Disney’s Beauty And The Beast is already a hugely respected story thanks to its original animated feature released in 1991. The star of the show, Belle, has been an icon of female empowerment and independence for years and I was so pleased to see this womanly image reflected in Bill Condon’s 2017 adaptation.
Belle is taken prisoner by the beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognise the kind heart of the true prince inside.
Originally I was sceptical of Emma Watson’s (Belle) performance, solely because I had only seen her play Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise. I was so relieved to see she has grown up into a mature, beautiful and talented actress and that she has not kept any of Hermione’s mannerisms or quirks. She fitted into the role of Belle perfectly, for me she reflected the cartoon which I really appreciated. Her surprisingly clear, crisp voice was lovely to listen to throughout, each song was only changed slightly from the animated movie which made me happy. I did not want this to loose any of the magical moments in the original, luckily it didn’t.
Each character was perfectly adapted from animation to life, each actor embodied their iconic roles and made the movie magical. Lumiére (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) were very unique and different, their overall look was nothing like the original but I personally liked that a lot. It didn’t feel like they were replacing the characters, it simply felt like brand new characters. If you’re sceptical of the scottish actors french accent, have no fear, it really isn’t that bad. It’s no Jerry Orbach (Lumiére, 1991) but ‘Be Our Guest’ is just as flawless as before, thank goodness.
Luke Evans and Josh Gad both embrace their villainous characters, Gatson and LeFou didn’t change for me. These actors were cast brilliantly and made me feel as though the characters from 1991 had come to life. Their performances were engaging and their voices were the icing on the cake. Dan Stevens (Beast) unfortunately was not the prince charming at the end I wished for, his dedication to bringing the beast to life through CGI was a gift to audiences. His reveal at the end was disappointing, a talented actor ruined by an unfavourable wig and a dazed expression.
New subtle touches simply add to the darkness of this story, an earthquake every time a petal falls from the rose destroys the castle bit by bit. This represents the beast’s hopes and dreams collapsing around him as he runs out of time. The CGI of the castle itself is very impressive, it’s a lot more brooding and threatening with the detail of it crumbling.
This remake embodies everything I love about Beauty and the Beast, the vibrance, the grace and the nostalgia all bring the magic to life. It was worth the wait, I am glad I can proudly say how pleased I am with this childhood favourite of mine.
Tale as old as time.
5/5 PROBE POINTS