This post contains mild spoilers, read on at your own peril.
Hearing the iconic little haunting notes at the beginning only heightened my hopes that what I was about to watch would not mess up the original.
To my pleasure and I am sure to many others, it does not. This comes as no surprise really, especially as the director Bill Condon has chosen to deviate very little from the original.
So everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast, Belle an odd, inquisitive young lady, dreams of escaping her safe little village for the great unknown, but her dream comes in the very abnormal shape by becoming prisoner to a beast. We all know that it ends well for Belle and the Beast because a) everyone knows the end and b) it is still a Disney film!
As I’ve said, Condon plays his remake very safe by keeping to the original, with only various little changes, for one the beast gets a solo, which initially makes you think of an angry beast stomping around having a tantrum about his retched curse. However, quite the opposite as it feels like a much needed addition to the original songs, by giving audiences an insight into how the beast views Belle and his relationship with her. It is done brilliantly by Dan Stevens, who has one of the hardest roles in the entire film as he has to try and convey emotion through his heavily CGI face, not only does he carry it off, but he carries our hearts along with it.
It was endearing to see how much Stevens’ mannerisms are portrayed through the beast, which was reassuring as many people worried how the beast would translate into live action, when in fact it is incredibly easy to sympathise with him even after we have seen who he once was, an arrogant, spoilt young prince, an easy contender for Gaston’s new best friend.
Speaking of the villainous Gaston, Luke Evans was born to play this narcissistic man. The way he hunts Belle when she is in the village like she will make the perfect crown jewel in his extensive collection, makes you cringe. But credit to Evans, for making Gaston so entertaining to watch, from showcasing his spit, to carrying LeFou (Josh Gad) on one shoulder and somebody else on the other, as a specimen, yes, he’s intimidating!
The rest of the cast help tell this magical tale, with Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts reminding everyone that a good brew can resolve any problem, even the case of talking objects. Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor are great as Cogsworth and Lumière, alongside Stanley Tucci and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. However, Emma Watson is outshone as Belle by the rest of her cast which is a shame as she captures the headstrong spirit of Belle, and it was refreshing to see her use her brains to take a weapon with her into the castle, even if it is a piece of wood…
The musical numbers cannot be faulted, the sets were spectacular and costumes lavish, with a special mention to the team behind Belle’s iconic yellow dress, who managed to capture the essence that Belle is flying whilst dancing with the beast.
Beauty and the Beast is currently playing at all major cinemas.