I haven’t done many movie reviews yet, but there’s no time like the present to start!
I finally got around to seeing this live action Beauty and the Beast after hearing everyone raving about it for a month. I was very happy with the results, I have a few criticisms, but this new version was very close to the original animated story-line with a few additions from the musical and origin story from before Disney animated it at all. I was pleasantly surprised since I usually hear mixed reviews about Disney live action films. Usually they make a lot of changes that people don’t always enjoy, but I can’t vouch for that because I haven’t bothered to watch any of them until this one. I know a few of the more recent ones are on Netflix like the Jungle Book and James and the Giant Peach, maybe some more. I do plan to watch a few more but I will be going into them knowing lots of people didn’t really like them.
You’ve probably already seen the movie because I’m the one who is super behind here XD I suppose the next section contains spoilers even though I already said this story is very close the animated film that we all grew up watching since the 90s.
Josh Gad as Le Fou: I knew Josh Gad was going to rock this role as soon as I saw the cast list! We all know and love his work on Broadway with the Book of Mormon and as the lovable Olaf in Disney’s Frozen. He’s a hilarious actor to begin with and Le Fou is quite possibly my favorite character in the animated film so I was looking forward to his take on this character. I think he did a great job, the writing was a bit cheesy for him, and let’s talk about how people were up in arms in some places because they made Le Fou gay in this film? The scene people were annoyed about was at the very end where they’re all happy and dancing and there’s a two second shot of Le Fou dancing with another man. As an child, it never even crossed my mind that there would be a gay character in a Disney film. Children don’t think about these things much. But as an adult, it’s really not far-fetched to look back at the original animated film and think that Le Fou may have been in love wit Gaston himself. He’s a loyal follower for sure, possibly even because he was in love with Gaston and wanted to make himself noticed by someone who was blindingly love with the prettiest girl in the village. I get it.
Luke Evans as Gaston: I was a bit more skeptical about Luke Evans as Gaston purely because I haven’t seen much of his work. The only role I had seen Luke in before this film was as the Bard in The Hobbit. I was pleasantly surprised by his portrayal of Gaston, the boisterous, self-absorbed town heartthrob that repulses Belle but tries to win her over anyways. His songs were great, and I think just overall he was great in this role!
Dan Stevens as the Beast (aka Prince Adam): This character required a lot of special effects and voice changing effects for the majority of the film, but I think Dan was a great fit for this role. Dan will always be Matthew Crawley to me no matter what other roles he performs, so I giggled a little when I saw him in the opening sequence all dressed up and covered in ridiculous 19th century France make up. I was also impressed by his singing although his voice was altered to sound more beast-like so I don’t know how much they altered beyond that. He was also a surprisingly spitting-image of the animated Prince Adam when he finally transformed back from a beast to a human.
Emma Watson as Belle: I’ll start with the negative and work towards the positive here. I think Emma was the weakest link in terms of vocals. She was the only one that I could actually hear audio correction in with her singing especially in “Belle.” So, that was a bit disappointing. HOWEVER, Emma made an absolutely beautiful Belle. In terms of looks, she was great and I loved her costuming and script. I basically loved everything except some of her singing so it’s a fairly positive opinion from me.
Of course, everyone else was great in the roles of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, etc. but I’m not going to write a whole thing for each side character!
The new film reflected, almost word for word, the animated film from the 90s. I really liked that they did this because it was a big nostalgia factor and I think that’s why it did so well. I get that some people say “why remake something if it’s going to be exactly the same as the original,” but things were slightly different in a good way too.
They added in songs from the Broadway show (which I have not seen), but I think they did a lot to enhance the original story. The beast has his own song that was beautiful when he was devastated after thinking Belle had left for good. It gives the audience a better idea of how he had really fallen in love with Belle after spending so much time in her company.
There’s always a dead parent in Disney movies for some reason or another, but it was really interesting that they went into a bit of Belle’s mother with backstory about where they lived. Impoverished in a small home in Paris, Belle’s father had to take her away when her mother caught the plague. It’s a devastating story for Belle to learn, and the fact that the Beast was the one to help her discover these things brings them closer together. I was a little freaked out by the virtual-magical travel thing that they did. It didn’t really make sense to me how they got there but I get that it was the enchantress’ magic book and all that. It was a little out of place, but effective in telling the story.
What did you think of the live action Beauty and the Beast?