Disney’s newest addition to its rendition of princess cartoons into live-action films brings light and utter warmth to “Beauty and the Beast.” Truly a tale as old as time, “Beauty and the Beast” takes all of the story that we know and love, turning it into a magical new classic to be loved.
This rendition of a Disney classic never strays too far from its original plot. However, the live-action portrayal gives audiences a lot of background information, such as what happened to Belle’s mom and a true portrayal of the Enchantress that cursed the Beast, giving the story a better plot and indulges audiences more deeply into the story of Belle.
Stephen Chobosky, who directed “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” also featuring Emma Watson, takes the classic “Beauty and the Beast,” giving it that special magic that has been lacking in other live-action renditions of Disney classics through screenplay, with the help of director Bill Condon.
While speaking of Belle, Watson takes this Disney classic, plays her well, but also adds another layer of depth to the Belle we have come to know and love. In fact, Watson’s singing voice takes her far from her beloved role of Hermione Granger and places her in the category of a true princess.
The Beast, played by Dan Stevens, has a hard time living up to the original Beast, played by Robby Benson. Stevens lacks that Beast-edge that Benson has throughout the original cartoon. And in this live-action, Stevens has his own solo once Belle leaves the castle that has the audience in quite a bit of confusion, although Stevens’ voice is harmonic and warm.
As for the famed Gaston, Luke Evans plays the part rather well, especially with the addition of Josh Gad as LeFou. In Gad and Evans’ rendition of “Gaston,” Gad quite literally steals the show and warms the audiences’ hearts, leaving everyone wondering what the big deal was as to the “openly gay character” in the movie. Of course, LeFou gets his happy ending.
And not to forget everyone’s favorite antiques, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Chip (Nathan Mack), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald), Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the addition of Maestro Cadenzo (Stanley Tucci), help to aid the magic of this tale. The classic “Be Our Guest” takes a new and colorful spin, using a blend of special effects between the characters and their production, making it a truly magical moment in the film.
The only blip that “Beauty and the Beast” had that was rather distracting is Belle and the Beast’s ball dance toward the end of the film. The Beast, when not the direct focus of the camera, looks ike a bad case of editing and CGI. In their ballroom dance, the Beast walked funny around Belle and lacked the hairy appearance he had up until then.
Overall, the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” is just as great as the original. Although the songs were sung by different people, which left a little awkwardness for certain audience members off-key singing, the songs within the film stayed true to the original and left the same impact as before.
As Witt’s Night at the Movies approaches on March 29, students should not miss out on Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” With a new twist on the tale we all love, students will be singing “Beauty and the Beast (Tale As Old As Time)” for the next three weeks, in love with all of the actor and actress’s portrayals of their characters.