TL;DR – A film anchored by a transcendent performance that captures you from the start and never lets you go.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I attended a Press Screening of this film
Respect Review –
It has been the era of the musical biopic, with Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and even the Sparks Brothers getting a film all about them. But if one person is missing from this list, it would be the seminal Aretha Franklin. Her voice is like no other, and you get taken to another world every time you hear it. Today, we get to look at a film that not only fixes that glaring gap but does so in a way that left tears in my eyes.
So to set the scene, we open in Detroit, 1952, in the house of Reverend C. L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker). He is hosting a party for several influential people in the African-American community. Making his way to the back of the house, he finds Aretha ‘Re’ Franklin (Skye Dakota Turner) asleep in her bed. He asks her if she wants to sing, and the answer is, of course, yes. Even at a young age, she leads the choir at her father’s church, but as Aretha (Jennifer Hudson) grows older, she wants to do more to help Martin Luther King Jr. (Gilbert Glenn Brown). But at a party, her father surprised her with a ticket to New York to meet with John Hammond (Tate Donovan), a famous music producer, who could make her into a star.
TL;DR – It is a beautiful recreation of the original film with a great cast and music, but while it is good, it does not do enough to separate itself from its animated inspiration.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Beauty and the Beast was the crown jewel of the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s and were one of the few animated films to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. As a film, it is as majestic today as it was when it was released, and that’s a testament to the original songs and animation. So for any movie that adapts the classic La Belle et la Bête is going to have the issue of being compared to one of the greatest films that have been made, so how do you compete with such a legacy, how do you set your work apart from that classic film … well, how about you do a mostly shot by shot remake of the original. So not only is this the 3rd remake we have had in the row (see Power Rangers & Ghost in the Shell), it is also the next in this long line of live-action remakes of classic Disney films (see The Jungle Book) which only Pete’s Dragon has really worked for me. So with all these remakes floating around how does Beauty and the Beast compare with its past as well as the current cinematic landscape, well that is the question that we will be exploring today. Now since this is a movie based off a 1991 movie based on a story written in 1740 there may be some spoilers here, but the movie has been out for quite a while.