All the huffing and puffing about Disney’s live-action re-imagining of “Beauty and the Beast” is misdirected. Of the things to be mad about, it’s not that there are gay characters, but rather that it’s dull as dishwater. (Ask the dishes.)
NuBeauty is nothing more than nostalgia fodder. There’s hardly anything new about it—your favorite songs from the 1991 film are here with little-to-no refresh. Emma Watson is 2017 Belle and is too often just there for a reaction shot when Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) do whacky anthropomorphic things.
Bill Condon’s direction is magnificent, and his polish shines during its musical numbers. If 2017 “Beauty” is to purely serve as a jumping-in point for a new generation to the films of the Disney Renaissance period, it suffices (albeit lazily), though other franchises have done it better. (See: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”)
Its cast is also secretly wonderful. Stanley Tucci and Kevin Kline round it out. But it’s Josh Gad’s LeFou attracting all the buzz and getting the film banned in places like Alabama and countries where it’s illegal to be a woman in public. 2017 LeFou is gay and is one of the film’s only real lasting treats. But alas, we live in a world where being gay is bad but wanting to fuck a kidnapping bison-man is good.
A solid cast, polished song-and-dance numbers and the old favorites make 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” an OK time for fans of its predecessor, but its glorified copy-paste job of the original and a bored lead set it two steps back. Perhaps “Beauty and the Beast” is a tale too old for our time.
“Beauty and the Beast” is due to hit theaters Friday.
Grade: 2.5 stars