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Beauty and the Beast
(2017)
Album Cover Art
Regular Edition
Deluxe Edition
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Lyrics by:
Howard Ashman
Tim Rice

Orchestrated by:
James Shearman
Doug Besterman
Michael Starobin
Danny Troob
Jonathan Tunick
Michael Berry
Kevin Kliesch

Conducted and Additional Music by:
Michael Kosarin

Additional Music by:
Christopher Benstead

Co-Produced by:
Matt Sullivan
Mitchell Lieb
Labels Icon
LABELS & RELEASE DATES
Walt Disney Records
(Regular Edition)
(March 10th, 2017)

Walt Disney Records
(Deluxe Edition)
(March 10th, 2017)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Both albums are regular U.S. releases, the "Deluxe Edition" CD set only $4 more than the "Regular Edition" upon initial availability.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you demand loyalty to the original 1991 film and can appreciate the filmmakers' genuine attempt to resurrect and improve upon the classical musical, the resulting remake a relief at worst and exhilarating at best.

Avoid it... if you believe voice casting to be the most important aspect of any musical production, because some highly questionable choices, led by Emma Watson's unforgivable lead performance, define this remake as inferior to its inspiration.
Review Icon
EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,867
WRITTEN 6/10/17
Menken
Menken
Beauty and the Beast (2017): (Alan Menken) Inspired by the success of live action reinterpretations of several of its other classic cinematic properties, Walt Disney Studios launched an effort to remake its immensely popular animated musicals of its 1990's renaissance. Its risky but wildly successful live action adaptation of 1991's extraordinarily acclaimed Beauty and the Beast evolved through several drafts that could have taken the concept into the realm of non-musical darkness, but the filmmakers eventually realized after audience reactions to Frozen that a demand for old-school musicals remains fruitful for parents who fell in love with the 1990's Disney classics and want to pass them on to their own children. The studio ultimately sought to make an incredibly faithful tribute to the original Beauty and the Beast film, bypassing even the more successful elements of the 1994 Broadway version and instead expanding upon musical ideas focused squarely on the concept's film. Unsurprisingly, there was controversy surrounding the remake, most of it relating to homosexual undertones and the Stockholm syndrome, the former landing the movie on banned lists in some countries. Inevitable comparisons to the vocal performances of the classic film also arose in the mainstream, though audiences were nonetheless bedazzled by the spectacle to such an extent that the 2017 film passed its 1991 inspiration in lifetime grosses after just six days on the way to earning more than a billion dollars and becoming one the most noteworthy fiscal triumphs to date for all of cinema. Disney expectedly took these prevailing returns as reason to expedite the production of similar live-action adaptations of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. The prospects for those films will likely rest on retaining the single most important contributor to Beauty and the Beast: composer Alan Menken.

Disney's 1990's renaissance was largely the result of Menken's song-writing abilities, and while the studio has hired major Hollywood composing names like Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Patrick Doyle, and John Debney to write non-musical scores for their other adapted properties, the decision to return to Menken for Beauty and the Beast was key to its success. The filmmakers admitted that the original songs were a goldmine they'd be insane to neglect for the 2017 project, and Menken and lyricist Tim Rice were tasked with resurrecting unresolved musical ideas from that project, including some of the late Howard Ashman's unused lyrics, for the new picture. The core six songs were slated to remain, though occasionally in rearranged form with new lyrics. A bigger challenge arose with other placements, especially in how to utilize the "Human Again" song that was originally drafted for the 1991 film but dropped, only to see it flourish in the 1994 Broadway show and reinserted into the movie's subsequent releases on home video. Several of the other Broadway show's songs written by Menken were potential inclusions, and the composer especially wanted to use the Beast's "If I Can't Love Her" lamentation despite "How Long Must This Go On" being an arguably superior and easier insertion for the character into the film's narrative. Upon the decision to apply the melody of Belle's longing "Home" song from Broadway into two key scenes in the film, there came subsequent questions about why other melodies from the Broadway version didn't make the same transition simply to enthrall concept enthusiasts. A quick drop of "Maison des Lunes" into the Maurice incarceration scene's score would have been delightful, for instance. In general, though, the actual song replacements for the new film are improvements, "How Does a Moment Last Forever" superior to its Broadway equivalent, "No Matter What," and "Evermore" significantly superior to anything in the stage production.

