It's a tale as old as time and a movie Disney fans have eagerly waited for. On Friday March 17, 2017 the live action remake of the classic Disney film Beauty and the Beast was released world wide. Screenings began on the evening of March 16th. I attended a Thursday screening at my local theatre. The film stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Josh Gad and Ewan McGregor. The film is directed by Bill Condon and has a run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. It is rated PG.
This film follows the original source material more closely than previous live action Disney films. Many scenes unfold just as they do in the animated Beauty and the Beast. There is also a lot of dialogue pulled from the original movie. If you are looking for nostalgia, you've certainly found it. Additions have been made to the story and characters have been fleshed out more than they were in their previous animated state. Gaston is more murderous and cruel. The audience gets a better understanding of how unhappy Belle truly is, being the outcast in her town. We experience the anxiety and fear the enchanted objects face at the possiblity of becoming non living furniture and accessories forever. Someone even fights his moral compass throughout the movie and switches sides. These are just a few of the new perspectives we experience. There is more to the story.
The film showcases many songs from the original film however, 4 new songs have been added. None of the music from the successful Broadway show is included but if you listen closely, there is an instrumental version of the song 'Home' playing in the background at one point. Some of the lyrics to the original songs have been changed (Gaston and The Mob Song). Each of the musical numbers translate from animated to live action beautifully. The cast provides their own vocals and performs very well with the exception of Emma Watson. She cannot carry a tune nor hold a note. To be honest, her singing is quite bad and I could not wait for her musical segments to be over. I'm shocked that Disney approved her singing and did not opt to dub her voice.
Visually the is film is stunning. The set designs and special effects are grand. The costumes are gorgeous and embrace their French heritage. The only foul is Belle's iconic yellow gown. Unfortunately it was confirmed that Emma Watson was given creative control over the design of the dress. This is a shining example on why actors should not interfere in the wardrobe department. Her dress looks like a plain prom gown. There is nothing glorious about it and it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the costumes.
Each of the cast members were sensational in their roles. Luke Evans and Dan Stevens are particularly amazing. Emma is passable as Belle. She wasn't as great as the rest of the cast but she wasn't bad either. Her performance is best described as neutral. Although I appreciate the nostalgia, I did find myself wishing there was a bit less of it and more original story. The new scenes and segments were my favorite parts of the film. The writers did an excellent job with character development and fleshing out the story.
I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast. It was a beautiful piece of art to watch.
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