Beauty and the Beast (2017)
PG | 2h 9min | Family, Fantasy, Musical | 17 March 2017 (USA)
Synopsis: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.
Review: The story of Beauty and the Beast is classic and one that most are familiar with. Animated films, stage plays, TV shows; all mediums have adapted this tale of love. So it was only a matter of time before a live action big screen production emerged. It should be noted that if you are looking for a new twist or some sort of modernized retelling then you will be disappointed. But if your desire is to see this beloved classic come to life on the big screen with expert costumes and exceptional performances then you are in for a treat for sure.
All the characters and scenes are patterned after the original. Belle (Emma Watson), Gaston (Luke Evans), LeFou (Josh Gad), and Maurice (Kevin Kline) embrace their human form and take on the roles with proud vibrato. In the enchanted castle The Beast (Dan Stevens), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Chip (Nathan Mack), Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald), and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci) are each voiced and animated perfectly.
Director Bill Condon makes sure that the essence and themes are kept in tact. Each character may have a bit of the actor’s personality but they never lose the recognizable spirit we are accustomed to. From a quiet conversation between Belle and The Beast to the colorful explosion of the musical numbers; everything is captivating and engaging. Just as it should be. This feels almost like a gift for diehard fans. Those who want to know what line is about to be spoken or song is to be sang. The surprise is how the actors deliver it but the meat of it doesn’t change. That is a smart move by the filmmakers.
The look of the Beast and his powerful voice are commanding. Emma Watson as Belle is as tenacious and captivating as any Disney lass before her. This version also seems to focus even more on the love story between the two. There are several endearing shots of the two of them as they spend time in the castle. It is easier to feel sorry for the Beast here than in any other rendition of the story. You know the outcome and are even more elated when it arrives.
Viewers are also granted several new songs that give even more depth to those characters living under the castle’s curse. It is a musical and there is a lot of singing. But it never feels laborious or over saturated. There is a healthy balance and again Condon and team made valiant efforts to pay tribute to the original.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images. Being live action some of the violence and peril feels heavier than in animation. That said it is still a perfect family film and anyone over the age of 9 should be comfortable watching. Parents may want to note that it is a tick or tock over two hours. So younger family members may get a tad fidgety. Even some of us older ones did. At the time of this writing there is some media backlash about some content in here being non family friendly. That is rubbish and should not even be given a second thought. I give it 4 out of 5 book shelves. It is a beauty to watch for sure.