Amazon Synopsis: The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told.
“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.
Film: Beauty and the Beast
Director: Bill Condon
The hype surrounding Beauty and the Beast meant I delayed watching it. Everyone was gushing about how wonderful it was and I couldn’t help but think: really?
I waited until the hype had died down. Then I watched it. And yep, it was awesome. I had recently rewatched the 1991 version and it was fun to try and compare the two. In the end, neither was stronger.
I wasn’t initially certain. The beginning, for me, lacked something. It missed the charm that I attached to the original and I couldn’t feel the magic of it in the same way. But once it got moving, once Belle was with the Beast and the story picks up, I’m the first to admit I did get swept away.
I somehow (no idea how), convinced my parents to watch it with me. My father made a comment of it being like a musical (I refrained from saying anything, even if the eyes did roll!). But it did get me thinking. The first part is like a musical, complete with staged performances. Their songs felt as if they were putting them on. But as it progressed, the songs became more natural, more integrated into the plot so you stopped noticing when a character jumps up on a table and starts to sing.
A broken clock is right two times a day, mon ami. But this is not one of those times.
This film was full of names I recognised. Emma Watson. Emma Thompson. Dan Stevens. Josh Grad. Pretty much the entire cast. And yeah, I’ll admit it – I think they got it right.
Emma Watson is certainly beautiful enough to be Belle. Her singing voice may not be the strongest, but it was good enough. Maybe because I grew up relating Emma Watson to magic and books, but she was charming as Belle. I had to wonder if they needed to teach her the words to the songs, or if she was teaching everyone else…
I’ve personally never seen Dan Stevens in anything before, but his voice was excellent for Beast – it had depth to it that also conveyed his emotions when facial expressions could not. Again, though, not the best singer, but passable.
It was strange actually seeing Josh Grad – his film career has mainly been doing voice-overs for children’s films: Frozen and the Lego Movie are just two examples. I have always loved Ewan McGregor, but I’m the first to admit his French accent missed the mark. Ian McKellen also had the perfect voice for the moody Cogsworth.
Hype or no, I loved Beauty and the Beast. I genuinely got swept in the magic of it and enjoyed the charm from beginning to end. I personally felt it got stronger as it progressed. Of course, I cannot write a review without mentioning the ballroom scene. One word sums it up for me: mesmerising. The film made me laugh out loud more than once and quite literally offered an evening of entertainment for the entire family.
My only issue is that I can’t decide whether I want the library or the magical teapot…