I made the mistake of watching the new Beauty & The Beast this weekend, my god it was spectacularly bad. Emma Watson is the worst possible choice they could have made for Belle (from a "who's good as Belle?" point of view she is anyway; from a marketing point of view she makes a lot of sense because the OG B&TB generation of kids are also the Harry Potter generation of kids, and thus you end up with Emma Watson murdering the part of Belle), her singing is excruciating, her delivery of dialogue is so loud and obnoxious, and in every scene she just seems in a rush to move immediately between the main beats with minimal effort. She brings no imagination or personality to the role at all.
The Beast is similarly crap, the CGI is weird and out of place, and Dan Stevens is doing nothing to convince me the character is real. There's barely a relationship between him and Belle, I didn't feel any tenderness between them at all, I didn't feel either of them changing across the film, it's the central purpose of the film and it doesn't work even slightly. It's all going through the motions; hollow, perfunctory, no passion.
If I hadn't seen Beauty & The Beast before, I'd see this as just flat, ropey, big budget with no heart. But I have seen Beauty & The Beast, I know it pretty much by heart, so when I'm watching something that is so much a complete replica of the original, it's just a constant reminder of how poor this film is. Every bit of recycled dialogue or shot (and there is a lot) just sends my mind right to the original, so I've got a side-by-side in my head, and the new one gets shown up to be the mess it is. They do change some things as well, but again, because I'm so familiar with the original they all stick out as changes, and every singe one is bewildering and stupid and detracts from the plot overall.
It really isn't entirely bad; Luke Banes does a very good Gaston, and I do think in some of his scenes the film comes close to what I think might be its overall goal of being a sparkly, unashamed, rehash, just for the novelty of seeing this beloved classic re-enacted by real life 3D fleshy hoomans, a bit like a Broadway version for your living room. But because it failed on pretty much every other level, it's not even worth a cursory stream just for him.
So elephant in the room is Lefou. When I heard that he was going to be "Disney's first openly gay character" in this film, I was intrigued. Of course I want to see more representation in films, so if this was going to be good I was all for it. Mainly though, the choice of Lefou for the first gay character seemed like a little bit of a red flag; you're going to take this character who exists to be a sniveling, sycophantic, caricatured coward that has a weird devoted obsession with the local sexist shithead alpha-male bro, and he's going to be your first gay character? Ok, well there's work to do there, better not mishandle that one. In the mid and end sections there is some attempt at making him an actual character and somewhat sympathetic, rather than a pathetic creepy loser, but it overall doesn't really work and doesn't amount to much. But the gay "plot element" (which, btw, it absolutely is not) turns out to be a two-second, hackneyed joke. It's not diversity, it's not representation, it's barely even tokenism. It looks to my cynical mind like they accidentally put a homophobic joke into the film and didn't notice until it was ready to distribute, so decided to sell it as something it's not. There's worse things happening in the world right now, but I can't help but feel a bit disappointed with Disney for it.
Long story short; it's a crap film, don't waste your time.