I’ve owned three Disney movies in every available format. Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, and Beauty and The Beast. You are darn right I saw this on opening night.
Beauty and The Beast; starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Cline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and directed by Bill Condon. Beauty and the Beast is the remake of the classic 1991 Disney animated film. It recaptures all the magic of the previous movie and adds to the overall story. I was blown away with Beauty and the Beast and how the movie translated the animated version into live action. The movie takes CG and live action characters and retells the story to near perfection. If you are a fan of the original, and don’t mind some subtle changes, then there is very little to be disappointed in the live action Beauty and the Beast.
The performances across the board were all great and each actor captured the spirit of the characters found in the animated version of film. Emma Watson was brilliant as Belle and found the perfect amount of quirkiness and determination the role demanded. Watson’s Belle may have been even more fearless than the animated version and the added backstory about her mother was a welcome addition. She held the entire film together and did a great job of interacting with CG characters for the film. Dan Stevens was great as The Prince/Beast. The added backstory for his character was also welcome. I personally would have welcomed even more about his past and how he ended up the cold heartless prince at the start of the story. The hints were enough to keep the story on pace and more wasn’t needed, but I would have welcomed spending more time in the world. The CG was also well done on The Beast, which I get may not be the most popular opinion, but it worked well for me and sucked me into the movie.
The CG and voice performances for the castle staff was also spot on. The only one I found slightly off was the dresser. A character which I was worried about from the trailers was Lumiere voiced by Ewan McGregor. From the trailers I wasn’t sure his accent was going to be believable in the film, but he was fantastic. He provided some of the funniest lines in the film along with Ian Mckellen’s Cogsworth. Their comedic relief was just as good as the original and in some spots better. The characters were different enough from the originals to stand on their own, while still paying respect to what came before. Which goes for all the cast in the film. Each one can stand on its own and is different enough to separate from the animated classic. Both films are magical and both can be separated on their own with the performances.
The show stealers for the film are Luke Evans and Josh Gad. Every scene they are on screen together as Gaston and Lefou is fantastic. Luke Evans is the perfect real life representation of the animated pompous self-absorbed narcissist. Gad as the trusty sidekick Le fou was hilarious and the added moments of character are a plus to the movie overall. I did think film was going to go in one direction towards the end with Gaston, but it didn’t end up playing out. It probably would have been too big of a departure if they would have gone this way, but I would have enjoyed it. It was a joy to see these characters in live action and I had smile firmly on my face whenever they were on screen. Gaston is the perfect character to hate, and Luke Evans did a great job in getting this across.
I might be looking at Beauty and the Beast with nostalgia filled glasses, but I didn’t find anything glaringly wrong with the movie. There are small things to nitpick; like one of the very last lines of the film seems out of place, or the shot with Belle overlooking the village at the start seems like Sound of Music, but this is about it. I could see some not liking the changes from the original, but for me the added backstory helped flesh out the characters more than the animated version. I’ve heard some grumblings about Watson’s singing and her being autotuned. I’m no signing expert and her performance drew me into the story on all fronts. The pacing of the film was spot on and there wasn’t a lull during any point of the movie. Besides the small nitpicks there isn’t anything I would change for the film.
The live action Beauty and The Beast did exactly what I wanted the movie to do. It stayed true to the original source material, but was different enough in character performances and added backstory to stand on its own. Fans of the original classic will be swept away with the story. The movie is a must see in theaters, and one I will go back to the theater and see again. Beauty and the Beast is a classic, and the live action version still lived up to this name.