Movie Review: Beauty & the Beast

I had meant to post this ages ago, when I actually saw the movie, but I never got around to it, because I’m a terrible person. Or a forgetful person. One of those things.

It’s a tale as old as time… and you know what, let’s not do this. I think we all know how the story goes. If you’re anything like me, you saw the original Disney movie about a trillion times anyway and probably know it by heart.

There’s definitely a level of nostalgia that goes into watching this movie, and Disney counts on it, giving us a nearly frame by frame remake. There are changes though, and some (most?) are for the better. Some new songs have been added, and Belle is a little less victim and a little more feisty. She’s the inventor rather than her father, which is one of the reasons the villagers find her odd. That and the fact that she can read, which is apparently a terrible, terrible thing. Even worse when she tries to teach one of the children (a girl! oh noes! how dare she?!) to read.

Some of the things that might have made us go ‘huh?’ in the original movie have been addressed, some of which makes sense now and some of which still kind of don’t. As well as a few new bits that may or may not make sense.

I could go into detail about all these things, but I won’t bore you. (An example is how the villagers could have forgotten that there’s a huge castle with a prince right next door, and some timing in regards to the Beast’s age. If you pay attention in the original and do the maths he was basically 11 when the curse happened. How bad can an 11 year old be for you to curse him like that? I’m kidding, 11 year olds can be terrible, but I mean – ground them or something, don’t turn them into a beast!)

Let’s talk about the things that I really care about when it comes to this movie; the characters and romance!

The Beast/Prince

They did an amazing job creating the Beast in CGI! Dan Stevens truly shine and is allowed enough of his features through the CGI to properly convey all of the feelings he needs to. Not only that, but he can sing. I will be honest, I had no idea that Dan Stevens could sing.

In fact, they did such a good job on the Beast (those pecs… I mean, the scene where his shirt is open created some very confusing feelings for me) that I was disappointed when he turned into the Prince. Which was very badly done, because Dan Stevens is a handsome man. What’s up with the temple curls?! And did he have to be given the ugliest suit of everyone in the whole movie?

Belle

I liked Hermione Granger Emma Watson as Belle, though I’m not sure that someone else couldn’t have done a better job. I feel terrible for saying it, but while she was good, and I’m sure she put a lot of effort into learning to sing, she’s not actually a singer – and it’s noticeable. In fairness, I didn’t notice it as much when I was watching the movie – but I listened to the soundtrack afterwards, and when you don’t have the movie to dazzle you, you notice that her voice doesn’t quite measure up to some of the others.

Also, I know she’s like 27 years old now or something, but I struggle to see her as older than she was in early Harry Potter movies. This is my problem though and may not be someone else. It did however make me think that her first reaction to the Beast turning into Dan Stevens the Prince would be “oh wow… eh… you’re older than I thought”.

Gaston

After the Beast, Gaston was definitely my second favourite character in this version of the movie. Luke Evans does such an amazing job and is so charismatic that it’s difficult to hate Gaston as much as you did in the original. I wonder if they made him extra villainous to make up for the fact that Luke Evans is so amazing that people might end up rooting for him instead of the Beast if he doesn’t show how properly evil he really is?

If for no other reason, watch the movie for Luke Evans.

LeFou

Josh Gad does a great job of making LeFou more than just the funny sidekick that he was in the original. He gets his own character arc and Gad portrays this perfectly, while still being funny and endearing.

Everyone else

I don’t have many thoughts about the others. They were all fine. I’m not sure about Ewan McGregor with a French accent… Also, Emma Thompson’s accent as Mrs. Potts threw me a bit. I love Kevin Cline in pretty much everything he does. Didn’t realise Stanley Tucci was in the movie until the very end!

The Romance

As in the original, the timeline is somewhat compressed (and that’s with the live action movie being longer than the original already), so the romance is still happening quite quickly. I always wish we’d have a little bit more time with Beauty and the Beast to see their relationship develop. It definitely feels a little bit rushed, but it is given a little bit more time than in the original, which at least helps.

It might be because I’m a romance writer and reader, but I could probably have spent another half hour getting into their budding relationship. But that’s what all the books inspired by the Beauty & the Beast story are for I guess.

All in all, I really loved the movie and would recommend anyone who liked the original to see it. There are a few things that doesn’t necessarily make sense (but you’d find that in nearly any movie if you look hard enough), but I’ll forgive it because I’ve always had a soft spot for Beauty & the Beast.

Ps. This Beauty & the Beast clip from James Corden is absolutely amazing. And it has Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Josh Gad in it!


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