It’s a tale as old as time, or so the animated Disney version goes. But how does the newest Disney backed Beauty and the Beast cinematic portrayal match up? Perhaps a movie review on Beauty and the Beast will help you decide.
Surely, we all love the concept of the bookish woman getting the handsome prince. But what about the seemingly tragic situations that must transpire before she gets the man of her dreams? And does her father’s character match up to the hapless genius Disney so aptly portrayed in their animated version? These are the questions all Beauty and the Beast fans are asking.
Essentially, is it as good as the one we all know and love?
The movie first released on the big screen March 17th, 2017. It’s rated PG and has a 129-minute runtime. Emma Watson plays our beloved Belle while the slightly amusing Kevin Kline follows suit as her father, with Dan Stevens donning the furry brute suit as Beast.
Previous adaptations of this classic story have garnered huge profits in the box office along with high accolades. That left producers with a bit of foreboding; fearful that their mix of live acting and computer graphics might fall short of customer expectations. One only need to remember The Beautician and the Beast with Fran Dresher to understand their trepidation.
So many people adore the animated version there’s no doubt creating a live action film was a risky step. One wrong portrayal and Disney probably wouldn’t have heard the end of the books.
Thankfully, this masterful musical didn’t leave fans ranting, at least not in a negative sense. Under the directorship of Bill Condon, who made the Twilight films (a hugely successful venture as well), this musical can make the heart dance—just as it was intended to do.
Thankfully, they followed the blueprint predicated by the gorgeously animated version fans can’t get enough of it. However, they weren’t so adherent to that layout that they failed to provide the audience with new awe. Of course, that’s not to say that the movie is without its share of minor foibles. But, we’ll get to those later. After all, this story is rock solid.
The casting was king here as the decision to utilize Emma Watson, and Dan Stevens offers a genuine feeling of synergy between the supposedly love-struck characters. You only get a brief glimpse of Dan Stevens in human form during a newly written prolog, after that, you have the option to love or hate him in his full Beast costume.
His portrayal of the Beast’s wounded soul beneath the booming subwoofer voice and impressive horns is consistent and clear. Even amidst all the character’s bellowing, you understand the value and depth of his pain. Which is a beautiful contrast to Emma Watson’s Belle? She does a tremendous job charming the viewers in her big debut, while dumb villagers sing their inner monologues were revealing the caliber of people she must tolerate in her brilliant existence.
Chances are, you first met Gaston and the lovable and lively crockery in the 1991 animated version of the tale, but this newer creation felt the need to outdo that creativity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always achieve that end with Luke Evan’s Gaston and Josh Gad’s Leo failing to hit those animated peaks.
When it’s time for the Be Our Guest rendition, new heights achieve. There are a crockery carnival and sashaying serviettes, not to mention Ewan McGregor as the beloved Candlestick alongside a crooning teapot. The choreography is the genius and a little trippy, but thoroughly enjoyable for viewers of all ages.
On the struggling side, making inanimate objects within a live action piece seem real is a challenge and that dually note in this film. At times, the grinning teacup is less amusing than it is frightening. But, the voice acting, including that of Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, is certainly enough entertainment to make up for the awkwardness of these scenes.
The Final Assessment
If you adored the 1991 version as much as we did, admittedly, there are areas in this film that will leave you slightly disappointed. That’s why we are only giving it a 4-star rating. However, several new songs will thrill your ears, and the addition of 45 minutes worth of creative and original plot strands will surely make this movie a good see.
It has been called, “An unabashed musical with its heart on its sleeve and energy to spare, it’s decidedly beastly.” For us, that suggests it’s worth the view and the time invested in the critique. We look forward to future Disney live-action adaptations of classic animated love stories. Perhaps you’ll find a paw to love in this one as well.
Author: James D., freelance writer, CustomWritings movie review writing service