Originally posted on JohMyWord by Joash Musundi
The interestingly titled, Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (can a remake really be called an original motion picture soundtrack?) was released not long ago and I was amongst the many people that were excited to listen to it. And of course being someone who had seen the original film, and had listened to parts of the Original Broadway Cast recording of the stage musical, I have developed a lot of thoughts and feelings regarding this soundtrack.
A brief disclaimer: I’m really going to focus on the songs that appear in the movie as part of the narrative in this review.
To start with positives, the orchestra and the ensemble sound fantastic. Some orchestrations are changed ever so slightly but I think throughout they only add to the songs instead of making them sound too busy. However, my internal music geek cannot help but feel that the presence of the Harpsichord throughout the songs in “Beasts Castle” are a nod to a joke in the first movie “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it!”. Songs like “Be Our Guest”, “Beauty and The Beast”, and “Belle” are only elevated by the orchestra.
The ensemble. My word this is a fantastic ensemble: they go from sounding like a real living active bustling village in “Belle”, to sounding like the slickest group chorus in a Vegas show or the Ziegfeld Follies. The ensemble do an excellent job and I really hope that they get recognition for the great work that they have done. The great vocals do not stop with the ensemble, however! Josh Gad, Luke Evans and Audra McDonald all deliver exciting vocal performances while Emma Thompson delivers her moment in a dramatically sound performance of the title song. Sadly, Emma Watson falls short of the mark, especially in numbers where she is with more experienced actors.
The new songs are a mixed bag. “How Does A Moment Last Forever” is forgettable but sweet, and “Evermore” is a brilliant moment to become musicalised. However, I felt like the vocal performance of the song, while serviceable, lacked some musicality that would have elevated it. Nonetheless, I feel that “Aria” (a number in the prologue) despite being short is the most successful new song, in that it clearly establishes the grand, indulgent yet vapid world that The Prince lives in.
Overall I feel that this is a solid 6/10 but seeing the film and hearing these songs in context, may make some moments more successful than just listening to them seems to!