“Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson. Released on March 17, 2017, the film is about an independent young woman who is held prisoner by a monstrous creature.
The film is directed by Bill Condon, who also directed films such as Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, and Mr. Holmes. It is a live-action remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name, which is based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Another week, another highly-anticipated film to get through. Oh, goodie. I’m pretty sure that every one of you readers know about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It is one of the most beloved animated features of all time. More importantly, it is the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Seriously, you cannot get a better achievement than that. This was on my highly-anticipated films list for two reasons. One of them is that I really enjoyed Beauty and the Beast when I was little. Another reason is the fact that it looks visually wonderful from the trailers, just like the other live-action remakes that Disney made. Now just because I love the animated version, it doesn’t mean that I will go soft on the live-action version. There might be some parts in the film that will touch my nostalgic heart, but I’m still going to be reviewing it as its own film. No nostalgia required. Now that I got that covered, let’s see if this tale that’s as old as time can live up to its expectations like the other Disney live-action remakes.
If you’re familiar with the classic story, then you’ll probably know how the film is going to turn out from start to finish. However, if you’ve seen the animated version a thousand times, then this version will give you a strange case of deja vu. Despite the new material that they added in to either make the film longer or flesh out the characters a bit more, the film is almost an exact replica of the 1991 classic. They even have most of the same lines that were used in the animated version. This is obviously the most easiest nitpick that critics will use when reviewing this film, but when you take a chance to throw that away, you might find something that’s not as terrible as it appears. The cast did a very nice job bringing some of the most memorable characters to their live-action glory, but the one person that actually shines more than the rest was Emma Watson herself. She perfectly portrayed the character of Belle just like how Paige O’Hara portrayed her in the animated version. Kind, brave, independent, and relatable. While Dan Stevens did his part in playing the Beast, he doesn’t come close to being as amazing as Robby Benson’s voice performance in the 1991 version. Stevens pretty much sounds like a grumpy man who wakes up from the wrong side of the bed too many times. Luke Evans was also pretty good as the antagonist, Gaston, as well as Josh Gad as his sidekick, LeFou. Now there has been some controversy surrounding LeFou being gay. First off, screw that nonsense! Second of all, if you’re one of those people who are supporting this bull poop, then I hope the Beast comes into your house and eats you for dinner. I mean, come on, it’s 2017, for pete’s sake! There is no need for such irresponsible behavior! Anyway, back to the review. There were also some things that may get some Oscar recognition next year. One of them being the costume designs. Whoever made those costumes should pat themselves on the back because they were magnificent. I honestly don’t know which costumes are better, the ones in the 2015 Cinderella remake or the ones in this film. The costumes (and its production design) really bring out the fact that it’s a fairy tale come to life in live-action form. The visual effects were also remarkable in terms of the Beast’s design and the castle’s cursed residents. While not as spectacular as the visuals in last year’s The Jungle Book, they do help in recreating some of the most memorable scenes that were from the animated version. Aside from the film’s story, there were some problems that prevented this reimagining from breaking the curse. For starters, I feel that this version didn’t have that much of an impact as I thought it would have. The film has the need to keep the kids entertained with the film’s pacing, and because of that, it lost the balance between proper build-ups and emotional depth in the process. It also included a few new songs as well as the songs from the animated version, but sadly, the new songs weren’t as memorable as the original songs.
Overall, I found this live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” to be quite debatable. Some people might say that it’s a dazzling and well-respected take of the classic fairy tale. Others might think that it’s a pointless recreation of the 1991 animated masterpiece, with some differences, of course. To me, I would place myself somewhere in the middle. Yes, it plays almost exactly like the animated version, but for something like this, it’s probably for the best. Despite its problems with the film’s story and some of Bill Condon’s direction issues, this latest live-action reimagining successfully expands Disney’s winning streak once again thanks to its likable cast, its costume designs, and its splendid visuals. If you’re a die-hard fan of the 1991 animated film, you might get some fond memories from watching this version. More importantly, it’s definitely worth watching for its technical achievements and Emma Watson’s portrayal as Belle. Other than that, you’re better off watching the animated version in the comfort of your own home. It’s not because this version is bad or anything, it’s just the fact that the animated version handled the source material better, in my opinion.