Film | Beauty and the Beast Live Action Review

Over the Easter holidays I finally, finally got to see the new live-action Beauty and the Beast film at the cinemas.  I went with Mr Mess and the kids, plus my mum and dad.  Overall I think we all really enjoyed the experience, even if Mini Mess did make me take her to the toilet and I missed the ballroom scene!

Back in November, I wrote my initial thoughts on the Beauty and the Beast trailer.  I thought it would be interesting to see how my opinion on the finished product compared with my original expectations.


The Story

Like the live-action Cinderella, the Beauty and the Beast remake stays pretty faithful to the plot of the animated film, with a few original additions to give it a unique character.

At times, it felt like the script was trying a bit hard to flesh out the characters backstories when it possibly wasn’t really necessary.  It was nice to finally answer the question of “Where is Belle’s mothers?” but I don’t think we really needed yet another magical object to transport us to the scene of her death.

Meanwhile, we were given more screen time with the enchantress, and a subplot with her rescuing Maurice, but would have loved them to delve more into her story – who is she?  Where did she come from?

My absolute favourite deviation from the original was when they show Beast imprisoning Maurice AFTER he stole the rose.  This is completely faithful to the original fairytale and I feel give the Beast more motivation for locking Maurice up, rather than just because he’s a jerk.

They did handle that tricky question of the Prince’s change when he is transformed, by changing one very important lyric.  I loved the new idea that the village has been made to forget the castle and it was nice to watch everyone be reunited at the end.

I don’t think these new plot points did the film any damage, but I didn’t really need them either.  For me, the film worked best when it stuck to what we knew.

The Characters

I have to say, absolutely all of the casting in this film was pretty much spot on.  All the characters seemed exactly as I would have imagined and I couldn’t think of anybody who was letting the side down.

I adored Dan Stephens from the moment he came on screen.  Depicting the spoiled prince as a member of the French aristocracy with powdered wig and heavy makeup was sublime and he oozed arrogance.  Watching him transition from the cowering prince, to the moody Beast who terrorises the castle to the adorabley-vulnerable person he is underneath was wonderful.  It reminded me just how amazing an actor he really is.

The enchanted objects were damn-near perfect, both as housewares and as people. I’m not going to name check them all as there were far to many and I’m bound to miss someone who is completely worthy.  I loved the chemistry between the objects – you could genuinely believe they had lived together for years.

 

I always knew that I was going to take some serious convincing to see Emma Watson as Belle.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate her as an actress, it’s just I feel she has a very recognisable face and voice, so I struggle to completely forget who she really it.  It took me a while to warm up to her, but by the end I really enjoyed her performance and I’m sure with a few re-watches I’ll be won over.

My absolute star casting award has to go to Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Gaston and Lefou respectively.  All previews I had seen of the film had already led me to believe they would be brilliant and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Both performances were absolutely outstanding and kept the spirit of the character while introducing their own  unique elements.  I seriously hope there are some extended scenes with them on the DVD as I NEED MORE!!

The CGI

When I watched the trailer, I was quite concerned about the amount of  CGI in the movie.  In actual fact it was nowhere near as problematic as I expected it to be.  The enchanted objects were actually pretty good.  I thought the Be Our Guest scene was particularly spectacular.  It was certainly a feast for the eyes.

If there was a slight issue with CGI ti would be with the Beast.  Although on the whole he looked great, there were a few moments were he slipped into uncanny valley territory.  I do wish they’d tried to use more prosthetics instead. Lord of the Rings proved how amazing these can look when used properly.

 The Music

The music in the original movie is close to flawless and the new performances of the classic tunes were fabulous.  My favourite absolutely had to be Josh Gad and Luke Evans singing Gaston.  It was amazing and I loved the little changes they made to lyrics etc.

Honestly, I know some people loved them but I really could have done without the new songs.  They were beautifully sung but they didn’t seem to blend naturally in the move. I would also love to know why Disney insist on ignoring the music from the Broadway musical?  Some of the songs in that are GORGEOUS and they’re horribly under-used!

This is the main reason why I loved the part of the film when Belle enters her bedroom for the first time and the melody from “Home” starts to play.  It’s the song that Belle sings at that exact point during the musical and it was a wonderful Easter Egg for fans of the show.

The Film

It is undeniable that Beauty and the Beast Live Action is a stunning film. It’s a work of art.  The sets, the costumes, the filming where immaculate.  Although I didn’t think it completely perfect , it was certainly close enough for me.  I can’t wait Beauty and the Beast to come out on DVD so we can watch it over and over.   I’m sure it will be a firm family favourite.

 

 

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One comment

  1. Sian says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Beauty and the Beast. I thought the casting was spot on whilst I was watching it (I was unsure beforehand) and I loved Dan Stephens! I was cautiously optimistic for BATB because I wasn’t a fan of Cinderella at all. It definitely has some great songs in it too, very underrated for a Disney musical compared to others!

    Sian x
    http://theenglisheverygirl.blogspot.co.uk/

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