As the majority of people go to see Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast this weekend, you can’t help but enter with high expectations.
I’ve seen many reviews so far that state the film as not “magical”, or “it was fine”. Of course, going into watch a live-action version of a dearly loved animated film would not be without it’s comparisons.
Let’s talk about the cast. Emma Watson is Belle. There’s no other way for me to state it other than she was the perfect Belle and encompassed what a live-action Belle should be. When she comes down the stairs in Belle’s signature yellow gown, you can’t help but think back to the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Hermione reveals her dress for the Yule Ball. Emma is just enchanting. Dan Stevens was a great Beast. He played the Beast part well, as well as when he returned to his human form. While Ewan McGregor’s french accent did seem a little off as Lumiere, it worked. Sir Ian McKellan as Cogsworth brought the character to life. Emma Thompson was a delightful Mrs. Potts, and lived up to the original Mrs. Potts, Angela Lansbury, as she sang the title song. The supporting cast of Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw were all magnificent. Lastly, Luke Evans and Josh Gad. While I originally had some doubt about Luke Evans as Gaston (Gaston is hard to cast), Luke really nailed this part. His voice was great and he really just encompassed the attitude that Gaston had in the animated version and made you dislike the character that much more. Josh Gad as LeFou was one of the best parts of the film. His comedic timing and acting really made him a standout and he stole a lot of his scenes.
Next up is the music. The music was great and it was great to see the music from the animated film come to life in new ways. New songs were added, giving us a way to see the characters like we haven’t before and they fit right into the film, never feeling like the songs were out of place or forced in.
Since this version of the film is longer than the animated film, some plot points were added. For example, Maurice is no longer an inventor, and we get more information on what happened to Belle’s mother. Some of the plots flowed well, but as a fan of the animated films it was hard not to compare what they did/didn’t do. For example, one of the things I missed most was the way Beast presented the library; instead of Beast having Belle close her eyes and surprising Belle with the gift of the library because she loved to read, it was presented in a different way. In this version, it didn’t really feel like it was a surprise for her; he just simply showed her the library and he saw her reaction to it, stating that if she liked it, it was hers.
Another was the ending where Maurice and Belle were locked up, while Gaston took the villagers to hunt Beast. Chip was involved in the original version, but this version worked as it showed a closer relationship with Maurice and Belle and how they worked together.
Lastly, the costumes and the set design was incredible. You could see the detail on every piece of costume and every set and it really enhanced the film.
If you go into this movie expecting the same exact movie, just live-action, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, see how this takes a story we all love and expands on it. Overall, this is by far the best live-action adaptation Disney has done yet.