Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais as The Beast La Belle et la Bete Jean Cocteau 1946 picture image

Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais as The Beast

In the past five years there have been two major movie adaptation done on Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. One was a French film done in 2014 that took some very big swing on adapting the story to a large scale epic and the other was a 2017 Disney remake of the 1991 animated version. Both films are technically an adaption of the traditional French Fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve. The story took inspiration from other stories including Cupid and Psyche. So nothing is original, everything is adaption and elevation, but are these films?

Jean Cocteau Arm homage in 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Jean Cocteau Arm homage in 2017 Beauty and the Beast

Both films took their queue from other adaptations of Beauty and the Beast, 2014 was made in the spirit of Jean Cocteau’s 1946 version and the 2017 version was a direct remake of Disney’s 1991 movie which also took some influence from Cocteau and other source in addition to the original fairy tale.  Though I just want to say the 2017 movie has a shot of the an arm holding a lamp, so there was a Cocteau homage shoe-horned into the movie.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

The 2017 movie and the 2014  movie are vastly different attempts at adaptation. The 2014 version follows the story closely till Belle reaches the Beast’s Castle but then take some very big swings and makes a lot of weird decisions like giving the beast a complex backstory that ultimately doesn’t make sense to the narrative and weakens the love story. Basically the Beast wouldn’t have been a beast if he and his first  wife just had communicated.  On the other end of the spectrum you have the 2017 version which tries to correct some flaws with original 1991 movie but it’s nearly a shot for shot remake that doesn’t enhance the story for the medium of Live-action.  

Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast

The 2017 does add elements that actually makes the story dumber. The only decision that is improve upon and is different is that the stakes are higher for the servants in the castle and the curse is expanded upon and the town is also cursed to a degree. That is the only improved change. The rest of the changes are very misguided, like the book that can go anywhere which was just there because of Belle wanting adventure. However the only time it was used was for backstory on how Belle’s mother died of the plague even though the movie hinted at  a more violent end as Maurice talked about being safe in the village. Also they way they reached the conclusion of death by plague was Belle and Beast finding a doctor’s mask. Why would the doctor just leave that behind anyway? It was a poorly thought out addition that didn’t add anything.

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

Disney didn’t have to approach this project so straight on. They could have gone in any number of directions. Not sure where the fault lies as every decision seemed half-baked and followed the lead of a better movie. Maybe the department heads were not allowed to be creative with the look or style.  While I don’t like the 2014 movie for how confused and boring the narrative was at least the design of the castle and the costumes were on point and interesting. Also the visuals were good in parts.

 Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast

The result of the 2017 version was a very calculating remake. Disney knew that their 1991 movie was a triumph as it was nominated for a Best Picture award so they knew they could more less stand on the original’s success to make money and maybe some awards. While the 2014 movie was a misguided effort there was still a creative effort which can’t be sayt about the 2017 remake.

 

Also I hated the acting and the costume but that is for another day because I have words for that ballgown.

This are movies that I was disappointed in and in a few cases just missed the worst list. These are in no particular order.  Also only did five of them.

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng The Promise picture image review

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng

The Promise –  This one just nearly missed the worst list. A few things kept it off, one being it was its own thing so it didn’t  oppose a source material, at least to my knowledge, the visuals in parts were very nice and I gave it the benefit of the doubt that the Chinese version was better. However, I wished the plot focused more on the lead female like Netflix suggested it did and not a fast runner fighting an evil duke that has a thing for feathers. Overall this one way really confusing and disappointing.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

La Belle et la Bete (2014) – This movie I really wanted to like but the film-makers really messed most of this up. They gave the Beast a backstory that confused things and they went too far with trying to make it epic. I’m not saying that Fairy Tales movies can’t be epic but film makers need to stop doing it because you can’t pull if off. But more than that they didn’t even bother to have  Belle and Beast fall in love which should have been a crime. This movie is lucky that they were so many other terrible  movies or it would been on the worst list. The costumes were nice though.

