking Belle and Beast that are a little harrowing.)"

The inclusion of new material helps it feel fresh.

Aisha Harris for Slate:

Slate's Harris wonders how "a story about a woman prisoner falling in love with her beast captor is still this enchanting" and believes the inclusion of new material helps it feel fresh.

"Contrary to what the promos would have you believe, this is not a shot-for-shot, line-for-line remake à la Gus Van Sant, and surprises abound. While much of the original script remains the same, screenwriters Steven Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, as well as long-time Disney composer Alan Menken (who also wrote for the original, along with the late Howard Ashman), sprinkle in just enough new material and character development to help it feel fresh."

Beauty And The Beast stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, #LukeEvans, #JoshGad, #EwanMcGregor, #SirIanMcKellen and #EmmaThompson and releases on March 17th, 2017.

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