While some may say nothing can ever surpass their childhood films, one of which includes the 90s animated film, Beauty and the Beast, I respectfully disagree. At least when it comes to something else matching its greatness. The response I’ve had to Disney remaking the classic films of our childhood has been favorable beyond my wildest dreams.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) Film Review
Once upon a time, there was an enchanting castle. Its occupant is a vain prince, who surrounds himself with beautiful things and people. Everything changes when a powerful enchantress places a curse on the prince and those in his household. Now in response to his rejection of outward appearances, the curse reflects the prince’s true nature; the ugliness of his heart is reflected in his outward person.
The only way to break the curse is for the beast (Dan Stevens) to find someone who will love him unconditionally before the final petal on the enchanted rose falls. When a headstrong villager named Belle (Emma Watson) comes to be the beast’s prisoner, the castle begins to feel a sense of hope. But will it be enough to break the curse?
After the live-action imagining of Cinderella, the anticipation for what Disney would next enchant us with was palpable. When rumors swirled that the next would be Beauty and the Beast, naturally, I was excited anew for the feelings of nostalgia this was sure to evoke. Of course following confirmation, social media became the place to be for cast updates plus its release date.
When the release date for Beauty and the Beast released, it seemed such a long way off. Then controversy followed. Either way, here we are. March 17th has come and gone. Beauty and the Beast has become a record-breaking hit, but the question remains, is it worth the hype?
The long and short answer is, yes! This film is magic from opening frame to the final swish of Belle’s ball gown. There’s something about this story that transfixes its audience. Whether it be its plucky, headstrong heroine or its timeless tale of unconditional love, or simply, its titular song sequence, it’s a stunning example of poetry in motion picture elegance. All that to say nothing of the old-fashion fable this storytelling promotes. It’s the kind missing from the box office, but I’d be so bold as to say, it’s the kind the masses most want.
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Before my adoration slips from my control, let’s chat about the controversial issues. (Only be aware, this paragraph will contain some spoilers.) These include the “exclusively gay” comment, and some of the technical complaints. The former is, as one might expect, overblown to be something entirely unimportant in the film’s scope. (Blink and you may miss Lefou dancing with another dude!) That said, it will bother some people, and that’s okay. The secondary issue some viewers take issue with is the CGI. This is something that doesn’t bother me. I find the beast to be, appropriately, beastly, which is precisely what his character needs. Prior to seeing this, I didn’tread reviews (and I still haven’t), but I do see snippets.
Think of the one thing that you’ve always wanted. Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart.” – Beauty and the Beast
Moving on from the bothersome issues, I have more to say on the pro side. One being the cast. Dan Stevens is an actor dedicated to his craft as is further proven by his portrayal of Beast. He is wonderful as Matthew Crawley; he continues to inspire as a leading man as the tortured soul of this iconic character. In this script, he’s able to give the Beast character and feelings, all of which is marvelous. He and Emma share an easy-going almost flirtatious banter (“Are you making jokes now?”) that’s difficult not to smile over.
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Their friendship is develops in a way that makes the pacing seem longer than it is so that the love story payoff reads as genuine. The “who’s who” of British talent turns in amazing performances from Ian McKellen (X-Men), Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle).
Beyond all this gushing, the staging, costumes, sets and songs are a stunning replica of the original, only better because of their life form. From elaborate (“Be Our Guest”) to (wisely) simplistic magnificence (“Beauty and the Beast”), the songs are unforgettable. The latter in particular is a romantic, swoon-worthy scene that is worth experiencing on the big screen even if nothing else touches its viewer. The script keeps things mostly the same but in an effort to keep current with the times, Belle is fashioned after a contemporary feminist. From her actions down to how she’s styled, it’s ovbious.
If you love fairy tales or the remake of Cinderella, this is sure to enchant you as a new Disney classic to love. It’s magic. It’s romance. It’s true. The message of beauty, its perception and the love that result is astounding in its truth and simplicity. Beauty and the Beast is everything a fangirl could wish for, and in my humble opinion, so much more. ♥
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You can rent or own Beauty and the Beast, digitally on Amazon Video or on DVD or Bluray.
CONTENT: PG for frightening images (wolves post a threat to people, they inflict harm on one person) and some “peril” (a man is purposely left in the woods in the hopes the wolves will finish his off). One man embraces femininity and dons ladies clothes.
I was kind of bummed when I heard about the current issues being forced into the film, especially as it is one of my favorites and a film I hoped to enjoy with the family. I'm glad you saw it and could shed a little light on those things. I would have appreciated being able to go and not worry about that stuff – the film having an agenda per se. I also would have loved it if they would have not followed the same story-line nor included the music from the first film. I was originally hoping for something similar to what they did with Cinderella, which I thought was marvelous. I will still go and see it and I'm hoping it will be something I can enjoy with my young kids. We'll see. I am glad that you loved it! :D
I should have expanded more on some of the issues you mention, Tressa, but in light of what happened when news FIRST broke, I didn't want to make my review all about that. I do understand completley what you're saying. The modern agenda IS being forced on favorite stories, but at the same time, as this film "does" it, it was overblown. Lefou is indeed hovering between (as filmmakers say) adoration for Gaston and his desire to BE Gaston. So it's a fine line. Just depends on how you want to see it. :)
I think they made this a musical because BATB is more of a musical than Cinderella. Or that's kind of what I feel like. That said, like you, I would have been thrilled had this been more film less musical. On the flip side, the iconic 'Beauty and the Beast' theme scene? It's stunning!
If you see this one, I'd love to know what you thought. Hope you and your family can still enjoy it. :)
I'm so excited to hear that you really enjoyed Beauty and the Beast. I still have yet to see it – movies are just so expensive >.< – however, I definitely have plans to soon! Lovely review! :)
It's SO good, Kristin. If you do see it, let me know what you think. I'm always glad to chat up amazing films. :)
Great seeing your review, Rissi! I didn't go see it in theaters, but am planning on watching it when it comes out on DVD, and can't wait! I was kind of worried, since one review I read said Emma Watson's performance as Belle wasn't the greatest, but since you seemed to enjoy the movie, hopefully that was just the reviewer's opinion.
CANNOT wait to hear what you think, Korin. It's such a good film even with its flaws. Or that's my opinion. There are things that will not be up to par depending on the viewer, but overall, nothing ruined the joy of seeing this as a live-action film.
For me, the actor who MADE this film was Dan Stevens!!! :D
Great review!! I loved this movie too and I didn't think the CGI was bad either. It did take me a minute to get used to the Beast's new look, but then I was fine with it. I LOVE the live action Cinderella even though I didn't love the original, so I knew this one would be on the favorites list too!
Tracy @ Cornerfolds
Thanks, Tracy. It's more fangirl rambling, but sometimes that's the only way to go. :)
Glad to know you too didn't mind the CGI. I admire filmmakers taking something classic and putting their own spin on it, so seeing the things that make this live-action unique while still keeping in tune with the timeless tale was lovely.
YAY for another Cinderella fan. That is, without question, one of my favorite films ever. :)
Glad you stopped by!
I’m going to watch this on Netflix! :D I’ve always wanted to see it, but haven’t gotten the chance yet
It’s gorgeous, Natahsa! I’ve love to know what you think once you have the chance to see it. Netflix for the win! :)
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