Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellan, Emma Watson, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hattie Morahan
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
Run time: 129 minutes
Release date: March 17, 2017
Synopsis: Based on the 1991 Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast which is based on the mid-18th century fairy tale written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve; the story is about a young, brash aristocrat who is cursed by an enchantress to live life as a hideous beast. His fate is about to change as a young woman comes into his life after the beast imprisons her father and she takes his place and she may be his last chance to change the fortunes of his life and those of the castle who live with him.
First off, let me just get this one major gripe with the 2017 live-action adaptation of the 1991 Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast: I miss the voices of David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach, and Angela Lansbury. That said, and really that being my only major gripe with Beauty and the Beast, I love this adaptation so much. Is it original? No, I mean, come one – think about it: it’s a live-action adaptation of a classic animated film that was adapted from a fairy tale. So yeah, it’s not an original story; but that doesn’t mean that this film isn’t a beautiful and inspired retelling of a beloved tale that many of us have been waiting the better part of a year to see. Seeing this story brought to life with such striking amazement and detail really is a throwback to my childhood. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens really bring the characters of Belle and the Beast to life with some amazing performances in a film that already had so much going for it.
But Emma Watson and Dan Stevens are just the tip of everything great about Beauty and the Beast. Josh Gad as LeFou, Luke Evans as Gaston, Kevin Kline as Maurice and many of the enchanted inhabitants of the castle including Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and others were great additions to a stellar cast and only added to the wonder that is this film. Their performances were absolutely beautiful. And speaking of beautiful, my stars – this film is a beauty to behold: the set pieces, the backgrounds, the colors… it was a great looking film. And I know some people out there are going to start saying “but the CGI was over-the-top”. Yes, it was over-the-top – but when you look at the film that inspired this film, what it was adapted from and what company produced this film, what did you expect? Yes, it was over-the-top but it fit in relation to the story and what it did to bring the story its sense of wonder and amazement. I mean, how else were they going to bring scenes like the “Be Our Guest” musical number and castle invasion sequence to life without the use of CGI.
Speaking of “Be Our Guest”, the music in this film is all kinds of nostalgic perfection. As were the “Belle”, “Gaston”, “Something There”, “The Mob Song” and the titular song “Beauty and the Beast” were just so damn entertaining as it pertains to their sequences in the film. Watching the cast perform each of these classic songs just filled my heart with joy hearing them and watching them in live action on the screen. And the newer songs added to the film like “Days in the Sun”, “How Does a Moment Last Forever”, and “Evermore” are just so beautiful and fit it wonderfully with the film and the story it presents. The added exposition and feel that the songs add to the film just fit in so well in the film. It’s nice to see that the songs composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman hold up so many years later – and the new lyrics for the new additions by Tim Rice are just crafted so beautifully.
If it seems as though I may be a bit biased here, as though I am looking at this film with unfiltered nostalgic wonderment… I make no apologies for it: truth be told I am a huge Disney fan and the 1991 Beauty and the Beast animated film is one of my favorite films of all time. So, if I come across as being a huge fanboy of this film, it’s because I am – and I will not apologize for it. I am sure someone somewhere will find something wrong with the film, or that someone will say that this film is nothing more than a nostalgic cash grab, or that it’s even just an uninspired rehash of a classic story, and that’s fine by me. They can think what they want about this film. But for my dollar, in my opinion, how I feel about this film, I absolutely love the film. It’s not perfect, let’s make that perfectly clear – I’m not blind, I can see somethings wrong with the film; but it is nothing so intruding or distracting that it affected the way I feel for this film. All in all, I was entertained, it brought back all the nostalgic feels I felt for the 1991 animated classic, and I thought that everything this film did was nothing short of, well, beautiful.
And really there is no other word that I can think of to describe Beauty and the Beast. Beautiful. I know it may be cliché and obvious, but why add to what is already a perfect description of this film? It my opinion, this film is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of the classic Disney animated film. If you’re even just a slightly jaded person, or even a bit of a film snob, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of things wrong with the film, and I’m not really speaking to you at this point; but if you feel a nostalgic tug for the original Disney film and love a fun and entertaining musical, then do yourself the favor and go see Beauty and the Beast.