Disney gives timeless remake of a ‘Tale As Old As Time’

Emma Watson as Belle in a scene from the movie "Beauty and the Beast" directed by Bill Condon. (Walt Disney Pictures/TNS)

The world received a brief first glimpse at Disney’s live-action re-adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” last spring when a teaser trailer was released.

Nearly one year later, the film is out and capturing the hearts of audiences of all ages.

“Beauty and the Beast” centers on Belle, an independent and beautiful village girl, and the Beast, a prince who was cursed by an enchantress because he had no love in his heart. When Belle’s father is imprisoned by the Beast, Belle takes his place as prisoner, unaware of the curse put on the Beast and his servants. The story follows Belle as she learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior to see a kind and loving heart within.

The film stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, as well as Luke Evans as Gaston, the narcissistic villain constantly after Belle’s hand in marriage.

Disney’s animated “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) is a classic Disney movie that is loved by many – myself included – so skepticism was present and expectations were high when I sat down to watch the live-action remake.  

However, that skepticism was quickly brushed aside, and exceeded my expectations.

“Beauty and the Beast” was a stunning film, from the costumes, to the choreography and cinematography—everything about it visually felt and looked magical.

Watson was a perfect Belle and shined in her role, and Stevens managed to make a computer generated image (CGI) Beast feel believable.

However, Evans is the one who stole the show. There were moments as I watched Evans portray Gaston that I completely forgot about the film being live-action because he captured the animated Gaston I grew up with so perfectly.  

“Beauty and the Beast” was true to its word in being a re-adaptation of the animated version – a lot of the lines were verbatim from the 1991 film – but it did add a few new things including some background on Belle’s mother, as well as the Beast’s childhood.

With those additions came a few new songs, a standout being “How Does A Moment Last Forever (Montmatre).” Sung by Watson, the song narrates a new scene in which Belle learns of her childhood and what happened to her mother. This particular scene and song were easily my favorite parts of the movie.  

The new scenes and music, however, managed to not overpower the film and served to only add to it.  

While I loved the new additions, nothing beats seeing live-action version of Belle fighting off the wolves, or walking into the Beast’s library for the first time or seeing her in her yellow dress.

Hearing and seeing “Be Our Guest” was exciting and weirdly emotional – made even more weird, but also completely awesome by the fact that Ewan McGregor plays Lumiere – but nothing could prepare me for the wave of nostalgia and emotion I was hit with while watching Belle and the Beast dance to “Beauty and the Beast,” sung by Emma Thompson who plays Mrs. Potts.

Overall, I enjoyed “Beauty and the Beast,” and I would watch it again.

If you’re expecting something wildly different from the animated movie, you will probably be disappointed. If you’re just looking for a live-action re-adaptation of the animated movie that will make you smile and fill your heart with nostalgia, you’ll get that and more.

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