Released: March 17, 2017
Running Time: 2 hours 9 minutes
“Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.”
When I heard that Disney was going to be remaking the Beauty and the Beast, I was both excited and apprehensive about this project. I was excited because Disney very rarely makes a bad movie, but I was apprehensive because I grew up with this movie, this is a movie that was released the year before I was born.
When they announced the cast of the film, there was some really great names being announced, but when they announced Emma Watson as Belle, I was a little disappointed in that casting, not because I don’t think she’s a good actress (I grew up and idolized the Harry Potter films growing up), I just thought they would go with a lesser known actress, or someone with musical talent that wouldn’t need to be autotuned. To me, and this is my opinion, while I believe that Watson very much has the physical qualities of Belle, I could not see past the huge and obvious similarities between Belle and Hermione, and that took me out of the film.
Cast and Crew
This movie was directed by Bill Condon, whose previous filmography includes the last two ‘Twilight‘ films in 2011/2012, ‘Mr. Holmes‘ in 2015, and ‘Dreamgirls‘ in 2006, amongst many more films. His work on this movie was really well done, and I can’t wait to see what he can do with the 2019 film ‘Bride of Frankenstein‘ that is currently in pre-production.
The Beauty and the Beast screenplay was written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, which was based on the 1991 Disney animated movie that was written by Linda Woolverton. The story was based on tale that was originally written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the mid 1700s, which was later re-released by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as a children’s tale with a moral story after de Villeneuve passed away, without crediting her.
Chbosky previously wrote films such as ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘ in 2012, and ‘Rent‘ in 2005. Spiliotopoulos, on the other hand has previously written movies such as ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ in 2016, and ‘Hercules’ in 2014, among a bevy of other Disney related material in 2000s. There were a few changes that were made from the 1991 animated film, but that was to be expected. I enjoyed most of the changes, so I have to give credit to the writers in doing a good job not ruining a classic.
The cast of Beauty and the Beast features a lot of amazing actors, that features Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Hattie Morahan as Agathe, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, Nathan Mack as Chip, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette.
The acting in Beauty and the Beast was mostly really well good. I thought that both McKellan and McGregor did a fantastic job in their voice acting. Thompson and Mbatha – Raw also did a good job in the film. Stevens did a marvellous job as the motion capture and acting of the Beast, and I thought if it wasn’t for Gad’s scene stealing performance, Stevens would have done the best acting in the film. I feel like Evans and Kline did a good job in the film, but didn’t stand out.
I feel like the music in this film while not as good in the original, was really great. Alan Menken was in charge of the music, a Disney veteran when it comes to their fairy tale films, mostly in the animated department. His new interpretations of the older songs was really well done, and I enjoyed most of the music in the film.
The visual and special effects, as well as the makeup and costuming in this film was by far the best and most important parts of this movie. To be able to see a movie that I watched maybe 100 times growing up come to life, and adapted as live action in such an amazing way made me a little kid again. I kept jumping up and down in my seat (annoying my girlfriend) when Be Our Guest was about to start, the effects in that scene, was just beautiful and wonderful to watch. The costuming was straight out of the animated film, and I feel like it was just banking on nostalgia and memory, it hooked me, and I didn’t feel as though it was cheapened by them doing that.
The motion capture that was done on Stevens to make him into the beast was just amazing. I was expecting a lot for the look of the Beast, based on other motion capture films in recent years, and I was not disappointed. I felt like that character was real, and I was drawn in and I have to give credit to Digital Domain and Dan Stevens for their work in bringing him to life.
The beautiful look of this movie is thanks to the director of photography (cinematography), Tobias A. Schliessler, who has previously worked a lot with director Bill Condon in the past. I feel like the 2nd most important part of the film. The look had to be fantastic, and it was just that.
The Not So Good
The misses for me with the music, were the new songs that they wrote for this movie. I feel like these were very obvious, and I felt like they were ‘oscar bait’ songs written for the ‘original song’ category, and I didn’t enjoy that. When I was watching the movie, these songs took me out of the film, and others might disagree with me, however for me that was one of the negatives in this film.
Another thing that I didn’t enjoy in this film was that they were obvious with some of the characters and who they really were in the film. I feel as if the foreshadowing was a bit too heavy in this film.
The last of my negatives for this movie might be a very controversial thing, but this is my opinion on the film. As mentioned already, Emma Watson’s casting as Belle didn’t really fit for me. I could very easily hear the autotune when she was singing, and I feel like out of all the actors in this film, she was the weakest link. She was still okay in the film, but with the quality that the other actors brought to the movie, I would’ve wanted her to stand out, she did, but not in a very good way.
Final Thoughts and Score
Overall, I thought that most of the changes made to the story worked well in the context of this adaptation, the acting was for the most part really good, the special effects and the cinematography in the film were fantastic, the music in the film was more hit than miss.
I enjoyed the film, and I would recommend everyone give this movie a shot, if you haven’t seen it yet (though if you haven’t seen it yet, I doubt this review will make you finally watch it). I think this movie continues Disney’s run of good live action adaptations of their animated films, and I look forward to seeing their next one. In the end, I would give this film a score of 7.75/10.
Have you seen this film, if yes, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
What movie would you like me to review?
Thanks for reading,