Moira Shearer as Vicky having to choice between love and dancing The Red Shoes picture image

Moira Shearer as Vicky having to choice between love and dancing

The Red Shoes – This movie is yet another movie that people like and I was more disappointed in. If they had spent the time to establish Vicky’s love of dance, the romance,  and why she really had to make the choice between dancing and love it would have been better. The plot was just too rushed and unexplained. The Ballet part of the great though, so it’s slightly forgivable that the rushed the boring icky movie parts. I just want to note that shot  which is the picture shows  is really great.

Rutger Hauer as Navarre with Isabeau in Hawk form Ladyhawke picture image

Rutger Hauer as Navarre with Isabeau in Hawk form

Ladyhawke – I really wanted to like this movie but it was just too boring, too bland, too tonal confused  and too fill of 80’s cheesiness.   It’s a weird yet bad combination.

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit

Cinderella (2015) – Again I really wanted to like this movie, the casting spoke to me and it had lovely costumes but it wasn’t enough. The choices they made just confused the plot and Ella was less proactive than her 1950 counterpart. I don’t need or really want a super hero military leader Cinderella but girl just spins and twirls. Also the pacing of this one was really bad, it felt so much longer than it needed to be.

Honorable Mention

The Snow Queen (2002) – Just because it was super long, the acting was bad and the weird to heck plot. But I didn’t have any excpetations of it so that helped.

La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

La Belle et la Bete

I don’t want to blame The Lord of the Rings for ruining fairy-tale movies but I think Lord of the Rings is ruining fairy-tale movies as they now have to be EPIC! Case in point, this movie. The 2014 version of La Belle et la Bete seems to be a remake of the 1946 movie, which I have gone on record as saying I love, however this 2014 French movie is not a remake, it’s a more of a weird re-imagining that seems to be telling a Beauty and the Beast tale but it doesn’t really want to.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

Before I tell you the plot here is a game to keep in mind, try and pinpoint the exact moment when this story decides it would rather be a totally different movie, it’s not hard.

It starts off pretty much same as the 1946 version except this version is told as a story to children, gee movie I wonder who could be telling this tale and who these kids are, it not obvious at all. Belle’s family is being forced to move to the country as the’yre poor now. Belle is the youngest child and her mother died giving birth to her. In the country, Belle is enjoying the new life but when her father hears the one of his boats survived the storm that sunk. Her father asks what she wants back from his trip and she says a rose.

The father doesn’t get his shipment of goods and is instead  attacked by some thugs who his son owns money to or something (Just get used to these thugs guys, they are the villains). Belle’s father escapes but gets lost and lands in an enchanted domain complete with enchanted castle. In the castle he is given a lots of gifts for his family but he when he takes a rose, the Beast tells him to go home and say good-bye to him family and then to come back to die and if he doesn’t come back the beast will kill the whole family. Belle feels responsible and goes to the beast to die in her father’s place.

The Beast gives her lots of gifts and free roam of the castle which is enchanted with these weird dog-like creatures that are like servants. The Beast tells Belle that her curfew is seven o’clock and he asks if she is in love with him, which she is not.

Belle is then sent weird dreams about a Prince and his wife. The Prince likes to hunt and that makes his wife uneasy. The wife asks the prince to stop hunting deer specifically and he agrees if she gives him an heir. Belle gets more of these dreams throughout the movie.

Belle and the Beast have somewhat a uneasy relationship but Belle tries to get a visit to her family but the Beast doesn’t want to let her go. Belle offers a dance in exchange for a visit, so they dance but the Beast doesn’t give Belle her wish so she bails. The Beast chases after her and pounces on her on some ice and she crashes down through. He brings her back to the castle and heals her with some magic water. When she comes to he agrees to left her visit for family for a day and if she doesn’t return he will die. Before though he gives her some magic water in necklace form.

