Beauty and the Beast , the live-action remake of one of Disney’s most beloved animations, stars Emma Watson as Belle, a provincial girl who takes her father’s place in a magical castle, trapped by a Beast (Dan Stevens). Slowly Belle finds herself falling in love with the Beast who is really a cursed prince.
An unchanged classic: Apart from the obvious animation to live-action changes, the Beauty and the Beast story remains largely untouched in this film. Disney fans will immediately settle into a sense of familiarity, with the movie sharing most of its structure, scenery and musical numbers with its predecessor. There are some changes that really work to lift the film, Belle gets more back story in an interesting sequence where she travels to Paris, and there are more light touches of affection and playfulness between Belle and the Beast. There’s also more of an effort made to situate the film in an era, the 18th Century, giving more detail in costumes and sets than the 1991 animation could do. These minor touches will evoke more interest in fans of the original, but if you didn’t love the animation this film isn’t going to offer you much incentive to stick around. What it does do is bring back the story, scenery, musical numbers and colorful cast of characters bigger and better than ever.
No one spits like Gaston: This colorful cast of characters are brought to life by an exceptional cast. Emma Watson is a perfect mix of sweet, smart and brave as Belle and Dan Stevens plays the Beast with humor and affection that makes it impossible not to love him. The household items are fantastic; particularly Ewan McGregor as the candelabra, Lumiere, with his rendition of Be Our Guest. The real show-stealer, though, is Luke Evans as the villain Gaston. He’s brilliantly funny, and he brings so much charisma to the character that Gaston is somehow lovable, despite the villainy. His and ‘the villagers’ performance of Kill the Beast built so much anticipation for the final act of the film, brought wonderfully together by the editing.
The beautiful Beast: Everything in this film looks beautiful, even the Beast. The visual effects are stunning, particularly in rendering the Beast’s castle and the household item characters. But it is the costumes, even more than the visual effects, that will delight fans of the original. Everyone’s familiar with Belle’s blue and white dress, and even more so with her yellow-gold ball gown, and no one will be disappointed with the live-action take on them. The detailing on the latter is particularly lovely. The effort that has been made to create costumes in keeping with the era also brings a whole new level of brilliance to the look of the film, with the wigs, make-up, frippery and finery all adding to the production value. The first scene of the movie, a ball at the soon-to-be Beast’s castle, shows off these gorgeous costumes to full effect and is likely to leave its audience in awe.
If you loved the original animation, you’ll love this version of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a fun film with beautiful visual effects, but don’t expect much in the way of originality.
Related: The film Beauty and the Beast has made it onto Borrowing Tape's "Best Films of 2017" list.