Beauty and the Beast – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Beauty and the Beast – 3.5/5 – Remakes are films people love to hate on the most.  One rule I have is I never compare any remake to what was deemed as the ‘original’.  No matter what (remake or not), I always go into the film and base it on its own merits.  With that said, Disney has provided us with some good live action remakes of a lot of their previous classic animated tales.  From Cinderella to The Jungle Book; they have provided a wealth of new spins on old tales.  With this new iteration of a famed classic, they have provided a sweet escape for many fans.  Even with some slight hiccups and predictable details, Beauty and the Beast is another wonderful collection to this new era of Live-Action Disney films.

Premise:  Live-action retelling of a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman coming together proving that love can endear the harshest curses.

At the heart of the film are the following characters:

Emma Watson as Belle

Dan Stevens as Beast

Luke Evans as Gaston

Josh Gad as Lefou

Kevin Kline as Maurice

This group do a great job in not being too extravagant or cumbersome in these roles.  Going slightly above predictable clichés, each actor/actress provides that fine line of whimsical, serene and goofy characters that brings to life the fantastical element of the story.  No matter whom they interact with or if they lead into any musical number, you feel their presences on the big screen.  There are times when the dramatic tension may come across as forced, but for the most part you enjoy this different take of popular characters.  At the forefront is Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast.  With the main point of the story is to lead them to that ‘happily ever after’ situation, watching their relationship grow is slow but endearing.  No matter if it’s the first encounter to the final kiss, you feel their relationship as real and genuine.  Another great list of characters is the voice actors/actress in the ‘animated’ roles.  I recommend referring to the IMDb page to the list.  In short, the voice actors/actress provide that added layer of lively personalities to the film.  From the whimsical Lumiere to the stern statesman of Cogsworth; you feel the humanity in each animated object.  Their conversations and expositional stylings are proper, fun and welcoming to the film.

This film is your basic fairytale, but with an infusion of a musical aura.  To go into deep detail of this retelling of a previous Disney product would be redundant.  The focus (for this review) is how the director provides a unique spin in something very common.  By the director (Bill Condon) using his experience in creating musicals, he provides characterized detail through the power of song.  Using this blend brings about a spin of drama, emotion and comedy that is refreshing for a live-action retailing.  It helps provide a pull for the audience towards familiarity, creating another route for that fantastical escapism.  As the story progress through its prologue and introduction of the characters in the first act, it leads through simplistic plot points that eventually brings Belle to the enchanted castle.  Once she encounters Beast, the film provides a colorful blend of common fairytale spectacle with background development.  The thematic detail of humanistic fervor helps provide a connection to the emotional relationship that slow develops between the two.  You see how two harden souls from different worlds begin to slowly come together through odd (but predictable) interactions.  Even if there is a lot of familiarity in the use of romantic tropes, the use of an endearing musical approach helps sway the audiences to go along this journey.  As the pacing goes from quick to slow within a mixture of escapism, tedium and common plot devices through the second act, it eventually leads into the third act.  All the characters come together through physical and emotional conflicts in this final act.  Between the relationship of Belle and Beast and the fear of the villagers of this supposed ‘threat’, the director does his best in providing an adrenaline rush with some uneven results.  The action is enjoyable but doesn’t spark any tension, creating an undermined thread to the spectacular detail of the film.  Once the climactic scene happens, it is welcomed but empty.  With a lot of the film’s backdrop leading to an outcome of common reverence; there isn’t that power you would expect in most fairytales.  Even for this, the musical number of the epilogue provides that perfect bow that makes any Disney Fairytale worth the ride.

The visuals are some of the most spectacular to see on the big screen.  From the wonderful detail of the village and the forest, to the ominous panorama views of the castle’s interior and exterior, you feel the fantastical elements coming to life.  As the film provides emotion through design, color and visual focality, you experience endearment through raw attachment by sight.  No matter if it is the musical numbers, the romantic development or the side character antics (both human and non-human), you feel power and purpose in every cinematic detail.  The score is somewhat strong but mismatched.  With the infusion of the musical numbers, you get a lot of random and sometimes unique spins on some of the surround use of music.  Even with a fragment at times, when you hear them coming, you fall back into a world of true magic.

Beauty and the Beast is a live-action retelling that is fun, enjoyable but does have its bumps in the road.  From beginning to the end, you are enraptured by the characters and the musical numbers.  For everything that can bring it down, you are always brought back through that Disney Magic.  If you’re a fan of the original or have enjoyed these live-action remakes, this is one for you.  It is worth the time at the theaters, a worth treat for the family.

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