Beauty and the Beast
Directed by Bill Condon
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson.
Well, Disney’s live-action remake train continue. The latest stop: Beauty and the Beast. Not only is this part of Disney’s string of live-action remakes, this is also coming at the dawn of 1990s nostalgia. Take my sister, for example, who still considers the original animated version to be one of her favourite films. She couldn’t wait for this live action version…and to take her kids to it. I mean, it’s record-setting trailer (most viewed trailer on YouTube) was enough proof of that. And being that I’m a big Disney fan, too, I was just as intrigued by it.
Really? I need to tell you the plot? OK. Once upon a time, there was this vain and spoiled prince. For being cruel to a beggar woman, he was cursed and turned into a hideous beast, and his royal court were turned into household objects. Along with the curse came an enchanted rose. If the Beast could not learn to love, and in turn, be loved by the time the last petal fell, he would be cursed forever. Meanwhile, in the nearby village, is a young woman named Belle. Ostracized by the community for her love of reading and wanting more than a provincial life, Belle is kept busy rebuffing the advances of the town braggart Gaston. When Belle’s father stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and is imprisoned, Belle makes a deal with the Beast: her father’s life for her’s. Now, as the Beast’s prisoner, Belle befriends the various castle items and they all wonder if Belle will be the one to break the spell. For who could ever learn to love a Beast?
What I Liked
I like some of the expansion and backstories we get for the characters. For example, we finally learn what happened to Belle’s mother, and we get to see a little bit of extra villainy from Gaston. We also find out the the household staff did to get cursed as well. Emma Watson’s Belle is a bit stronger then the animated one. And, after all these years, that Alan Menken score still gives me goosebumps.
What I Didn’t Like
Well, with some of the new touches, they go a little too far. Like, we get that Belle’s a little odd because she prefers a good book to the company of others. But does she really need to be publicly shamed for having the audacity to teach kids to read? And when the Beast starts warming up to Belle, he gets a little too quippy. And some scenes are word-for-word, shot-for-shot, exactly the same as the animated version, making you wonder, “Then what was the point of making a new one?”
Pure nostalgic joy, but really doesn’t offer much new to this tale as old as time.