Most of the alterations made to the musical numbers and underlying score for 2017's Beauty and the Beast were necessitated by storyline evolutions. The film is noticeably darker and more sinister than its animated counterpart. Kevin Kline's show-stealing performance as Maurice and the turning of LeFou as Gaston's violent neurosis becomes more evident both joined a changed timeline of performance opportunities for the Beast as game-changing storyline considerations. The sheer length of "Human Again" was the reason for its demise in the new film. Perhaps the most unnecessary insertion is the splitting of the prologue sequence by the new song "Aria," an operatic interlude to establish perhaps an excess of character background. Aside from the misplaced "Aria" and some questionable neglecting of a few of the Broadway songs, however, it's difficult to quibble much with the overall applications of the songs. Purists will find the altered phrasing and rearranged lyrics to be distracting at times, especially with the two songs for the villains. While "The Mob Song" has always been a bit marginalized among the original six, its presentation here is more satisfying than "Gaston," which experiences significant alterations, a new dancing interlude breaking the song's flow and its reprise sadly eliminated. The performances of these songs by Luke Evans and Josh Gad are satisfactory, though Evans has difficulty matching the booming Gaston presence of Richard White or Burke Moses on previous recordings. Evans' normal speaking voice also has an uncanny resemblance to that of an exacerbated Pierce Brosnan, which proves a bit distracting during his spoken lines in the middle of "Belle." At least their performances sound naturally inflective. Emma Watson in the lead role, however, is not so fortunate. Despite coaching from the original fan-favorite Belle, Paige O'Hara, and support from Broadway's supremely talented Belle, Susan Egan, Watson simply cannot sing worth a damn, and the auto-tuning of her voice is the whole soundtrack's only catastrophic error.

For some Beauty and the Beast purists, hearing Watson's cringe-worthy performances in the spectacular, Oscar-nominated "Belle," its reprise, and "Something There" could be a deal-breaker. The technique of auto-tuning a voice to electronically force an uneven performance onto a desired note with consistency has existed for many years, debuting popularly in Cher's song "Believe" back in the 1990's and widely adopted not long after. But the result of an auto-tuned vocal performance is a sense of artificiality that comes when there lacks the natural movement between notes in any authentic performance. It's impossible to convey inflective emotion through a recording as badly auto-tuned as Watson's here, the interlude sequence in "Belle," made famous on the hilltop in "Belle (Reprise)" and returning at 1:33 into "Something There," nearly unlistenable in its mechanical demeanor. Ironically, at the one moment when the filmmakers decided to allow Watson to express actual acting in her singing, at the words "alarming" and "charming" in "Something There," she crucifies the first of the two words badly. Fortunately, in the case, of "Belle," there are numerous supporting voices buffering Watson's performance, but she's so clearly inferior to the other performers that it does make you question, once again, the casting of a lead character in a musical based on notoriety and looks rather than singing talent. (Look no further than the 2004 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera or 2012's Les Misérables for ample examples of entire productions ruined by such folly.) There has been some fan displeasure expressed over Emma Thompson's assuming of the role of Mrs. Potts from Angela Lansbury in the 1991 film, though while there may some electronic smoothing out of her voice, the auto-tuning on Thompson is not as evident. She does have more singing experience, and perhaps some purists' complaints relate to the fact that her voice is clearly younger-sounding than Lansbury's and thus does not convey quite the grandmotherly tone in the classic "Beauty and the Beast" and beyond.



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VIEWER RATINGS
144 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.86 Stars
***** 55 5 Stars
**** 43 4 Stars
*** 25 3 Stars
** 14 2 Stars
* 7 1 Stars
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Harsh for 5 stars
Sparticus - June 13, 2017, at 7:34 a.m.
1 comment  (93 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS
Regular Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 53:31
• 1. Overture (3:05)
• 2. Main Title: Prologue, Part 1 - performed by Hattie Morahan (0:42)
• 3. Aria - performed by Audra McDonald (1:02)
• 4. Main Title: Prologue, Part 2 - performed by Hattie Morahan (2:21)
• 5. Belle - performed by Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and Cast (5:33)
• 6. How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box) - performed by Kevin Kline (1:03)
• 7. Belle (Reprise) - performed by Emma Watson (1:15)
• 8. Gaston - performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Cast (4:25)
• 9. Be Our Guest - performed by Ewan McGregor and Cast (4:48)
• 10. Days in the Sun - performed by Adam Mitchell and Cast (2:40)
• 11. Something There - performed by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Cast (2:54)
• 12. How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montmartre) - performed by Emma Watson (1:55)
• 13. Beauty and the Beast - performed by Emma Thompson (3:19)
• 14. Evermore - performed by Dan Stevens (3:14)
• 15. The Mob Song - performed by Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Cast (2:28)
• 16. Beauty and the Beast (Finale) - performed by Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson, and Cast (2:14)
• 17. How Does a Moment Last Forever - performed by Celine Dion (3:37)
• 18. Beauty and the Beast - performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend (3:47)
• 19. Evermore - performed by Josh Groban (3:09)
Deluxe Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 131:26

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes lyrics to all the songs and extensive notes about the film and soundtrack from the director, composer, and lyricist.
Copyright © 2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Beauty and the Beast are Copyright © 2017, Walt Disney Records (Regular Edition), Walt Disney Records (Deluxe Edition) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/10/17 (and not updated significantly since).
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