Beauty and the Beast (Live Action Disney) – Film Review

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Age: PG

Released: 23rd March 2017

Director: Bill Condon

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Rating: ***** (5/5 stars)

About: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) 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.

Review: I absolutely adored this film! Something which I am extremely grateful about.

BEWARE THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BELOW!

Beauty and the Beast is my all time favourite Disney film, so naturally, I was worried that my expectations for this film would be too high. However, I was not disappointed.

I waited a week after this film was released so that I could see it with my sister (who decided to have a trip down to London for the weekend – she was lucky enough to get the time off work, at least I managed to get one day off). Anyway, we assumed that by waiting a week the cinema wouldn’t be too busy. We were correct in thinking that it wouldn’t be jammed packed, but it was certainly busy.

And we were smart enough to buy our tickets in advance so that it meant we could book our seats (you have to get them in the middle to make the most of the cinema experience obviously). The only annoying thing about this, is that when we made our way into the cinema (admittedly, we were a little late – the adverts were still playing so it was ok), there were people sitting in our strategically booked seats, but they were nice enough to move and seemed to understand that there is nothing worse than going against cinema etiquette.

Which brings me on to my next point (the last thing that I have to say about the cinema experience). This is mainly aimed at the couple in front of me (and I will admit that this doesn’t happen all the time, sometimes people are actually quite considerate). But please do not keep your phone on and text throughout the film and what’s worse than this is that if it is so desperate for you to text during the cinema, please dim your phone (or better yet just leave). I am not paying the £10 or so that it cost me to be distracted/annoyed by a person who isn’t enthralled by the film as much as I was.

So that’s that, my complaining is done.

And now, let me tell you just how awesome I thought this film was.

This is by far, my favourite film of the year and I would quite happily go and watch it again if someone asked.

I loved that there was a load of subtle changes in this version of the film so that any loopholes/questions about the original film were straightened out. For example, the fact that Belle’s father and Phillipe (the horse) actually go to the castle, so that when Belle asks the horse to take her to her father then it made more sense that he knew exactly where he was going.

I liked in the beginning as well, that the introduction of the curse was better explained. There’s a problem with the original Disney film because it suggests that the Prince was only a young boy when he was cursed (when you work out the dates and how long they have been cursed for). This is not the case in this film, as the first scene is the Prince as a young adult. I also really appreciated that they added the extra bit so that it made sense to why the castle was hidden and ‘forgotten’ about.

One thing that always annoyed me in the original is that Belle’s father took the really scary and dark road rather than the nice one with a load of sunshine. This wasn’t the case in this version, and further, the way that they got round this problem was actually quite clever for a later scene involving Gaston and Belle’s father.

The film shows how much they appreciated the original, but seems to question at every turn whether or not the film did enough to satisfy/further the interest of the audience. It is definitely very well thought out and felt like a lot of planning and effort went into this film, and luckily this played off very well.

Talking about effort, the thing that I was most pleased with was the music. The original songs were just brilliant, but what I loved more was the introduction of the new songs, particularly the song ‘Evermore‘ sung by the Beast. It gave me chills, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since. Even with his growling Beast’s singing voice (I don’t know how else to phrase it), I still find it incredibly moving.

What’s more, the whole experience was just magical.

Just like Belle’s dress. It looked so simple and elegant, but further, I loved the camera work that was done when the film was showing her appearance off. Every single detail was perfect, even the ear piece that she wore —- and the way that that dress flowed during the dance scene.

Now that was a magical scene – the chemistry between the two of them, how the lights changed, how they moved together. Wow, I got goosebumps.

Not everything in this movie is magical, there was certainly a dark side taken (not so dark because this film is still only just a PG), but that is the villainous character of Gaston.

Gaston is just terrifying and not that the fact that his treatment of Belle’s father is just extra cruel in this version (and his obsession with Belle I guess). What’s scary is the fact that Gaston is able to be seen as a leader and get people to join him to kill the Beast and all of this through a song? Ok, like so it wouldn’t be a song in real life but they were 100% in support of him – it felt a lot like, if you weren’t with Gaston then you couldn’t be anything and the people were ok with this.

That type of leader in a world is just terrifying and I think it’s something which is just overlooked a lot of the time. Besides being a villain in the film, I did like the fact that Gaston had this ability to overlook everything and see things in a way which would only benefit him — by this I mean, like when Belle completely rejects him, but he’s like oh she’s just playing hard to get. I found that rather amusing, to be honest.

There are definitely some funny moments in this play, for example, Chip and Mrs. Potts, I loved that they clarified that she was his mother, and made a joke about her being his grandmother (something which was a problem with the original, as she did seem a bit too old to be Chip’s mother).

I also loved Chip’s attitude (the line when he’s like ‘I’m older now mother’ just so she’ll tell him something) and let’s not forget LeFou. Josh Gad played this character brilliantly. I loved the illiterate line in the song ‘Gaston’, and then the quick-witted answers he has for Gaston. I really did laugh out loud at almost everything that he did.

Lastly, I should probably mention the two main characters (I know I already mentioned Dan Stevens’ song ‘Evermore’).

So, all I have to say really is that I think these two were more than perfect for the role.

Some criticism that I heard was that Dan was too ugly when he was put back into human form? I’m sorry what? He’s so good looking, and yes maybe the long hair isn’t really suited for him, but it fits with the time, so like get over yourself, please.

And Emma Watson, I couldn’t be more proud of her. What upsets me, is that I know there will be a generation of boys and girls, who will now no longer know her as Hermione Granger, but rather as Belle, and to be honest she does a superb job. And to those people who are annoyed that she doesn’t have a French accent, what is wrong with you? If you cared so much about her being French then go watch this film in French – although I’m assuming you probably wouldn’t even understand it.

Emma and Dan were just made for these roles, and they really were the finishing touch to what made this film so special.

You know that this film is brilliant because I would quite happily go see it again, so anyone up for a trip to cinema some time soon?

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