By Libby Mislan, ’17
On March 17, Disney premiered a live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, “Beauty and the Beast”. “Beauty and the Beast”, directed by Bill Condon, is the latest in a line of live-action remakes including “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book”. This new installation of a timeless classic is bound to impress those familiar with the original as well as gain the franchise a whole new generation of adoring fans.
One of the strongest elements of this movie is the casting. Emma Watson shines in her role as the main character, Belle. Watson, who rose to fame playing Hermione in the “Harry Potter” franchise, is a natural Belle. Watson’s intelligence and beauty radiate in every scene and her singing voice, which was initially a concern, is lovely. The rest of the all-star cast has impressive performances as well. Most notably, Emma Thompson and Josh Gad stole scenes portraying Mrs. Potts and Lefou respectively.
Gad’s performance of Lefou also marked a historical first for Disney. Lefou was meant to be the first openly gay character in a Disney movie. While this fact may have been subtle, it still marks a historic trend for Disney movies.
“Beauty and the Beast” also succeeds in making the CGI seem realistic in the majority of scenes. In other live-action remakes, the animated elements in the movies have had a fake and even scary appearance.The animated crockery in ”Beauty and the Beast” is still as charming as it was in the original animated classic. The deft animation of the crockery allowed for a magical “Be Our Guest” scene that had the potential to go very wrong, had the animators not succeeded in making the pots and pans come to life.
A bonus positive of this movie is the quality of the soundtrack. Duets from John Legend and Ariana Grande as well as songs from broadway alums like Audra McDonald and Josh Gad bring extra magic to the already impressive movie. Some new songs that are unique to the movie like “Evermore”, sung by the beast, positively add to the plot and arcs for the characters.
Overall, this movie will be a hit with old and new fans alike. The familiar songs like “Be Our Guest” and “Something There” create a feeling of nostalgia while new songs like “Evermore” add even more charm and drama to the storyline. No matter young or old, spend some time at the theater this weekend with “Beauty and the Beast”. It is yet another magical Disney movie that makes it impossible to leave the theater without a smile.