Film review: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Warning: This review may contain some mild spoilers.

Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology, and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

Our story begins with a selfish, arrogant prince who hosts a party filled with only the most beautiful of guests. An elderly woman asking for shelter to escape the bitter weather intrudes his party and offers him a rose as a gift. The prince refuses the gift and rejects the elderly woman for her appearance. She then transforms into the most beautiful Enchantress (Hattie Morahan) where she then casts her curse upon the prince and those who worked for him all while erasing the memory of the townspeople so that the prince and his workers can live in isolation.

Years go by and still people do not know of the prince and what happened to him. We then meet our heroine, Belle (Emma Watson), in her little town in a quiet, provincial village. Throughout the musical number, we get a grasp on how Belle feels about her village, but also we understand how the townspeople feel about Belle, especially with her being the only bookworm in the town. Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) come into the musical number as Gaston sees and proclaims to marry Belle. Belle declines and walks away as Gaston is set on marrying her.

We then meet Belle’s father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), who is making a musical box. He then heads off to the market where a tree falls down and takes Maurice to the path where it starts snowing with wolves and he finds himself at the Beast’s castle. The Beast (Dan Stevens) then takes Maurice as prisoner and Belle is taken back to the Beast’s castle by their horse, Philippe, where she takes her father’s place as prisoner.

Throughout the film, we then get to see the additional characters from the castle such as Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Chip (Nathan Mack), Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald), Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), and Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). As the film progresses, Belle’s and the Beast’s backstory gets revealed and we get to experience a love enfold between the two characters.

Beauty and the Beast was stunning and gorgeous, beautifully and artfully performed. It is dazzlingly colorful, charming, fresh, lighthearted, and wonderfully and magically enthralling. If I had to give a description of this movie in one word, I would have to say “everything.” How could I choose just one word? This movie had a perfect blend of effects and surprise, while remaining true to the beloved film we are all familiar with. The way they used the special effects made me wake up in a real fairy tale, where everything came to life as things progressed. The actual death of the beast and the curse being fulfilled even for a time added tragedy to what is seen as a remediable dilemma at times. The songs were redone to the letter and the new ones are a fine addition to an already classic ensemble.

Beauty and the Beast is a mind blowing movie. Director Bill Condon and script writers Stephen Chbosky & Evan Spiliotopoulos have remained faithful to the animated Beauty and the Beast (1991), while adding many new and refreshing aspects to the story. I love the fact that Belle is given a detailed backstory in this adaptation. Also, one or two things that didn’t make sense in the animated film have been rectified in the live action movie.

This film is a feast for the eyes. All the songs are performed by the actors themselves and are colorful, entertaining, and visually appealing. The whole movie, especially the song “Be Our Guest” and the ballroom dance scene, will evoke a sense of nostalgia for fans of the animated original. The action set pieces are engaging. The entire film becomes an even better experience because of the 3D. There are so many scenes where objects in the movie fly right at your face. The visual effects are excellent.

The songs composed by Alan Menken are unforgettable. All the actors have sung beautifully. The production design by Sarah Greenwood is amazing. Greenwood has recreated all the beautiful locations from Beauty and the Beast (1991). The cast portray their characters effortlessly. Emma Watson delivers a spectacular performance and makes the famous, beloved character of Belle her own. Dan Stevens is wonderful as Beast. Stevens’ motion captured performance is commendable, considering he had to walk on stilts during his performance to appear much taller as Beast. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens share this warm and electrifying chemistry in all their scenes together. Beauty and the Beast is a must- watch for the entire family.

Be enchanted and be our guest with the film as it is an absolute delight filled with magic that’s absolutely breathtaking. It is dazzling and spellbinding. It is a faithful yet fresh adaptation of the beloved animated classic. This is a movie definitely worth seeing again and again.

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