The live-action/CGI animated version of the beloved 1991 Walt Disney film-musical about a young woman held prisoner in an enchanted castle has new insights on the original story, with new songs, new characters, and backstories to help tell the tale as old as time.
STARRING: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
DIRECTED BY: Bill Condon
WRITTEN BY: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)
MUSIC BY: Alan Menken
RELEASED BY: Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture
PLOT: 4/5 because nostalgia
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind… Oh you know the rest.
I love, love LOVE Beauty and the Beast — it’s one of those movies that I won’t get tired of watching several times a day (and did, by the way). While the live-action remake practically had scene-by-scene comparisons of the original animated tale, it offered a few new insights on the story to cover up loopholes and such.
It also gave backstories to the characters, mainly as an appeal to make them more “human” in their own way — Belle the bookworm is also an inventor, Maurice the inventor is mostly an artist, Gaston the “perfect” pure paragon was apparently a captain from war, and Le Fou, his sidekick, is FINALLY definitely gay.
I’m not going to nitpick on the smaller details because obviously there are some details that needed to be changed in adaptations — we don’t want it to be an exact replica of the original version, after all. Ultimately, it still brings nostalgia especially for someone who grew up with all the love for Disney.
Physically, the cast was spot-on, except maybe Dan Stevens should have looked bigger, you know, since the Beast in human form was pretty muscular compared to say, Prince Eric (Little Mermaid) or Phillip (Sleeping Beauty).
Emma Watson is kind of perfect as Belle, especially considering how similar Belle is to Hermione Granger. Luke Evans also nailed Gaston, although like Stevens, he should have gotten slightly bigger.
(PS Ewan McGregor’s accent could use some help)
The 3 rating, however, is more for the actors not being perfect in so far as singing is concerned, because let’s face it: Beauty and the Beast is first and foremost a musical, but we’ll deal with that in the next part, which is:
Most, if not all the songs from the original animation made it to the live-action version (I maintain that “Human Again” was not actually part of the original, but was inserted in an anniversary remake or special edition, so) and for the most part, it’s still as magical as ever.
The new songs, “Days in the Sun” and “Evermore” add a certain melancholy to the film. “Days” was the replacement for the more lively “Human Again” where the enchanted things reminisced their past lives. “Evermore” was the alternate for “If I can’t Love Her” from the Broadway musical — which I think offers more hope for Beast.
I will always love the music but let’s face it: the main cast can’t really sing that well. Yes, they have perfectly adequate singing voices, but you know, “adequate” is not as great as “beautiful,” and the film relied heavily on auto-tune. I’m not taking it against them because as long as you don’t nitpick, honestly, you will appreciate their efforts.
Except Ariana Grande’s and John Legend’s rendition of the theme song — which just sounded weird.
Josh Groban’s rendition of “Evermore” is dreamy and beautiful, but then again, I really think that man can’t do anything wrong when it comes to singing (and I’m half-in love with him). Steven’s version was all filter, compared to Groban’s deep, clear voice, so this is a no-brainer for me. HOWEVER, Stevens did pull it off with the emotion for the Beast, which I wholly appreciate.
Then there was Celine Dion, which needs no commentary, she’s amazing, as always.
Take a look at the trailer: