Beauty and the Beast
Ever since I heard about the news about a live action adaptation of this Disney classic I was over the moon. I was even more excited to hear Emma Watson was going to play Belle. I’m a big fan of her and will watch any of her work. There was still a bit of cautiousness about this adaptation. The animated musical is my favorite Disney film of all time and it was completely possible to be disappointed because of it not holding up to the 1991 version. Now having seen it I must say this film was great. If you are a fan of the animated film I think you wont be let down by this very faithful re-imagining.
I’ll start with the negatives if they can even be called that. I think the CGI Beast looked odd and off at times, especially around the face. Dan Stevens is completely unrecognizable but still some of the Beast scenes have a slight hindrance of looking computerized. Some of the same could be said with the facial expressions on Mrs. Potts and Chip. This qualm is really minimal though, it must be hard bringing a talking beast and talking teacup to life so this is barely a criticism. The film is quite long, the animated classic is basically spread out with even more songs and scenes between Belle and The Beast. Its not really bad as it doesn’t really take away from the fantastical experience. The Beauty and the Beast main theme was kind of disappointing. Emma Thompson did a nice job but the song doesn’t compare to the Angela Lansbury version which is supreme. Lastly, the castle design should have followed the animated version more closely, in my opinion.
The production and set design is fabulous. I’m sure a lot of the scenes were computerized however it all looks great. The scene of Belle singing up on to the hills early on in the film looks magnificent. The castle and costume design is on point. The costumes especially bring the animated characters to life. There is so much going on on screen and your eyes are captivated by it all. I’m talking especially about the “Be Our Guest” song, its absolutely spectacular. The music is also great and for the most part faithfully re-recorded and completely respects the songs in the Disney classic.
People were complaining about Emma Watson portraying Belle. I think she may put a lot of the critics to rest now. She handles the Belle character with grace, beauty, and a strong willing persuasion. Every scene I felt like the animated Belle came to life. Dan Stevens and Ewan McGregor voice (and motion capture I guess) were great. Luke Evans was an MVP as the brash, cocky, and downright jerky Gaston. The cast all did a great job of bringing their counterparts to life. I was hesitant about Bill Condon helming the film but now am glad that he did.
This was a very faithful live update to the animated film from 1991. There are more songs and space for characters to grow and cinematography to pop but its all very respectful to its predecessor. Overall, if you are a die-hard fan of the animated version I think you will love it. Its a wonderful new addition (and perhaps the strongest one yet) to the live action Disney remake trend. Its a bright and profitable future if these first crop of films are any indication of whats to come.