Being a Disney fanatic I was a little concerned when I found out that yet another classic was getting a live action face lift. Not just any classic! One of my all time favs – Beauty and the Beast. I was disappointed with many of the casting announcements and the first glimpse of the soundtrack made Emma Watson sound so auto-tuned I could only cringe.
Thankfully it’s actually a pretty dang decent movie! If you’ve seen the original, then you know how the story goes. Belle (Emma Watson) is a bright and intelligent girl living in a ‘small provincial town’, who doesn’t really fit in. She’s really good looking though, so the local stud muffin/ basic bro, Gaston (Luke Evans), is always trying to get her to marry him and rub his feet. Her Father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), is a kooky inventor who stumbles upon a spooky castle and ends up imprisoned by the Beast (Dan Stevens) who lives there. Belle goes to find him and trades herself for her father, the furniture become her friends….and something about a curse? So yes, the live action version is almost exactly the same as the original, except for a few unnecessary backstory additions for Belle and the Beast which felt pretty contrived.
It sticking to the original tale as old as time isn’t a bad thing though. Every scene is a stunning re imagining of the animated film. Gorgeous extra details await you in every shot and Alan Menken’s score is wonderfully fuller and gives new depth to several characters.
The casting had some super highs and some unfortunate lows. Emma Watson is far too recognizable to really do Belle justice, and I don’t know if it was her voice or just Disney’s need for perfection, but the auto tune used on her voice was rather painful. Dan Stevens didn’t feel like the right choice for the Beast. I can’t even explain why. Something just didn’t feel right (I’m going by my Disney-fanatic intuition here, and not my rational thinking self).
What saved it for me and really made the whole thing worth watching, was Luke Evans in the role of Gaston. So perfectly awful and hilarious I would be hanging out for a spin-off Luke Evans Gaston movie!
Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen made a great Lumiere and Cogsworth team. I actually enjoyed Cogsworth a lot more in this version and so did some other lady in the cinema who literally laughed at everything he said. EVERYTHING.
Really all you need to know is this: If you loved the original or enjoy Disney movies in general – you will probably love this film. There’s something for the whole family! Scary wolves for the older kids, romantic comedy moments, funny talking furniture for everyone and loads more!