The story is as old as time, but Emma Watson brings the story back to life as she stars as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. You know the story. Everyone in town calls Belle “strange” because she always has her nose buried in a book. Gaston (Luke Evans), the obnoxious “manly-guy”, who fancies himself in love with the beautiful Belle and has decided that she will be his wife. Years ago in different part of town, another self-centered young man is placed under a spell because of his mean ways. He is turned into a beast and his servants into furniture. He must find true love before the last petal of the rose falls or they will remain that way the rest of their lives. Talk about your pressure.
One day, Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline) is out on a delivery run. While in the forest, he is chased by wolves and just when you thought it was over, he is saved/captured by the beast. In an effort to save her father, Belle rushes to the castle and trades her life for his. Now held captive in the castle with the ornery beast (Dan Stevens), their feelings start to change and grow. Can the beast get Belle to fall in love with him before the last rose petal falls to the bottom of the glass case? While ordinarily, I wouldn’t give spoilers, but pretty much everyone knows how the fairy tale ends.
I must say, even though I originally fought watching this movie, I found it to be quite entertaining. There were definitely differences between the original and the remake, primarily because times have changed. Some movie moments were not necessarily great, but they were definitely different and worth mentioning.
Great / different movie moments:
Unlike the original movie, viewers are introduced to more of the backstory for both Belle and the Beast. In hind sight, I’m sure this move was made more for the adults in the audience, since most kids would probably not care.
Much to the dismay of some parents, a gay character was introduced into the movie. Gaston’s sidekick, Lefou (Josh Gad), is gay. It’s not 100% obvious at first, but you are looking at his character with raised eyebrows and it’s pretty much confirmed at the end of the movie. Was it necessary and does it have a place in the movie? The answer depends on the perception of the viewer. I will say that his character did add some very funny, and occasionally tender, moments to the film.
The visual effects were well done. There was an aerial shot of the landscape where you see the brilliantly green forest surrounding the town, transitioning to a white, winter wonderland around the beast’s home, the long forgotten castle.
At first it was a little unsettling to watch the Teacup, Ms. Teapot, Lumiere and Cogsworth in action, played by Nathan Mack, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, and Ian McKellen respectively. Eventually, however, as the story progresses and you get wrapped up in the spirit of the movie, they are quite engaging. Audra McDonald, as Madame Garderobe and Stanley Tucci, as Maestro Cadenza round out the talking furniture.
Not-so-great movie moments:
There appeared to be a new song or two from the original. A little odd, but understandingly they needed filler. The lyrics for a couple of Gaston’s character were also “tweaked”.
The CGI wolves, but then again, it’s a fairy tale.
Overall, it’s funny, even though I knew the ending to the fairy tale, I still found myself on the edge of my seat yelling at Maurice to run when he was surrounded by wolves and the beast when he was confronted by Gaston.
3 out 5
Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn - Parts 1 & 2, Dreamgirls)
PG – a little violence, a little sexual tension between Lumiere and the animated feather duster.
2 hours 9 minutes
Find the Beauty and the Beast (2017) (Plus Bonus Features)
reboot on Amazon.com.
I rented this movie from the video store and have not been compensated for this review.