Beauty and the Beast
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson.
Director: Bill Condon
Plot Summary: 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 and soul of the true Prince within.
Enchanted. That is what you feel when you watch this film. With a slew of Disney live action films set to be released in the upcoming future, Beauty and the Beast sets the bar high with its quality and attention to detail.
All the elements we know and love from the animated version leaves it’s mark on this adaptation, fuelling that nostalgic feel. However, there is also a slew of additional details included that enhances this enchanting aura leaving you completely mesmerised. The fluidity in each sequence hits all the right notes. This film is a visual treat. With a strong reliance on CGI, it’s natural to be nervous about its execution. Thankfully it’s use was aesthetically pleasing and further heightens the atmosphere of the film.
Undoubtedly the films biggest strength is in its casting. Emma Watson is the complete embodiment of Belle. There’s an innocence to Belle’s book loving, free-spirited nature and combining this with her intelligence and aspirations beyond the expectations of this small town makes her all the more relatable and sympathetic. It’s not just Watson that shines. The entire ensemble have their moment. The dynamic between the lovable, household items is phenomenal and packed with humour and gentle care that bring about a homely feel to the cold, gothic looking castle the beast inhabits. Dan Stevens also does a great job at capturing the Beasts anger and bitterness but also shows the loneliness and longing in him to find someone who could willingly love him which makes the romance between him and Belle that much sweeter. His ballad gave Stevens a chance to show off his vocals and the song, Evermore, turns the Beast into a sympathetic character to root for. However, it was Luke Evans and Josh Gad that stole the show. These two thrived in their roles as the handsome, arrogant, soldier Gaston, and sidekick LeFou. Gaston is unapologetically ruthless in his pursuit of Belle, even going as far as abandoning a man to his death to get what he wants. LeFou, is ever loyal to his friend but goes on a journey himself as his moral compass rejects the actions of Gaston. Any film that has an ensemble of actors that completely embraces it’s characters and enhances the qualities we already associate with them is bound to be a hit and this is largely why Beauty and the Beast is such a success.
Overall, Beauty and the Beast hits all the right notes. It’s a magical tale that pulls on that nostalgic feel but also enhances all the qualities we know and love about the animated version, making it all the more emotional and enchanting.