Here we go again. The tale as old as time redone. Beauty and the Beast is a property that is in public domain so that means anyone can make anything they want based on these characters. But when people think about Beauty and The Beast, they think of the 1991 Disney animated classic. This movie was a seminal film in many respects. It was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. So there was a lot of buzz, positive and negative, about a live action remake of the movie. I’ve only seen the animated movie once in my lifetime so I came in with no expectations.
I highly enjoyed this movie. I’m not going to the say that it was revolutionary. It is about 85% a shot for shot remake of the animated movie with new content used to flesh out some of the characters. In the original, you never see The Prince before he becomes The Beast and the event that turned him and his staff into non humans. Here we see it in full context. The film also goes into explaining a common Disney trope as to why the main character only has one parent. This added content does much to flesh out the characters but it’s not really necessary or memorable.
This is the Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (The Beast) show and they do not disappoint. If they did not work, then this film would not have worked either. Ewan McGregor and Josh Gad are probably the two standouts from the supporting cast.The rest of the supporting cast is solid. If there was one dud, it would probably be Luke Evans as Gaston. Not that he is even a dud as he is serviceable in the role. But he is not as bombastic as the Gaston was from the animated version. So it is jarring to see a much more methodical Gaston.
The sets and scenery are beautiful and astonishing to see. It is clear that much work was put into the town that Belle resides in and the castle of the Beast. These are beautiful sets where it is a glorious mix of CGI and practical sets. The soundtrack is equally as important as there are reprisals of classic songs from the animated film. There are also a few additional songs, some from the stage production, added into the film and never feel out of place.
Bill Condon has done an admirable job of adapting a seminal film. It does not tarnish of the animated version while still making it somewhat of its own. Overall, it is probably one of the better live action remakes of a Disney animated classic.