Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Culture | By Elsie Buchanan

Broadway star Audra McDonald calls Beauty and the Beast controversy 'overblown'

Broadway star Audra McDonald calls Beauty and the Beast controversy 'overblown'

If you've seen the 1991 animated version of "Beauty and the Beast", then you'll know most of the plotline of this remake.

And, man, is it ever two-plus hours of mostly unremarkable movie-making. "And he does that out of love, even though it means that the spell will not be broken". Maurice fails to return home after stumbling upon the beast's castle and taking refuge inside from the cold.

Elsewhere, Luke Evans is an excellent choice to play villainous Gaston. You would think with someone who has that kind of celebrity that they could have a bit of an ego but not at all with her. How did the entire land manage to forget they had a prince looking over them in just ten years?

"Beauty" has some things going for it. Through the use of new and classic songs from the original film, which is paired up with a well-told backstory, the adaptation is expected to go beyond expectations. The sets are impressive, and the nonhuman characters covered in ornate little details. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen are simply inspired choices as Lumiere and Cogsworth and offer the flawless touch of levity to the Beast's frustration and tragedy.

The rest of the cast is very good with the exception of Ewan McGregor's terrible French accent. Evans, despite being noticeably a bit older than his character should be, is almost ideal as a loathsome, stupid jerk.

"When you're able to bring wonderful casts to some of these characters - that haven't been realized in live action. you can sort of bring layers and texture", Bailey said. Emma even took off her microphone and Dan looked like he was about to take the poster stand with him.

While many critics pointed out that lead actor Emma Watson's singing voice is more pleasant than powerful. He's a little too subdued to be scary and he could have used a little more depth.

So, should audiences be Disney's guest once more to see this tale as old as time (or, more accurately, tale as old as about 1740 or so)?

Director Bill Condon, who directed "Dreamgirls", has created a stunning, beautiful, inclusive movie that is ultimately about a guy and a girl. For instance, the iconic ballroom scene from the animated movie becomes a phony electronic light show. Maybe another few drafts were required.

EW premiered the first look at the cast with a behind-the-scenes investigation of Beauty and the Beast, complete with secrets from the United Kingdom set. The digital work is lovely and impressive, but it somehow feels less alive than the hand-drawn animation. In a nod to Belle's favorite play, Condon's film reminded me more of Hailee Steinfeld's wash/rinse/repeat "Romeo & Juliet" than Baz Luhrmann's dialogue-faithful, rock "n" roll "Romeo + Juliet". But this "Beauty" feels lifeless, and honestly doesn't do enough to justify its own existence.

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