Now I’m older and have seen far too many movies, it was hard for me to let go of the idea that this story was about a woman who was essentially being held a prisoner, despite being allowed to go outside and wonder the castle alone. However for the sake of Disney and my childhood I put any plot holes to one side and just enjoyed the spectacular adventure.
Tale as old as time…
If you’re not familiar with the tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which seems like a crime in itself, here is a rundown of what’s going on. When Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline) steals a rose from a secret castle occupied by Beast (Dan Stevens), a former Prince who has been damned by an enchantress for his beastly nature, she begs Beast to become his prisoner instead so Maurice can go free. Belle (Emma Watson), following a near death experience with some even lesser friendlier beasts, tries to understand the Beast’s brutish exterior and starts to soften his infamous temper. If unbeknownst to her, she falls in love with him before the last petal drops from an enchanted rose, the curse will be broken and the Beast will transform back into a Prince, along with his utensil household.
How was the singing?
Watson immediately charms the audience with the opening number ‘Little Town’. Though she’s no Paige O’Hara, I don’t think it really matters. This version I feel is more about the character development rather than show tunes, even though Watson doesn’t belt out every tune, she still offers an innocent but strong performance. My only singing disappointment was Gaston (Luke Evans) and his sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad), who is undeniably in love with Gaston despite him being a chauvinistic cad, and their rendition of ‘Gaston’ was a little underwhelming. ‘Be Our Guest’ on the other hand was a little overboard and actually ruined the original charm of the song.
The effects blow 1991 Beauty and the Beast out the water!
The animated household was verging on creepy, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) in particular. There was just something quite frightening about a talking teapot with so much detail it could be real. However, it’s undeniable how good the CGI was in making each inanimate object extremely human-like, in particular, and rightly so Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen). They were so human like that when the last petal falls it brought me to uncontrollable tears.
The movie is ladened with glorious CGI effects, I was wowed with the opening Bien Vista castle, then the transformation of the castle and the servants from their anthropomorphic selves. It’s everything you could imagine from Disney and brings back an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, it was a wonderfully feeling to actually get that sense of awe over a fairytale again. It was in no way childish like other Disney films, in fact despite the cinema being fully booked there was not a single person under the age of 15.
Beauty And The Beast is hardly Oscar worthy, something Emma Watson might have won had she not withdrew from La La Land for this role, but I do not think for a second that she made a mistake in doing so. Fan of the original definitely won’t be disappointed, it’s worth paying for on the big screen (which I didn’t do for La La Land) and I still have ‘I use antlers in all of my decorating!’ stuck in my head.
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