“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.” It was about two years ago when I first heard that Disney was producing a live-action retelling of Beauty and The Beast. I remember the sheer excitement I felt inside. I grew up with the animated original. I know all of the lines. I know all of the songs. It is a part of my childhood. Never have I ever anticipated a movie as much as I did this one.
Disney’s live-action Beauty and The Beast offers an adaptation celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. It gives you so much more than the original classic. We get to take a deeper look into the characters. Even the household objects, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Plumette, etc, are all more humanized. Maurice, is more than a “crazy” inventor. He’s a caring, devoted father who would do anything to protect his little girl.
We are introduced to Belle’s mother and finally know just what happened to her. We learn more about The Enchantress. I think the most important missing piece from the original is learning what happened between the people of the village and the castle. There’s a connection and a story we have never heard.
Let’s talk about Belle, the character played by Emma Watson. I know a lot of people have a difficult time seeing Emma portray someone other than Hermione, but let me tell you this, Emma is Belle. She has modernized the character into a 17th century heroine. She is strong. She is fearless. She is kind. She is your ordinary girl-next-door which makes her all the more relatable. And you guys? She can sing!
Dan Stevens was the perfect cast for Beast. I have never seen Dan in anything before, but I am now forever a fan. While Dan was incredible throughout each of his scenes, the part that really hit home for me was when he was transforming from the Beast to Prince Adam. Just like in the animated original, you get that close-up shot of just his eyes. :::swoon::: That did it for me. Perfection. Sweet. Soft. Gentle. Kind. Dan won me over as the Beast.
I also felt the use of CGI was simply flawless. It was exceptionally well-done.
Emma and Dan portrayed undeniable chemistry throughout the film. It was beautiful to watch their relationship grow, and of course, to fall in love.
Let’s talk about that Ballroom Scene. Chills. Seriously. Chills. Simply stunning. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I was swept away in the moment.
Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou could not have been a better fit. It is easy to see why all the ladies in the town are “in love” with Gaston. Sure he is arrogant and completely full of himself, but he is also strikingly handsome. And LeFou? I think Josh Gad was born to play the role of LeFou. He was hilarious and such a scene stealer. Luke and Josh together? The perfect pair!
Of course we all know how this story ends. True beauty is found within. As we see the last petal on the rose fall, and the Beast appear to die, we also see something not shown in the original — the animated objects become lifeless. Lumiere turns back into just a candlestick, Cogsworth as a clock, etc. For me, the most gut-wrenching moment in this entire film was when Mrs. Potts knew what was happening and she couldn’t find her son, Chip. She screams out, “Where is my little boy?” And just like that, becomes unanimated. As a mother, I could completely relate to Mrs. Potts. The most important thing was her child. She wanted to comfort him and make sure he was safely with her.
Do I think it’s okay for children? Well, that depends. I took my 7-year old son to see it, and he loved every second. However, there are some scary moments. The scene with the wolves is incredibly realistic and might be frightening to some children. Also, Gaston shoots the Beast several times with a gun, rather than having a knife like in the original. I think if they’ve seen Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book, then they should be okay. I chose not to bring my 3-year old simply because I knew it wouldn’t hold his attention — and I wanted to enjoy the film!
So what did I think? Did it live up to its highly-anticipated hype? 100% yes. Absolutely. The cast. The songs. The visuals. The modernization of the film. Simply stated, it was brilliant and better than I could have ever imagined. In fact, I’m going to perhaps go against the grain and say it was better than the original. For me, this adaptation brought so much more to the story that wasn’t there before. Bravo, Disney. You did it again.