If you're going to remake a Disney classic, then you're either really confident or really foolish to adapt Beauty and The Beast into the realm of live-action. Needless to say, it's even more of a challenge to bring said classic to live with a 3D spin, which is exactly why we here at CinemaBlend were particularly interested to give Bill Condon's recent film the To 3D or Not To 3D treatment.
While we did review the film earlier, we won't be covering our feelings about the film's content here. You can read our proper film review at this link, if that's what you're interested in. Otherwise, it's time to find out if Beauty and The Beast is worth your 3D money, or if you'd be better suited springing for ballroom dancing lessons and a dozen roses. Time to put our glasses on and get to work.
When it comes to Beauty and The Beast, there are only a couple of sequences I can think of that would benefit from some sort of 3D interaction. But for the most part, the story really doesn't contain enough action and whimsy in this version to sustain the need for a 3D presentation. If the film was still animated, this might have been a better idea, but with the classic love story taking a live-action approach this time around, it's surprisingly less flashy.
If this was handled similarly to the old days of IMAX 3D, where you put your glasses on for certain segments, this could have been grand. But alas, not enough of the elements presented in the story entice me to believe that Beauty and The Beast was a 3D slam dunk. Still, the handful of sequences I'd think would use the 3D to its advantage definitely didn't disappoint. It's just a shame that the rest of the film couldn't have taken those cues themselves.
When Beauty and The Beast remembers it's a 3D movie, it manages to throw some pretty serviceable effects out towards the audience. Belle and The Beast's impromptu snowball fight, pieces of showstoppers like "Gaston" and "Be Our Guest," and even the iconic ballroom dance manage to all take the 3D presentation to gorgeous heights. But seeing as those are merely moments scattered amongst what's predominantly a character drama, there's not a lot coming at the audience in terms of projectile thrills.
One of the aspects that Beauty and The Beast manages to nail on the head with is its depth perception. Crowd sequences are a particular joy, as the field of depth between characters and their backgrounds is especially impressive. This is especially important in a film like Beauty and The Beast where there's a lot of character interaction in closely framed sequences. It's easy to lose sight of two separate characters occupying the same space in 3D, but not here.
For a film that's remembered as a triumph of colorfully animated brilliance, Beauty and The Beast doesn't do itself any favors in both its color palette and its lack of Brightness to support said palette through a 3D presentation. Even during its most pigment enhanced sequences, the film fails to overcome the grey tint of the 3D glasses, and sinks even further into the mire of a pretty dark picture. Your mileage may vary depending on the theater you go to in order to see the film, as some locations may not properly calibrate their projectors between 2D and 3D screenings, which will throw the Brightness factor off.
The other component that Beauty and The Beast managed to stick the landing on is the blur present when you remove your glasses. Even the extensive close-ups contained in the film are treated with a light degree of blur, which helps enhance the depth of the picture being presented. Usually, the more blur there is, the better the depth being drawn in the picture, and the depths of Beauty and The Beast are stunning. All thanks to the intense blur effect that's used in the film's picture.
Unfortunately, the lack of Brightness in Beauty and The Beast's 3D picture is a huge dent in the Audience Health portion of our 3D evaluation. With a lack of proper lighting comes a good amount of eyestrain, which can make your eyes feel tired and possibly give you a headache. As if that wasn't bad enough, some of the action presented is so fast and unfocused that it actually wonks out the 3D. Even "Be Our Guest" has a couple of shots that manage to confuse the eyes, and tax the eyesight. But mostly, the lighting is makes this presentation more beastly than beautiful.
Whether you're on the fence or extremely excited to see Beauty and The Beast, the 3D presentation has enough setbacks that I can't really recommend it. There are definitely moments that stand out from the entire package, and those moments are eye-popping for sure. But for the most part, this isn't exactly a film that was begging for a 3D conversion, and its underwhelming presentation in the format only confirms such a notion.
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