Astounding, captivating, spectacular, visually appealing, compelling, and moving are only a few of the words that come to mind as the credits rolled and Celine Dion sang a new Beauty and the Beast song. This was by far one of the BEST movies I have seen in a long time. Though the story is “a tale as old as time” the way in which director Bill Codon brings to life the 1991 Disney cartoon version is incredible. I grew up as a 90’s child loving all the Disney movies, so I might be a little biased here but as I watched this movie I feel in love with the story and characters all over again. I felt as though I was traveling alongside the characters in the movie, rooting for the hero’s/good guys and hoping the villain’s/bad guys would fail. I would doing this knowing how the story end. To me, that is what makes an exceptional movie, especially for a remake of such a classic.
***If you have not seen the original Beauty and the Beast, let me first say, “WHAT? Where have you been hiding?” and secondly, I will be speaking about how the story ends slightly so don’t read ahead if you don’t know the ending of the story.***
As the movie began, we are introduced to the Beast (Dan Stevens) right away in his human form, well sort of. We do not actually see his face as he is having a grand ball and is in disguise. I cannot recall if this was the same way the original movie began, however I at 1st was annoyed by this! I wanted to see right away what does this prince look like?! However, at the end of the movie when we finally see what he looks like I understand why at the beginning we didn’t see him. It built the anticipation and made the review so much more rewarding. I also think it allowed the audience to fall in love with the Beast just as Belle did as we knew him no differently.
Speaking of Belle (Emma Watson), WOW! I have seen her in movies and knew she was a phenomenal actress, but she still blew me away. Her singing was spectacular and so unexpected. (Side note -There were even more songs in this movie then the original and all were sung beautifully.) To me, it was the way Belle (Emma) spoke and how she looked at the beast, the castle and the objects that were alive with such wonder, curiosity, and love that brought so much to the movie. Belle was tied for being my favorite character of the movie with Lefou (Josh Gad). This character could not have been cast any more perfectly; well truly none of them could have, they were all exactly what I had hoped and envisioned, and then some. But the take on Lefou in this movie was hysterical. He was the best friend of the hottest guy in town, Gaston (Luke Evans) and though he was the “sidekick” so to say he had such a personality that had me laughing and smiling ear to ear whenever he was on screen. Following Belle and Lefou for my favorite characters in the movie you have the Beast, Gaston, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Chip (Nathan Mack), and Lumière (Ewan McGregor). Each actor brought so much to the movie, even if they were an object most of the movie, but the way in which these objects were displayed throughout the movie was so lifelike you almost forgot they weren’t supposed to be able to move and talk. It says so much for how far technology has come in the last 16 years since the original was released.
The Design of the Movie
Aside from the actors/characters in the movie, what caught my attention right away was the set and wardrobe design. The color, the fit, and the variety was just draw japing. Throughout the movie there was a great juxtaposition between good and bad, the wardrobe is just one example. Belle for example was displayed as good, so she always wore light, bright, and happy colors. Whereas the Best who is ‘bad’ is dressed in heavy and dark clothes, until he becomes a man than back to the bright and light colors. The colors used in the city and at/ in the castle are another example, as is the temperature – the city in which Belle is from is warm and sunny as it is June, yet not far away hides the castle in the forest where it is snowing and cold. The drastic juxtaposition in these different areas throughout the movie added such drama and built on the story. It truly allowed you to see the Beast changing as it seemed to get warmer and brighter throughout the movie. Overall, I thought the scenery and the costumes stayed true to the original and the time but had a more polished look. There was one location or scene though that did surprise me and that was the town library. I remember in the cartoon version the library being bigger than just a shelf as it was in this movie.
The library was not the only surprising thing in the movie though. I found it very interesting the role that Belle’s mother played in the movie. I thought this added another element to the story that was not there in the original and allowed for Belle and the Beast an outlet to bond over both not having mothers in their lives while growing up. It seemed to me that this movie was not only filled with color, singing, and laughter but also wonderful take-a-ways.
I found 5 strong take-a-ways and I feel that they are worth sharing (in case you missed them).
- Never give up on hope or on people; circumstances and people can change.
- Never judge a book by its cover or in other words, 1st impressions are not always true to who someone is.
- Love will always win out in the end.
- Relationships affect more than just 2 people.
- Love takes sacrifice.
I think the first three take-a ways are very obvious, even from the original movie. I am not sure if it’s because I am an adult now and watching this classes through different lessons but I never picked up on the last 2 take-a-ways before. There are two prime examples from the movie that come to mind with regard to take-a-way #4. The 1st is seen through the all the objects in the house working together to bring Belle and the Beast together. The 2nd is seen in the relationship that Gaston tries to forge with Belle’s father as he wants to marry Belle – knowing that if he marries Belle, her father is part of the package. Take-a-way #5 is so powerful and both Belle and the Beast make sacrifices throughout the movie. Belle sacrificing her life and freedom to allow her father to be free from the Beast. The Beast then letting Belle who he now loves be free so that she can save her father from the village. [Sorry if that got kind of intense, but I majored psychology so I enjoy analyzing people and relationships.]
Though there was so much content in the movie, from locations and singing to all people, the story never feel rushed. That could be because it was longer than the original. The original movie was 1 hour and 24 minutes long whereas this movie ran 2 hours and 9 minutes. My only complaint, was that it was not over and had to end. If you cannot tell I loved this movie and HIGHLY recommend everyone go see it!