With the gay-baiting controversy surrounding the live action remake of the iconic Disney musical Beauty and the Beast, the more serious and subdued trailers for the movie, and the less than stellar rendition of the title song but John Legend and Ariana Grande, my expectations for this movie were pretty low before walking into the cinema.
The original was one of our favourite childhood movies that we watched over and over all through college and into adulthood, and with the snoozefest that the live action Cinderella was, we were a little worried this may taint the movies legacy.
Bringing to life the magic and wonder from the original, director Bill Condon creates a dazzling world that leads the audience through a series of emotions; laughing, crying, hopeful, and spellbound – it really provides a rich texture to a beloved movie.
It is worth noting that while the movie is not a shot-for-shot remake, it does remain faithful to its source material. Many of the locations, and characters will be familiar while there is just enough change to keep you enthralled.
One of the most significant changes is with villain Gaston, who shines throughout and is genuinely likeable this time around (for the majority of the time). Luke Evans portrays him with a charm and a humour that will surely draw you in. Emma Watson will have you quickly forgetting Hermione as she portrays a perfect Belle, and Dan Stevens adds a more layered and empathetic beast that you will struggle not to fall for too.
Thankfully, the movie keeps the amazing soundtrack as a musical, with everybody holding their own during the spectacular numbers. Be Our Guest is a stunning performance that will keep you captivated, Gaston is a hilarious number that will have you singing along, while Belle and The Mob Song are wonderfully reworked.
There are number of original songs written for the movie that are each enjoyable, but none more than the beasts new solo Evermore whose Phantom Of The Opera-like tune will have you weeping. A cast of stunning vocalists, it is Watson who is the newcomer to the field and while she is not as terrible as Emma Stone in La La Land it is clear that she is no Broadway-hopeful, she is decent enough to pass but the autotune can be a little harsh at times.
Visually the movie is beautiful. The new living objects are all ornate, and majestic, though the realistic approach makes them lack a lot of physical expression necessary to truly share their emotion. The only characters we were not sure about was Mrs. Potts, and Chip whose CGI was a tad creepy at times. The beast is well-crafted, and uncomfortably handsome, while the castle is marvellous. A true cinematic wonderment, we wanted to see more of lavished compound.
A large criticism of the movie, which we can attest to is the questionable pacing. Certain scenes were extended a little too long, and there was quite a bit of unnecessary exposition. The heartbreaking death of Belles and the beasts mothers felt a little too tugging, and dipped the joy of the movie too much. There were several scenes we could have done without that would not have affected the overall product.
While still a children’s movie to be sure, it felt a little more grown up than the original, especially in terms of the enchantress, Gastons treatment of Maurice, and the mobs attack on the castle toward the end.
Let’s get into the gay thing shall we? Much hurrah surrounded this story previous to the movies release but upon viewing it is really that harmful. La Fou was actually a pretty great character who experienced a great story arc. He was camp, and silly but was less the butt of a joke and more a comedic character. While the first gay character and moment in Disney was hardly groundbreaking it was a good step in the correct direction.
Upon its release the films opening weekend took $170m at North American box offices alone and broke a wealth of records in the process, including being the biggest ever opening weekend for a PG-rated film, and seventh best opening overall. We’re sure it will only get bigger from here on out.
Our Verdict Is: We want to see it again. Immediately. We loved every second of the movie, the songs, the characters, the sets, it was all a perfect creation making a truly magical experience. While it may not have been a perfect film for sure, and lord knows the critics have their issues with the film – as a child of the originals it was everything we could have hoped for and more!