[May contain spoilers - I'll try my best not to, but to be on the safe side I'd better declare that haha]
As with all of my other Disney movie reviews, I am writing this introduction before I go to see the movie on the 18th of March so as to remain as unbiased as I possibly can haha. Anyway, not that anyone who doesn't live under a rock (or who has no access to the internet, tv or any form of advertising) doesn't already know, the recent release of Beauty and the Beast is a 're-telling' - not remake - of the 1991 animated classic, arriving in cinemas March 17th. I point out 're-telling' because many apparent die hard fans get extremely heated about the fact that Disney is re-doing so many of it's classics. If you have taken the time to not pre-judge and actually watch the movies, you will realize they are not remakes exactly, with plot points adjusted, missed out, new ones added etc. They are live action adaptations based on the same story, most of which have come from books to begin with ;)
BATB was never one of my all time, top of the list faves but of course, I still adore the story and animation, so have been really looking forward to seeing this. So much so my cinema ticket was booked for around 6 weeks...read below to see what I thought.
(Have a peek at the trailer first if you haven't already!)
After our most recent re-telling of Pete's Dragon, along with The Jungle Book, Malificent and Alice in Wonderland who all deviated considerably from the 'original' plots, Beauty and the Beast is much more like Cinderella in the way it sticks quite well to the pretty much already perfect plot, only adding here and there to embellish additional information about our characters back stories. Like I'm sure I say most of the time when talking about movies of a similar nature, it does not, however, compare to the original in my mind. Animation and live action movie productions are completely different and both take such incredible artists to put together, though different kinds of artists of which this movie was rife with.
We had Bill Condon as director for Beauty and the Beast and I have to admit to being very unfamiliar with his work - he's known for the likes of Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Dreamgirls among many others - not exactly my taste, so it was quite the shock to see how the movie turned out and who had directed it. It was evident that this (although you need say nothing to me, because I know animations are for adults too) that this live action version was aimed at adults, us who were first introduced to the 1991 animation as young children in particular, rather than children now.
It included everything from the expected Disney morals - being different isn't a bad thing and usually those who make fun to begin with, will end up imitating you as well as the obvious 'you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover' - to a rollercoaster ride of emotions, more up close looks at our characters personalities and lives leading us to feel more toward each of them, as well as absolutely stunning effects, film locations/sets and general cinematography on a whole...for those of us who notice that sort of thing haha.
I will have it known henceforth, that from day one I was over the moon about the casting of Emma Watson. I never had and could now never envision a better Belle. Oh and can we talk about her magical voice too?! Urgghhh, everything gave me chills about her. From the moment we got our first look of her in that perfect, realistic yet pretty village dress, until the closing scene I was in tears. Seriously. Right through, for the duration of the movie I cried. Be it for the just completely spot on casting, amazing songs that I was hearing for the first time (I didn't listen to or watch anything before going to the cinema) or the stunning, unreal sets. I was blown away.
Luke Evans and Josh Gad as the laughable villains surpassed my expectations, Gaston being big boots to fill and I'm sure almost everyone who has seen the movie will agree that Le Fou (Josh Gad) almost stole the whole show, brilliant!
Now the Beast. Hmm. Dan Stevens? At first word of this I was dumbfounded as he was such a charming gentleman in Downton Abbey but after studying him for the duration right until his transformation back into the Prince I realized there was no better Beast either.
Moving on from the main actors, every member of the supporting cast shone too. Maurice continually broke my heart and I'm crying again writing this just thinking of the father daughter relationship between him and Belle that I really relate to. Not the locked up by a beast thing, though... There's no doubt all of our antiques-to-be were totally lovable also but I'd end up writing forever if I gushed about them all individually.
How could I not quickly mention the costumes?!! A very Disney, yet traditional and tasteful style, the famous outfits of our precious animated Princess were brought to life beautifully but so was everyone elses' clothing choices. I for one think that even the villagers' costumes were detailed, unique and just as memorable.
Usually, at this point in my Disney movie reviews, I address the critics opinions or more so critiques, but I am pleasantly surprised not to be able to find many flaws in their eyes at all. Rightly so! It is perfect from opening title to closing credits and those few members of the public who I have seen slating it either never gave it a chance and went in with a preconceived thought of hating it purely as they didn't want the animation compared or don't appreciate the art of movie making. Picking at little things like 'I don't like her yellow dress', shouldn't give you a reason to diss the whole film. I wouldn't wear a colonial wig either but it fits with the whole style of the movie, you know what I mean?
In Conclusion, Beauty and the Beast is all I had wanted and more. The cast were perfect, their acting was fabulous, the soundtrack was sensational (the Be Our Guest scene? Come on! Insanely hypnotizing!), the effects, sets, costumes and filming was all typical of Disney's intense attention to detail and most of all, although I already knew the ending, it caught my breath many times and had me emotionally invested throughout.
I would urge you to see it as soon as you can but not if you don't have an open mind. Also, please don't take children under a certain age. There are some pretty threatening and/or violent scenes, plus its over 2 hours long and if they are anything like the littlies in our cinema who literally ran around, they won't sit through it anyway. Let me know what you thought in the comments below! If you haven't seen it yet, let me know if you want to!
Other Disney Movies Reviews by Me:
'Pete's Dragon' 2016
'Alice Through The Looking Glass' 2016
Adding this at the very, very end because it has no relation to the film, but what even is that Arianna Grande version of Beauty and the Beast? Leave Emma Thompson to that song this time around please. Haha