What I learned from Beauty & The Beast. Want a smokin’ hot princess? Just own a lot of books!
A tale as old as time! One of films greatest love stories, about a girl who chooses one overbearing, self-absorbed, violent jerk of a man for another overbearing, self-absorbed, violet jerk of a man…..wait what? Disney’s Beauty & The Beast finally gets an updated live action version, after hits with Cinderella and The Jungle Book. The world has been patiently waiting for its release, and with a 170 million record setting box office weekend, live action Disney movies are here to stay! Growing up the animated version was one of my favorite movies, I loved everything about it, the music, the characters, the message, it was one of a kind, so going into this movie I was a little skeptical of the outcome. Well after watching it, I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised with the result.
Everyone knows the tale, Belle (Emma Watson) the beautiful, smart, kindhearted girl who wants more out of life, trying to figure out where she belongs in the world. The Beast (Dan Stevens) the Prince who gets cursed for having a cold heart, and believing that it’s what’s on the outside that counts, living alone in his castle with his servants who have also been cursed. It’s not until he can love and be loved that this curse will be broken, and he has to accomplish this before the last peddle falls off his magical rose. You know that old chestnut. Here’s the thing, one of my concerns with them adapting this into a live action movie was the time. The 1991 animated movie clocks in at 84 minutes where this version has a run time of 129 minutes. That’s an additional 45 new minutes added to this tale, and I didn’t know how they would be able to stretch this story out that long. Well let me tell you, it worked; I didn’t think this movie was too long or some of the new elements added took away anything from the old version. Obviously things needed to be added to add substance and more backstory for our characters, and at the end of it, I thought it was pulled off extremely well. One thing I was a little worried about, was Dan Stevens playing Beast, I thought it might be a little blah, but he turned out great, and actually brought a lot of personality to the character, and was even dropping jokes at certain points.
Let’s talk about some of the good stuff in this movie. The music is excellent, I didn’t know Emma Watson had bars like that. She was already perfect and now she can sing, some people are just special; she was fantastic as our princess Belle. At times it was like I was looking at the animated Belle being ripped from the 1991 version. She portrayed the fearless, but kindhearted bookworm we all fell in love with when we were young. I don’t want to say she was born to play this role, but it was certainly a match made in heaven. I don’t think too many other A-List actresses could have pulled this off like Emma did. Luke Evans on the other hand, man was he born to play Gaston. Again who knew he could sing like that. From his muscles (when he lifted a girl and Josh Gad onto his shoulders, I thought that was super impressive) to his spitting ability he nailed Gaston to a tee. He played the smug, jackass kind of a guy to perfection, who will stop at nothing in order for Belle to be his beloved bride. One thing I would have liked a little bit more with Gaston was his death (spoiler, but if you don’t already know that, I don’t know what to say), it just felt kind of stupid and I was really hoping it would have been the same as in the animated version, oh well just a little nitpick. Gaston would be nothing without his best mate LeFou, his trusty old sidekick who underwent the biggest transformation in the live action version. Congrats to Disney for having its first ever gay character! That’s pretty awesome, and honestly it’s about time that Disney did something like this. LeFou has the hots for Gaston in this, but it’s very subtle and I thought it was really heartfelt and hilarious how they pulled it off. His character also undergoes another big change and he becomes a good guy in the end, which I was kind of pissed about, but seeing where he ends up it made sense for the story. You see in this movie there are two beauty and the beast tales. You have Belle and The Beast, where Belle falls for him because of not what he looks like on the outside, a monster, but rather she falls in love with his heart. His kind, and gentle heart, he just wants someone to understand him, and see passed his monstrous looks. Whereas there’s the LeFou and Gaston arc, where LeFou loves Gaston for what he looks like on the outside, but once he sees who he truly is on the inside, he has a heart of a monster. He understands it’s what’s on the inside that counts, That was a new aspect added to the movie, the perfect muscle man has the heart of a monster, yet the actual Beast has the heart of a soft spoken guy. So during the epic battle at the end, LeFou decides it’s time to change sides and helps Belle and the castle fight back against Gaston and the villagers. So Josh Gad really did a bang up job bringing this character to life, his comedic timing in this was prince less.
Talking teacups, clocks and candlesticks in live action wasn’t as strange as I thought it would be. Props to Ewan McGregor for having the worst French accent known to mankind who voices Lumiere, it really took me out of the movie at certain points, because I just thought it was that bad. Like why hire a person who can’t do a French accent to voice a guy who has a French accent? So he almost ruined the movie going experience, and that might be my only problem with the movie. All the other voice actors are fine in this; Ian McKellen was the standout as Cogsworth! There are a lot of familiar faces throughout, I’m not going to mention anymore names, because it was fun trying to figure out who was who, and the reveal at the end when they all become human was fun. Actually another small issue was The Beast himself; I don’t understand why he was CGI sometimes. Practical effects work best, and again it took me out of the movie. During the most iconic scene, when Belle and Beast are dancing, I knew in my head she might just be dancing with a broomstick. So really wishing they just went full practical effects for the Beast, but other than that, the movie is pretty much flawless!
All the music in this is incredible, they added a few new songs into the mix, and they worked really well! The costumes are Oscar worthy, actually I’m saying it now, and this might win best costume design at next years Oscars. If I’m Emma Stone I’m asking to keep the famous yellow dress, and actually I’m probably wearing it to the Oscars next year, wouldn’t that be a hoot. The costumes are right from the original and made the movie feel that much more authentic. It made the characters come to life, especially Belle, LeFou and Gaston. All around, with the new elements added, the added story makes for an enjoyable movie going experience. It was a tough task to bring this classic fairy tale to life, but I thought the director Bill Condon did a marvelous job, and he should be extremely proud of the final product. If this is the standard for live action Disney properties, then I’m really excited for certain future movies, because the bar has been set pretty high, and I have a feeling the next movie will want to top this. Disney has really found something special in adapting their properties into live action and I can’t wait to see what they do next. Be my guest to give this review a thumbs up!
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews — Beauty & The Beast = 82/100