Beauty and the Beast

How is one supposed to write a platonic review of something as a child they adored. Now as an adult Beauty and the Beast is back, making you fall in love with Belle and the Beast all over again. With a captivating cast, beautiful songs and a painterly eye for detail Beauty and the Beast steals our hearts again with a fresh retelling of a Tale As Old As Time.

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Beauty and the Beast is a Disney Live Action adaptation of the 1991 animated film of the same name. In the film Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, independant woman is imprisoned in a castle by the fearsome Beast (Dan Stevens). Despite everything she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s exterior and gruff personality, allowing her to see the kind heart and soul of the prince that hides inside.

Everything about this live action adaptation has been argued about from the use of CGI, Emma Watson being cast as Belle and LeFou being gay. Now that the film is released all the critics have now been silenced.

Bill Condon (Mr. Holmes, Chicago) has outdone himself in this retelling of the classical tale. Turning this film into a live action could have been a ratings disaster and killed the careers of those that took part. What transpired was the opposite, smashing the box office and rooting itself in the heart of the nation. Along with Condon’s flair for directing the talent, Sarah Greenwood’s design skills are what really capture the beauty and magic of this much loved fairytale.

Sarah Greenwood is a production designer best known for Sherlock Holmes, Atonement and Anna Karenina. The design of the sets in this live action Beauty and the Beast where something to be admired. They are intricate and stunningly beautiful, sometimes outshining the action on the screen. The sets look like a real fairytale, one of imagined dreams. They place you right there will Belle and the Beast. I have seen this film three times now. One of them being in 3D. 3D is not something that I usually go for. However with Beauty and the Beast it is just another thing that brings the action to life. The effect 3D has on the set design of this film is magnificent, they literally leap out at you. They

One surprising yet thrilling aspect of the film was Emma Thompson’s portrayal of the matronly Mrs. Potts. Who would have thought Thompson has such a stunning voice that could hold its own with the rest of the cast? Emma Thompson’s portrayal of Mrs. Potts is on par with Angela Lansbury’s original interpretation.

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Emma Watson revitalised the role of Belle adding her own unique flavour to the part. Belle no longer wears a corset or Ballet flats for her role. Watson felt that for such a practical girl the traditional attire didn’t make sense. Instead Belle wears a much more free flowing dress and cowboy boots to horseback ride adding to the characters independent nature. For those of us who grew up watching Emma Watson play Hermione Granger and falling in love with her bossy nature, you will not be disappointed in her portrayal of Belle and her love for the Beast.

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Dan Stevens spent most of the film as a CGI character. He played the Beast perfectly even if you don’t get to fully experience Dan Stevens without a body full of fur. It is something of a challenge to get emotion across when playing a CGI character even with advanced techniques, using your own facial expressions as a base. However Dan Stevens and the team behind this achieved this spectacularly. At the end of the film when the Beast returns to his true self as the dashing prince I was a little disappointed. This wasn’t because Dan stevens is lacking, it is because the Beast had such a huge impact it was anti climatic him becoming the prince again.

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WARNING: SPOILERS

Although this version of Beauty and the Beast stayed very true to the original animated film, there are little changes that answer questions from the original film and warm our hearts. The question of what happened to Belles mother is finally answered when the Beast takes her to her childhood home. The rose has become something of a sacred symbol when it comes to Beauty and the Beast. It was a nice surprise adding the scene of Maurice stealing a rose from the Beasts castles. This being the reason Maurice is taken makes the Beast seem softer somehow. The addition of Belle refusing Gaston entry into her home was a marvelous change. It shows the independent, strong woman that Belle is and makes a change for a Disney film. The reinvention of LeFou is refreshing as the live action version played by Josh Gad seems to fit more with the name given to this character.

This re-energised version of Beauty and the Beast will live long into the future, becoming a classic Disney film to the new generation of little ones whose first foray into Disney princesses was the magical tale of looking within for beauty.

 

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