Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast ★½

In spite of what Disney told us, no, this does not contain an 'openly gay character'. LeFou remains closeted, and his homosexuality is only (very heavily) implied through jokey jokes. The payoff, referred to as a 'nice, exclusively gay moment' by director Bill Condon, is the lamest of these jokes and there's nothing exclusively gay about it. It comes after (and in contrast with) a whole bunch of romantic heterosexual smooching, and presents the mere idea of homosexuality as hilarious. (I wouldn't have been so critical of all this if Disney had not attempted to frame their gay jokes as progressive.)

Anyway, the movie is bullshit and unnecessary. It takes the original's tight screenplay and adds forty minutes of padding, like a student trying to get a paper up to the required word count. It imitates the original's kitschy aesthetic, which is even uglier in live action. The best thing in it are the songs, but Emma Watson is not as good a singer as Paige O'Hara, so why bother? Well, maybe you want to see a proper musical with good songs in the cinema, in which case this is probably the best Hollywood has to offer right now. Just make sure to run out before you hear Ariana Grande and John Legend's rendition of the title song over the credits. These 'adult contemporary' covers of Disney songs would always depress the shit out of me as a kid - now they baffle and infuriate me.

Speaking of infuriating things, pay attention to the background artists acting their asses off during the musical numbers in the village. I always hate-watch those performances in musicals; even in good ones, they're usually terribly desperate. Turning to each other as they sing, emoting like fuck, nodding. So much nodding.

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