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A Film Diary

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Watched: 4 September

I sat through this live-action remake of the Disney cartoon out of duty, rather than any specific desire to see it; it is, after all, the highest grossing film of 2017 as things currently stand, and thus something of a cultural phenomenon within a cultural phenomenon within a cultural phenomenon, or something like that. I should probably make it clear that I’ve not seen the animated film version, or indeed Jean Cocteau’s 1946 adaptation of the traditional French fairy tale, so I’m not comparing it to any prior cinematic efforts despite being familiar with the story. Anyway, it’s OK; perhaps a touch over-long for some children (I certainly got fidgety way before the end), and often way too dark (I know a lot of it is set at night, but my eyesight’s fine and I couldn’t make out what was going on half the time), but the three leads manage to turn in typical Disney performances (without ballsing things up too much), a couple of the songs are decent (when you’re in the moment) and the Beast’s castle is certainly lavish to look at (presumably that’s where most of the budget went). It has clearly found a willing, appreciative audience, though given that more live action remakes of classic Disney films are on the way I wonder whether this one will be remembered at all five years from now. (**½)

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