Beauty and The Beast Reviewed By Wal Reid

The Premise
Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

The Review
Regardless of certain countries reportedly banning this film because of Disney apparently ‘gay moment’, one thing is certain, Bill Condon’s Beauty And The Beast, will make shite-loads of cash.

As they say “Any publicity is good publicity” as Disney navigate the unfamiliar ‘rainbow’ path, a gamble I’m comfortable with and willing to support, although I’ll be the first to admit, it’s nothing short of a constructed media beat-up.

Going along to a Disney film, especially one with high expectation like this, is a daunting experience. Not so much from a punter point of view but from the perspective of being a ‘Beauty’ virgin.

Having never seen the original film, (does the tacky  80’s TV series with Linda Hamilton count?) I’m au fait with the annoying Beauty And The Beast song, not being that BATB illiterate, I have to say, the movie was okay.

Okay, in the sense that it was enjoyable, but in no means, I think, it’s a classic Disney film.  I loved the way the film captured the opaque fairytale-book look, the magical village where Belle lives or the Castle housing the Beast & co are magically brought to life, as if penned by the ‘man’ Walt Disney himself.

I imagine there’s no need to elaborate on the story, but I was pleasantly surprised by Emma Watson’s singing ability, shrugging off any hint of Harry-Potter persona, her delivery was spot on, and convincing as village beauty Belle. Her interaction with Beast (Downton’s Dan Stevens) wasn’t forced and for the most part convincing.

Dan Steven looked amazing as the Beast, however I found he wasn’t as convincing.  Maybe it was his sometimes-jilted acting under the Beast make-up or the ‘close but no cigar’ amalgamation of the two stars, who at times for me, just didn’t fire as the ‘lovey-dovey’ couple.

It’s a shame as other than this he’s a reputable Beast and BATB a fantastic film. For me, the inanimate objects really stole the show, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, candlestick Lumiere played by Ewan McGregor and Middle Earth’s Ian McKellen as clock Cogsworth are detestably funny, adding that classic Disney Mary Poppins or Bedknobs And Broomstick’s vibe.

Luke Evans as ‘lady-killer’ Gaston is immaculately arrogant and while the flamboyant Le Fou (Josh Gadd) is a scream, both, also worthy notables. 

The Verdict
Beauty And The Beast is a good watch, other that my gripe with the aforementioned ‘chemistry’ between Belle & The Beast, it’s a lavish remake that puts a human face to the characters that Disney are known for.  Given its 21st century make-over, means it’s also a bit scarier than it’s less edgy cartoon predecessor.

Anyway, props to Disney for its ground-breaking foray introducing gay/cross dressing characters.  Really, no-one is going to give a stuff and kids will be better off for its honest social diversity – but let’s not forget; it is a kids’ movie, and that’s where Disney really excel.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 30th March 2017
Rating: Rating
Duration: 129 minutes 
Genre:  Fantasy
Starring: Dan Stevens, Emma Watson, Luke Evans
Director: Bill Condon (Mr Holmes, Dreamgirls)

The Extras
Ryan Gosling was offered the role of the Beast, but turned it down to appear in La La Land (2016) instead. Emma Watson was offered the lead role in that film, but turned down that film to star in this one.

When director Bill Condon first spoke to Disney about adapting Beauty and the Beast (1991), they actually weren't sure they were going to do this new version as a musical. Condon said, "With all due respect, I think you're crazy. The songs are too good. You're going to spend all this time making a huge, gorgeous live-action "Beauty and the Beast" and not do 'Be Our Guest'?"

According to Ewan McGregor, the hardest part about playing Lumiere was getting the character's French accent right, although his wife of twenty years is in fact French. He said his voice ended up sounding Mexican instead of French, so he had to redo his dialogue after filming had completed.

Filming was completed by August 27, 2015, more than 18 months before the film's release.

Alan Menken, who scored Beauty and the Beast (1991), returns to score this live-action adaptation, which includes new recordings of the original songs in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.

Sir Ian McKellen originally turned down the voice of Cogsworth in the original Beauty and the Beast (1991).

Shortly after it was announced that Emma Watson would be playing Belle, Belle's voice actors Paige O'Hara (the original voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast (1991)) and Susan Egan (who originated the role on Broadway) expressed their endorsement and approval of Watson as a live-action Belle.