Disney has managed to make ‘a tale as old as time’ brand new again with its latest production of “Beauty and the Beast”, and those who were afraid to watch because they couldn’t picture Emma Watson as anything other than Hermione from Harry Potter–they can relax, because she captures Belle, well, beautifully.
The new movie (set to hit theaters March 17th), is as enchanting as Disney’s other hits from recent years, Cinderella and Maleficent.
Belle is still bright, beautiful and brave, true to the original versions, but there’s more humor in this new release.
The Beast (Dan Stevens) is still beastly, but not too scary (according to the sweet four year old girl who watched beside me). There are plenty of action scenes to keep the fighting fans pleased, and music galore to thrill the purists. I wanted to get up and dance in my seat to the movie’s version of “Gaston” (sorry—it’s my favorite), but you’re really going to be delighted by the incredibly colorful “Be Our Guest” performance.
I have to admit I didn’t love the scene near the beginning that felt more like a throwback to the Sound of Music than Beauty and the Beast, but I did appreciate that Emma Watson can sing. She sings really well.
I have to say that Ewan McGregor steals the show as candlestick Lumiere. The way Disney has brought the inanimate objects to life is purely magical, with Lumiere in particular.
The scenery is stunning, as are the costumes.
Luke Evans adds great humor to the character of Gaston (and pardon me for being one of the silly girls who falls for him, but he makes Gaston hot—at least in the beginning!).
I struggled a little with Kevin Kline as Belle’s father Maurice. I recognized him from too many other roles to be able to get lost in his acting in this one, and as good as Josh Gad is as Le Fou, there are a few times I definitely heard Olaf (of Frozen) speaking a line or two. Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and Chip are hard not to love.
There are those who say they’ll boycott the movie because of the quick acknowledgment of a character who happens to be gay, but I believe those folks are missing out on a real treat—the flirting is no different than the Le Fou of the past, and the dance scene creating a stir lasts all of 2 seconds.
The message of the movie remains the same—true beauty is found within—and I love the twist on Belle’s independent, innovative ways of the future—along with her sorrowful glimpse into the past.
Overall, I think fans will enjoy the fantastic journey this updated version of the movie will take them on, in all its new technology, and yes, even with the new characters.
I’ll definitely be one of the first ones back in the theaters to see it again with my family.
Here are some clips to hold you over until the movie is released in two weeks.
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