A tale as old as time becomes the latest Disney animated classic to get the live-action treatment, with the House of Mouse retelling the magical tale of Beauty and the Beast. Despite the mixed result of these remakes, the financial success makes it easy to see why the company continue to develop more and more of our childhood classics into live-action extravaganzas. Putting all that aside, I have to say that this was a project I was eagerly anticipating, hoping for something more along the lines of The Jungle Book and less like Maleficent. On the whole I can gladly say this film achieves that, as despite being far from perfect, it’s a marvellous homage to the original.
Taking on a project the likes of Beauty and the Beauty can never be easy, but it’s one that Mr. Holmes director Bill Condon takes in his strides. Despite keeping things fairly safe, sticking very closely to the original plot, the filmmaker does a wonderful job of bringing this magical world to life in a bold and invigorating manner, capture the light and dark sides of this tale beautifully. In doing so he manages to tell this tragic yet beautiful tale of how a cruel and misunderstood beast can finally find love in the most unexpected of places. In saying that, keeping so close to the source material means that it’s hard to view this picture as anything extraordinary in it’s own right.
Sporting an all-star cast, it was hard to imagine anything less than magnificent performances all around, and we weren’t disappointed. As expected, however, it was leading lady Emma Watson‘s portrayal of Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast that stole the show, with the talent giving us everything we were hoping for and more. Showing the strong and independent values of both characters, as well as the awkward nature in which their fates entwine, the duo create a chemical atmosphere that was enticing to say the least. Add to this stellar performances from Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson as cursed house servants Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts as well as Luke Evans‘ vivid portrayal of Gaston, Josh Gad‘s humorous take on LeFou and Kevin Klein‘s fatherly presence as Maurice and it’s hard to find any faults with the acting ability on show.
One aspect about this movie that divided me massively was the music choice. As expected the creators took many of the beloved songs from the ’91 animated classic, with the likes of “Be Our Guest,” “Gaston,” and of course “Beauty and the Beast” being belted out throughout the course of the picture. Now for many this was probably a wonderful addition, and where the aforementioned songs are concerned I wholeheartedly agree. That said I couldn’t help but feel that the creators took a little too much from the original, whereas if they stuck to just a few it would have resulted in a much more unique experience. Putting all that aside the vocal presence of the cast did each song justice with it adding a much needed nostalgic value to the film.
Beauty and the Beast may not give us a bold new take on the classic tale, but it does prove to be a stellar retelling of one of Disney‘s best films. Between the strong acting and wonderful visuals this is a movie that bring a smile to anyone who enjoyed the original, even if it’s a little too faithful at times.
(8 / 10)