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“Beauty and the Beast” hits right in the nostalgia chord

Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, is a remake of the 1991 animated version of the film of the same name and tells the story of Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast (Dan Stevens). Do I need to go any further? For that one person who doesn’t know the story, it tells the story of Belle who becomes a prisoner of a cursed prince who has been turned into a Beast and, in order to get turned back into a human, needs to find someone that he loves and loves him back before the last rose petal in his castle falls off.

I went into this film with really no nostalgic feelings towards this film, simply because I hadn’t watched the original animated film for a long time, so I don’t have any positive of negative feelings towards this feel. I mean I went and did my research and re-watched the original, but I just went in wanting to see a good film. What we got those was something that is a decent film with some really solid performances, production and costume design.

The thing that really made this film any good at all definitely are the performances, namely those from Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Emma Watson is wonderful (does that really need to be said?) and captures the exact amount of wonderment and passion that the character of Belle needed. Dan Stevens (if you don’t know who that is, go watch the film, The Guest) also captures exactly what the Beast needed to be, that being essentially an introverted man-child at first and later, someone who is head over heels in love and understands where he went wrong before he was cursed.

The supporting cast was also solid too. Luke Evans exuded Gaston’s eccentric ego extremely well. Josh Gad (who I am admittedly not a fan of) was the perfect choice as LeFou. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen were great as Lumiére and Cogsworth respectively and Emma Thompson was a good Mrs. Potts.

Unsurprisingly as well, the costume, production and set design was fantastic and is honestly an early contender for those respective Oscar nominations.

My real problem with the film is that they tried to stay to faithful to the animated film many times instead of trying to do something else and it just lost the magic because of that. For example, the ballroom is a nice scene, but it is nowhere near as great as the animated version. There were also several musical numbers that they tried to transfer over and, while some worked, there were a couple that didn’t, namely “Be Our Guest.” It just felt too similar to the animated version and while there are things that work in animation, when they transfer over to live-action, they just don’t work.

My other gripe also stems from the source material itself, but there is little to no story in here. And the story that is there is simple at best. This however, is not a problem that only this movie has, but most of the Disney live-action adaptations have this problem.

Overall, this remake is an almost too faithful adaptation of its source material, albeit with performances and production design that are worth the price of admission.

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Scott Brown

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