Belle returns and her brothers and they  see her riches and bargains with the thugs for whatever treasure for the family’s safety. Belle heals her father with the magic water. Belle gets a final dream (she had like two of these prior). In one dream prior we learn that the Prince’s wife was pregnant. In the final dream the Prince is hunting and finds a deer and shots it. The Deer turns out to be his wife who was nymph of the forest. In a rage for killing his daughter the God of the Forest turns him into a beast and you know how this works, only love can break it.

We then get a fight with the thugs. Belle races to help and begs the Beast not to kill the lead thug guy but he mortally wounds the Beast with the golden arrow that he killed his wife with (there was a statue that you see a few times). As the Beast is dying, there are like giants that come out and thorns and they like kill all the bad thugs. Belle and her brothers get the Beast to the magical water and presto he’s fine. Belle ends her tales and the kids go to sleep but OMFG, the kids are her and beast’s children this whole time and they live in the house in the country with Belle’s dad, WHA? I’m SO SHOCKED! No, not really.

 Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Léa Seydoux as Belle

Despite my plot summery, which I will admit I don’t have a super grand recollection of this movie, that final confrontation lasts a while and REALLY doesn’t make any sense but a lot about this movie doesn’t make much sense.

Ok, let’s just start with the positives, that is typically a good place to start usually, in most cases.

The movie on a whole looked good. The costumes are the de-facto high point. They are pretty and somewhat imaginative. I like her red coral and her white gowns the best. The setting was pretty. They made the castle overrun with flowers which made it more enchanting. However the CGS, oh god the CGIs were awful. Sorry, I know I was going with positives and I go right to a bad point but you have to understand they were bad. The Beast looked really bad.

I guess another good point was the acting, it didn’t suck that much. I mean it could have been bad though the character had little personality so there wasn’t that much to ask for so it’s a mute point.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

So now we come to it, the movie and the story. Apparently this movie actually had good reviews that said it kept “ the original spirit of the story.” No, no it didn’t. This movie was like watching a director trying to mimic Peter Jackson and Tim Burton making a Beauty and the Beast movie sans the point of the story. Even the score sounded like a Danny Elfman knock-off which wasn’t that bad but it was super apparent.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

This movie’s main issue is that it wants to be BIG and EPIC, there is an epic fight with giants and magic and it wants to have a interesting backstory for the Beast and you know what, that is fine, that’s a great idea BUT that epicness come at the expense of BEAUTY AND THE GODAMN BEAST! I do not buy for one instant that these two fell in love. I don’t see it. There isn’t one scene that indicates a love story. There was a scene where they were marginally nice to each other but is that love? Apparently is it because next time they see each other they are in love and voila spell is broken.

I’ll get more to the spell in a second because I have problems with that as well as the backstory. But because this movie wanted to have like a mysterious backstory it takes away interactions with the the two leads and as a result I have no clue for the characters. They didn’t develop or fall in love with each other and that is the spirit of the original story, love and it’s not even remotely present in this movie.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast in Human form La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast in Human form

So because this movie made a decision to have an intricate backstory, how it? Well It’s like we’re in a whole different movie and it kind begs the question why bother?

Maybe I’m wrong but I thought the POINT of the Beast is that because he was beast he lacked the capacity to relate to people on an intimate level BUT here he was MARRIED? Am I supposed to believe that he didn’t know how to deal with a woman?

So unlike other Beasts that are either jerks or walking a thin line between animal and humanity, this beast is a jerk to Belle because he killed his wife accidentally? You know he wasn’t acting like he did, In fact with the whole backstory I thought that the beast was the Prince’s son the whole time because the Beast was acting like an immature brat the whole movie and not like a suave guy who is mourning his beloved wife. I mean the twist was good but MY GOODNESS it was stupid. And why would the Forest God turn him into a Beast to find love when it was in payment for killing his daughter? That makes zero sense as a revenge punishment. Why give him an out that leads to happiness? At least other spells were teaching him a lesson, I don’t see the point of this one at all.

