Short and sweet…
OK so don’t hate me for this but there is something about the original animated Beauty and the Beast which I never really liked and I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t know if I was scared of the beast as a child but it was never a film I wanted to watch again unlike Cinderella and 101 Dalmatians which I watched all the time, repeatedly and knew every single word.
However when I saw they were creating this version I was instantly excited as I adored the latest Cinderella and I can honestly say it exceeded all of my expectations.
Not only does Emma Watson play the role of Belle spectacularly (I know I’m obsessed with Harry Potter but she did smash it!) but so did all the main actors and actresses. I loved the subliminal adult jokes, the gay references and the very Les Miserables vibe to the songs, dances and overall performance.
Don’t even get me started on just how amazing the animation was for the Be My Guest scene. Everything was just so magical and exciting and it made me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy and I genuinely was excited to see what happened next.
The best bit for me, was that it made me get that magical feeling that Disney used to give me as a child and I love the fact that Disney is slowly but surely embracing diversity into it’s films. I couldn’t have rated this higher a solid 10/10. I laughed, I cried and I felt giddy. Oh and I went to see it twice in the cinema, the first time with my mum and sister and then the second on my first full day out with James – Date day.
Disney you couldn’t have done a better job of recreating and improving Beauty and the Beast if you tried it was a pretty perfect film – well done to all involved!
“This film was made with a lot of love and care from the source material.” – James Hatton
Walter Elias Disney – ‘ American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer.’
Basically, Walt Disney was a pioneer of American Disney Animation Industry, introducing more than several developments in the productions of cartoon animation over the years.
And that’s pretty much as about technical as this review is going to get.
So, Beauty and the beast. How did I find it?
The premise of the story is as follows, an adaptation of the fairy tale about how a monstrous looking prince and a young woman fall in love. (More common than you think. Except in this story an actual visual and psychical monster.)
Your main stars are Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (the Beast.) And Directed by Bill Condon.
Let’s remember that yes Disney has already given us and shown us over the past 5-6 years how to change or transition from animation to live action versions with films like Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and The Jungle Book in recent years. So really, this isn’t a brand-new idea. And who knows with the current technology, perhaps it was bound to happen to bring what the original films were meant to be to do them justice.
But in a way Beauty and the Beast seems like the riskiest of them all. Going 26 years old now, it’s still a very much Disney golden classic and one held close to many hearts especially growing up. With a huge popular fan base. The music, the style, the sheer joy of the simple love story.
Me, myself being a very avid Disney fan, from young to old. I must admit I had to reserve judgement and felt very hesitant to think it could be any good, and perhaps even better than the original? Time would soon tell.
I came to the cinema, a first for me with my girlfriend Laura Whittle. She invited me to see a viewing of the movie at ‘Everyman Cinema. A very stylish bespoke cinema in which you sit in your own comfy armchairs, sofas, or even bean bags with cushions. They provide private screenings only up to 20 people per viewing making it extra special and comfy alongside drinks, food waiter/waitress service. Not bad for our first outing together. Girl did good.
So, as soon as the movie began, I can proudly say it’s been handled well, the screenwriters Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos alongside Director Bill Condon have done a commendable job of taking the 1991 animated movie and delivering what fans want. Whilst really offering enough tweaks to not feel like a note for note copy of the original. Giving it, it’s own unique lease of life, with many scores and musical set pieces really coming into their own. Think Broadway and the musical that is beauty and the beast. (Especially those old enough to remember seeing this one at Disneyland Paris 1994.)
The great thing and most powerful point to be noted about this film are the actors / actresses. Dan Stevens (Beast) performs in meaningful ways, a vein casually cruel prince punished by a curse that has transformed him into a monster. His performance shows you really feel both the highs and lows of his character, kudos needed and should be shown when remembering that this guy had to perform mostly in 1-foot heel stilts and wear CGI gear for animation. A true testament to all involved.
Moving onto Emma Watson (Belle) you feel a sense and sigh of relief instead of think, ‘oh wow its just Emma Watson dressed as Belle.’ Once she performed that opening number she really nails it and you can simply sit back and enjoy a well-executed version of a really, just a great song.
This film was made with a lot of love and care for the source material.
Beauty and the beast is expertly cast from the large characters to the little characters. The castles staff, who have all been transformed into household items by the curse on the prince. It’s almost impossible to imagine Disney’s Beauty and the Beast without Lumiere, Cogsworth, or Mrs Potts. With top notch special effects, amazing voice actors, they really do vividly come to life.
Last but not least an honourable mention has to go to Josh Gad, aka Gaston. Who in many ways steals the scenes in many parts of the movie. He gives energetic performances, creating and being all manly, bringing a very masculine role to the part. It should also be mentioned and a pleasant surprise to see Disney cast Lefou as gay in this movie, and give him an obvious crush on Gaston, although a subtle small subplot, character thread, it’s a small tweak that blends the character material well. Making Lefou his own, and perhaps a small step to Disney becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community.
All in all Beauty and the Beast was a superb blend of old and new. It creates an exciting film of music and clearly has a passion for the original and that’s the beauty of the live action films. Disney wants to do them justice. For the old generation like myself it gives us something to look forward to. For the young it gives them a good excuse to consider the old movies as well as having these new versions.
A highly recommended film either for couples or family nights in. you will not be disappointed.
Disney wins again.