Let the magic begin! Beauty and the Beast has stormed to theaters with a force of heart, nostalgia and new faces. Your invitation awaits here, while we return back to the castle as familiar guests.
You’ve seen this all before, nevertheless; a “Tale As Old As Time” continues its legacy as the magical gem it has come to know and be. Like clockwork, Disney continues their effort to remake all of their original animated classics into live-action features. Over the years, there have been highs (Cinderella and The Jungle Book) and there have been lows (Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent) with the remakes. Luckily, director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls and Mr. Holmes) retelling of the tale comes out as a high. Condon doesn’t overdo it with the CGI here and instead focuses more on the musical score and character development in this newest adaption.
The little ones will be widely entertained for the full 129 minutes, as will the adults. Now, of course, the live-action remake will never succeed the heights of the original animated classic that soared to theaters over 25 years ago. Back in 1991, the animated version broke a record with begin the first and only animated film to receive a Best Picture nomination. The film also won two Oscars for Best Music, Original Song and Best Music, Original Score. Likewise, 2017’s live-action remake has broken five box office records over its opening weekend. This includes: top domestic opening of all time for a film rated PG, No. 7 launch of all time for any movie, biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film, biggest domestic bow in almost a year and biggest opening for this genre of Disney live-action remakes.
Condon’s film has already taken in $750 million worldwide and is currently eyeing the billion-dollar club. But enough talk about records, let’s shift our focus to the music and performances. No doubt, that the musical score transcribed wonderfully over and I am pleased to say that all of the performances done by the cast (live and voice) did an outstanding job. While Emma Watson’s Belle is no Paige O'Hara, fear not; Watson continued to show us her fierceness and the range of her singing chops. Dan Stevens (former Downtown Abbey star) does a fantastic job fitting into the beast’s shoes. I saw a lot of “Matthew Crawley” mannerisms expressed in Stevens' emotions throughout.
Josh Gad plays a quirky/gleeful LeFou (no controversy here), while Luke Evans steals the show as the egotistical Gaston. Evans’ version of Gaston was spot on and his acclaimed performance stole the spotlight for me in almost every frame. Lastly, the voice cast (Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci) filled in the rest of the cracks for the film. Their voices were flawless as the cursed furniture wooing Belle with “Best Our Guest” and many more delightful songs.
The visuals will stun you, as will the costume design full of piazza and wonder. Beauty and the Beast may fault on familiarity, but it’s one that offers a faithful retelling to the beloved source of material. The enchanting cast with beautifully crafted songs are a glitter to one’s eye. Song likes “Belle", "Gaston", "Be Our Guest", "How Does a Moment Last Forever", and "Evermore" will steal your heart to the very last beat. In the end, Beauty and the Beast’s re-invitation has been well received.
Beauty and the Beast is rated PG (Parental Guidance). For some action, violence, peril, and frightening images.