Beauty and The Beast Review: The Magic Returns
I strongly believe that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast did a great deal in shaping the person I became. I loved that movie with every fiber of my being. I can’t even count the number of times I watched it. Every song and line memorized, I was obsessed with it. When the film was re-released in 3D just a few short years ago, I was there opening night to see it. Needless to say, my expectations, as well as my anxiety about this film, were at an all-time high. If it was terrible, it could destroy a crucial part of my childhood. Luckily, the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is just as magical and amazing as the original was for me in 1991 as a child.
This new film adaptation did receive a few updates, which only made it shine more. The 1991 classic needed to be updated to stay relevant and not feel dated. For example, Belle has a much more hands-on role in the story. She is more of a heroine than the Stockholm syndrome girl from the original. Along with Belle’s development, the film also spends a great deal of time developing the relationship between Belle and the Beast. They talk about books; she spends time caring for him and his wounds. It adds a much more romantic element.
LeFou is updated in a sense that his comedy is more about witty comments and observations and less of the slapstick comedy from the original. The film features, of course, this controversial gay character, which if you hadn’t pointed out to me there was one, I wouldn’t have noticed because Disney does such an incredible job making the film inclusive and seamlessly integrating it into the film. I commend you, Disney. Of course, the original film features all white characters, but in the updated version, we see people of color, which shows the thought that went into making this film and being sure to update it.
The casting in the film is perfection. Emma Watson is the perfect embodiment of Belle and all the vigor and zest for life and books that I imagined as a child. Her singing is beautiful and while she makes it her own, doesn’t stray too far from the originals. Josh Gad as LeFou is just the greatest. He has some of the best lines in the film and gives excellent commentary on the story. Luke Evans as Gaston had me quite nervous but the minute he opened his mouth, I was in. He had the swagger, the attitude, and the chin! Dan Stevens as the Beast couldn’t have been a better choice, and as he changed back into a man, it was so amazingly close to the original, I got chills. The secondary characters, and not that any of them are less in any way are perfectly cast. Hearing Emma Thompson sing “Tale As Old As Time” gave me chills and brought a tear to my eye. Ewan McGregor as Lumière was incredible especially since I had no idea it was him until the end. All these characters had an excellent chemistry that brought a cohesive admiration for the film.
The visuals of Beauty and the Beast are beyond compare. With every new film, Disney continues to up the ante and bring us something bigger, brighter, and more magical than we ever expected. The costume design is stunning with beautiful makeup design to match. The set design is enchanting, as it should be for this film. The cinematography in the first few minutes of the film brings the film to life. The village scene where Belle is going about her life is just enthralling and pulls you into this world right away. As with all remakes, there are changes and new things added. They have added quite a few new songs to the film which work so well and enhance the world of Beauty and the Beast for a whole new generation to enjoy.
Beauty and the Beast uses all these elements to capture the magic of the original and takes it to a whole new level. Great casting, astounding visuals, and Disney magic bring Beauty and the Beast back, giving the joy and wonder of the classic fairy tale to a new generation.