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Beauty and the Beast: A beautiful live-action update of the animated classic

by Roisin Gordon. Published Sun 19 Mar 2017 17:00

For the past few years Disney have been doing live-action remakes of their animated films and it seems they have plenty more planned for the live-action treatment, but Beauty and the Beast manages to do itself justice by staying faithful to the 1991 animated film whilst adding a few new touches.

Is it better than the animated film or a remake that we really asked for? Not really but it did pretty much what was expected from it and it’s an amazing effort, being well cast, visually stunning and staying true to the original story.

Instead of being a re-imagining like previous Disney remakes such as Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent, this film is pretty much a faithful shot for shot remake with a few welcomed additions such as making Belle an inventor instead of her father and teaching a young girl how to read, the film gives Belle, Beast and Gaston a little bit of backstory and adds a few new songs to the soundtrack.

The classic songs that we all know and love are featured with a larger than life theatrical quality to them and are as well choreographed as a West End musical performance and each actor manages to perform their songs well. The new songs that we are treated to manage to fit in beautifully with the already beloved soundtrack such as the opening song ‘Aria’ performed by the wonderful Audra McDonald before the curse takes place, ‘Days in the Sun’ which tells us about Beast’s parents, and ‘Evermore’ a beautiful ballad sung by Beast as he laments over letting Belle go.

The overall look of the film is incredible, with the special effects making everything feel completely magical and really keeps you captivated throughout the film. The design of Beast’s castle is on a grand scale as when we first see it, it is isolated and dark from when the curse was placed upon it but as Beast and Belle fall in love with each other it gradually becomes a brighter and happier place.

The design of the household objects seem a little rigid and lifeless compared to the animated characters but the voice acting makes up for it, particularly with Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.

There’s one scene where Beast and Belle are transported through a magical book to Belle’s childhood home in Paris and whilst it was great in providing us with a nice little backstory about Belle it seemed a little out of place and a bit of a filler to stretch the film out.

Emma Watson is the perfect choice for Belle, embodying the intelligence, courage and kindness that is needed to bring the character to life just as she did in her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, she is a much better singer than expected and is more than capable of carrying off the musical numbers.

Dan Stevens brings a warmth and charm to Beast as you empathise with him as he progresses through the film and see him fall in love with Belle and he gives the most emotional singing performances out of all the cast. Luke Evans whilst not as bulky and muscular as Gaston in the animated film, still manages to capture the funny yet arrogant villain that we all love to hate and you can tell he’s having a lot of fun with the role.

Beauty and the Beast is Disney’s best live-action remake so far and a fun film for all the family to see.

4/5



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