MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on target What exactly is the point of this?No need to answer that – we already all know the point is selling tickets and thus entirely rhetorical. Even still, while there really isn’t anything especially “wrong” with Beauty & The Beast, it’s the first of this new live-action Disney fairytale cycle that’s not even pretending that there was some other compelling reason for a remake other than to score a big box-office off of generational nostalgia and ensure that future fans of various Disney classics have to buy two different versions of their favorites.At least, the Cinderella remake was about re-centering the title character and giving her more agency of her own since when you actually watch it the original is mostly about the mice and the cat. The Jungle Book remake was an interesting attempt to decouple the original story from Kipling’s implicit racism and explicit colonialist romanticism. Maleficent was doing something completely different and unique (hence why it’s the best of the lot so far) and even those two Alice movies… well, a low-bar is important, too.Beauty & The Beast, on the other hand, has no such pretense – likely because it doesn’t think it needs to. Just about everyone seems to have agreed that the original is either the best animated Disney movie or at least the best of the “renaissance era,” so there’s nothing to fix or even to pretend is need of some dramatic new take. It’s a blow-by-blow recreation of the original, with the majority of minor changes slotted in to accommodate some new songs among the classics. Plus a bunch of obvious plot-mechanic fixes grafted-on to address longstanding issues like “how old IS The Beast again?” and why it took wildly-varied lengths of time to travel between Belle’s village and the castle.As what amounts to a studio producing their own fan-film, it’s not half bad – Emma Watson gives an interesting turn as Belle, Luke Evans puts a different slightly edgier spin on Gaston, everyone acquits themselves admirably in the singing department and the casting for the various talking objects in the Beast’s Castle is pretty inspired. Everyone is very clearly going through the motions in paying homage to the classic; and while that doesn’t add up to much new or exciting, if watching a bunch of present-actors re-enact a movie you liked as a kid and seeing a bunch of Disney’s best songs get blown-up broadway-style is what you’re looking for there are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon.Honestly, if there’s one glaring issue I have with the new movie it’s that The Beast himself… doesn’t really work. The fact is, almost every live-action version of this story has been limited somewhat by how difficult it is to realize The Beast as a character. That’s part of why it lent itself so well to animation, where they were free to conjure a totally alien-looking fantastical “thing” that walked like a gorilla and looked like some lion/buffalo/bear hybrid. Thusly, you’d think they’d take the opportunity to use motion-capture and CGI to make him look properly interesting in live-action; but instead the overall design looks like something that could’ve been accomplished with makeup and prosthetics; he actually looks more human and less like a monster than he ever did as a cartoon. He’s sort of a dull lead, and that’s a problem because he gets more screen time to himself in this version including a whole new solo song number. There is also some backstory about an abusive father that’s supposed to explain why he was a brat (and also weirdly try and justify why the servants are all cursed, too) none of which adds up to much.Also not adding up to much is the “big controversy” over making Josh Gad’s LeFou gay. Good on Disney for saying “Yeah, this in a kids movie shouldn’t be a big deal in 2017.” But for the all the buildup it’s gotten in the press it’s pretty amusing to see that about 90% of it is just gags, innuendo and asides that all feel borrowed from when The Simpsons was doing the exact same routine with Mr. Smither’s like 20 years ago. The payoff is cute, but like the rest of the movie it’s all very perfunctory.In the end, I didn’t dislike Beauty & The Beast, but I did find myself wishing they’d at least tried to find some new spin on the material or some other thematic concept to explore to make this more than just a studio taking a “victory lap” in celebration of a movie everyone already agrees was good.