In 1991 Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters, the animated version that is–and became an instant classic. On March 17, a new tale will premier and it will be equally adored by fans of every age. Please, don’t forget what you know about the animated version because the story is the same, but forget the animated characters and immerse yourself in this live action retelling.
Beauty and the Beast is a tale of true love and friendships, and it is also a tale to never judge a book by its cover. Funny how when I saw the animated film I never saw the foreshadowing in Belle’s love of books, and the direct correlation. This tale will never grow old and it truly does withstand time.
Beauty and the Beast Review
From the very beginning scene; you know this is the Beauty and the Beast you love. It’s not the story that makes this film different, it’s the characters that are brought to life as the film plays out in a live action retelling.
While technically not a musical, it is a musical. With Alan Menken back for this film; he certainly delivers a show stopping soundtrack. From the opening scene to the end credits you will enjoy the classic songs from the original film such as “Belle” and “Be Our Guest”, and fall in love with new songs like “How Does a Moment Last Forever”. The cast was superb and each song fit just as it should in the story. The addition of new songs allows more of the story to be told, and gives more insight into the characters.
Belle (played by Emma Watson) is smart, beautiful and kind. She knows what she wants and cannot be told otherwise no matter who tries to woo her into marriage (ahem, Gaston). Belle also knows that love is unconditional and no matter the circumstance you put others first. She is dearly devoted to her father Maurice (played by Kevin Kline), yet also feels an emptiness without her mother. When Belle takes the place of her father in the Beasts castle, the Beast sees this unconditional love through her action. While Belle is seemingly a quiet farm girl, she certainly knows what she wants–and that is the best life for herself. She was not looking for love, but love found her in an unlikely way.
Belle is certainly headstrong and independent, however she is also open to learning what life has to offer her. As the pages of her own fairy tale unfold, she certainly doesn’t judge Beast by his gruff and daunting cover. Forget the wand carrying girl you know, Emma Watson is unequivocally Belle.
The Beast (played by Dan Stevens) is a bitter and angry. He lost his mother at a young age and was taught by his father that only riches and what’s on the outside matter. A lesson he payed dearly for. He had lost all hope that the curse would be broken, yet something in Belle brought him back to life. As he allows himself to open up to Belle, he sees that she doesn’t care about what’s on the outside, and learns that it is truly about the person and not the exterior. As soon as he sheds his gruff, hard exterior you begin to fall in love with the charming and caring Beast.
Gaston (played by Luke Evans) is as self-absorbed as ever, if not even more. In the animated tale you know him as the bad guy that tries to kill Beast and marry Belle. Seeing him come to life on the screen I really disliked him, like a lot. He is narcissistic, rude and just plain disgusting as a person. His “old pal” LeFou isn’t even someone he will stay loyal to. It’s all about Gaston, and Luke Evans nailed it perfectly. He preyed on widows in the war, need I say more?
There is a plethora of supporting characters in the film that amplify the main characters. LeFou (played by Josh Gad) is a bumbly and lost guy looking for acceptance–more so, real friendship. He is fiercely loyal to the self-absorbed Gaston until he finally sees him for who he is. Lumiere and Cogsworth are without a doubt best friends, although they never let on. They along with Mrs. Potts care deeply for the master and know deep down he is the man who Belle will eventually fall in love with, and they also know you cannot force love. While these characters played a bigger role in the animated tale, director Bill Condon truly let the story shine on Belle and Beast in this version, as well as the importance of human interaction.
In a Nutshell
Beauty and the Beast is a home run. With stunning visual effects, gorgeous costumes and a strong heroine– this tale as old as time shows that you don’t need to look for Prince Charming, he will come in time. Director, Bill Condon knew the fan following that the original film has and really stayed true to that film with a fresh toe tapping retelling. Coming from a die-hard Beauty and the Beast fan, trust me when I say you will fall in love with this live-action adaptation. The connection between Belle and Beast is undeniable and you will feel a real emotional connection during their journey.
Follow #BeOurGuestEvent this weekend on twitter to learn more about the film and its all-star cast!