Runtime: 2 hrs. 3 min.
Let me start with the good things: I loved the music, the sets were visually appealing and the costumes were wonderful. The music, the visuals and the time frame (1960s) were what made me stay tuned. I spent most of the two hours admiring the set and the costumes (and waiting to be totally transported by this movie experience - which never happened).
Also, the lead characters deserved their awards, as they were totally believable and convincing. They were the strongest factors this movie had to offer. They literally did wonders with what they had to work with. Of course, I am totally devoted to Octavia Spencer and went to this movie only because she was in it. (Plus I was asked to go by a family member. They owe me big time.)
The not-so-good things: This plot has been done and done and redone in “Beauty and the Beast”, “Splash”, “King Kong” - even going as far back as “Mighty Joe Young”. Don’t get me wrong, I love old stuff being redone and made better. This was not better. The others all owned a certain charm that this one was definitely lacking and my feeling is that the mood was too dark here. Also, we all knew where this was going from the onset; thanks to all the preceding hype I realize, but also it was pretty obvious right away had we not been shown ahead of time.
The other older movies with the same plot, built up to the attraction factor and you fell in love along with them. This one hit you in the face like a fast train. It seemed to me that they threw in some espionage and the eating of cats just to keep us awake - like somebody somewhere knew it wasn’t good enough on its own. I mean really, once you’ve told the audience what it’s all about what do you do then? Yup, throw in a few spies and a bloody pet. Oh yeah, and let’s toss in a bit of the sex-factor. I’m no prude but I’m so not clear what those particular scenes really added to this movie. Oh wait - I remember now: sell, sell, sell this not-so-great movie!
I will admit that perhaps the rebel in me is reacting to the fact that we were all told, ahead of the release, how great this movie was. I do tend to not appreciate all the hype before a movie is out. That’s just a hard sell. Perhaps had that not happened, I would have liked this one for a little movie escape and that would have been the end of it. But nope; too much hype here and not enough movie or charm.