And why did the God turn him into a Beast and then seem to help him in fight at the end? Why? It didn’t make sense, was it because of the nymph’s love? I know she was the one sending Belle the dreams but why? See doesn’t see like the backstory and the fight belong in a different movie!

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

I will give 2014 La Belle et la Bete a little credit, it gave the story atmosphere and pretty costumes but what it gave it more than lacked; it lacked sense, characters, and the romance of beauty and the beast.

Time for Clues;
Clue 1 & Clue 2

Since this is the very last Tuesday of 2014, I thought I would do a mini look back and see what version was the best and which was the worst. This past year we have looked at like 3 versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The 1986 version, the Enchanted Tales version and the 1997 version. Technically we touched on the lost films back in January but since I can’t even pretend I watched them they don’t count toward reviews.

Melody Enchanted Tales Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Melody

The worst version is without a doubt the Enchanted Tales version. A handsome Quasimodo and a terrible moral, yuck. But you know I could deal with the handsome Quasi and the perplexing moral if the animation and songs were decent and not a painful bowel movement  but alas this version says fuck good anything. I will say that this versions was my favorite to tear a part because that is the only thing it has going for it. Also this version was technically the first hunchback version I got screen caps for back in October of 2010, two months before the blog launched. I actually have more pictures that I didn’t use.

 

Esmeralda Dancing 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Dancing

For best version of this year, that is hard one as we only have the 1986 and the 1997 versions left.

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Salma Hayek as Esmeralda, 1997 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Both versions have their strengths and weaknesses. If I were to judge solely on keeping to the book, I would say the 1986 version is better but if I going on what is debatably the more entertaining movie, I would say the 1997 version. It just so hard because both films’ flaws are so apparent that it’s hard to overlook them but I will say the 1997 version is marginal better.

I can’t wait for 2015! I hope to look at some famous/infamous versions.

Quasimodo Turkey  Thanksgiving 2014 hunchback notre dame picture image

What is Quasimodo thankful for?

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 or the fourth  thursday in November.

Halloween 2014 Spooky Esmeralda picture image

Spooky Esmeralda

 

This is from Frollo’s Point-of-view.

Created by me using Azaleadolls Herione creator and and modifying a scary background from hdwallsource.com.

I haven’t really been following the 2014 Winter Olympics BUT two (or three) Gold Medalists, Yuzuru Hanyu and Meryl Davis & Charlie have previously skated to Notre Dame de Paris music.

 

You can see their Notre Dame de Paris performances here

https://www.thehunchblog.com/2013/02/meryl-davis-charlie-white-ice-dance-to-notre-dame-de-paris/

https://www.thehunchblog.com/2012/12/yuzuru-hanyu-skating-to-notre-dame-de-paris/

It that time of the year again, that magical time when anything seem possible and we try to better ourselves in the New fresh year. I’m of course talking about New Year Resolutions! I had one for 2013 and that was to read  two books; Anna Karenina and Les Miserable. I read Anna Karenina still need to read Le Mis.

Anyway what would the Cast of Hunchback’s New Year Resolution for 2014 be?

Quasimodo – Get out More
Esmeralda – Stop being  so Perfect
Frollo –  Stalk More
Phoebus – Stop being Perfect
Gringoire – Get my Morality Play on Broadway
Clopin –  Gain 20 Pounds (^_~)
Fleur de Lys – Have more Fun
Jehan – Mooch More
Djali – Learn a New Trick
Sister Gudule – Connect with family
Notre Dame – See the Eiffel Tower

Here  are their Resolutions form 2013 https://www.thehunchblog.com/2013/01/new-years-resolution/

Madeline, Courage's Quasimodo, 1982, Wishbone and  1956 , Hunchback, new Year2104

All the Hunchback Versions that have been reviewed this past year!

Frollo and Big Fat Baby 2014

Frollo isn’t ready for 2014