Used with permission from Disney
The new live-action Beauty and the Beast (PG) is a thoroughly enjoyable film for people of all ages because of the combination of love, song and a bit of humor that makes it such a delightful film.
From the moment the movie begins, audiences cannot help but be in awe of the special effects and the landscape of rural France. The beautifully quaint village where Belle (Emma Watson) and her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) reside is filled with people dressed in breathtaking attire. The costumes for this movie cannot go unnoticed, since it is clear that the movie takes place in 18th century France.
Watson is a surprisingly good singer, and her superb acting skills make the role of Belle come alive. Her first song in the movie, “Belle,” will excite moviegoers as it is so reminiscent of the original animated classic. However, the focus on her desire to learn more and explore beyond her “provincial town” is much more obvious in this film version. Belle is very independent and strong-willed, which makes her an even more likeable character.
The infamous characters, Gaston (Luke Evans) and his sidekick Le Fou (Josh Gad), are so terribly awful that they are fun to watch. Evans portrays Gaston’s narcissism and rudeness so easily one would think that Evans has something in common with the character. Le Fou might always be in Gaston’s shadow, but his witty remarks are clever and hilarious. The effect is even better when Le Fou’s comments go right over Gaston’s head.
Their show stopping number in the tavern, “Gaston,” was choreographed excellently. Gad and Evan’s vocals are impressive, to say the least. Since Gaston is only capable of loving himself, Le Fou’s affection for him, highlighted in this song, goes unnoticed by Gaston. It provides some excellent comic relief. The reaction by the media about Disney’s first gay character was completely blown out of proportion and should not prevent anyone from watching this film.
Another awkward relationship is seen when Belle and the Beast (Dan Stevens) first meet. Their relationship is strictly captive versus the captor. However, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Cogsworth (Sir Ian McKellen), and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) convince the Beast to treat Belle with more kindness in order to lift the spell. The Beast and Belle develop feelings for each other, slowly making their relationship seem more authentic.
The best musical number of the movie, “Be Our Guest,” spared no special effect or CGI technique. Lumière took control of the dining hall and did not disappoint. The bright colors and constant movement during this song made it impossible to look away. “Be Our Guest” has always been a catchy and enjoyable tune, so having it come alive again in theatres was truly fantastic.
The cast of incredibly talented actors made the movie overall even better. Watson fit perfectly into the role of Belle, as if she had been playing her on Broadway for years. Stevens made the Beast charming and warmed the hearts of the audience as his character developed and fell in love.
The much needed addition of the backstories of the main characters made Belle and the Beast seem more like real people and less like two random strangers who happen to fall in love. New songs are also added to Beauty and the Beast that fit right into the movie. Written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, one of the new songs, “Evermore,” features the Beast pouring his heart out on top of the castle as Belle rides back to her father.
The new Beauty and the Beast is as heartwarming as the original. It might not be the animated version fans grew up watching, but it is a revival that is definitely worth seeing once, if not twice.