Beauty and the Beast returned to theaters this past week with a new twist to the traditional Disney classic through a live-action telling. Viewers are greeted with a living, breathing Beast as he attempts to expel the wretched curse that has transformed his once ‘royal’ appearance. Moviegoers are thrust back into the magical world of Disney fantasy and animated royalty with a cast of believable and faithful counterparts to their animated predecessors. Nevertheless, one can expect to enjoy the fairytale all over again with great musical performances and acting to make them fall in love all over again.
As with the animated classic, Beauty and the Beast is led by their two main protagonists, Beast (Dan Stevens) and Belle (Emma Watson). Beast is a prince-turned-monster after a fateful night with a witch who transforms him due to his disgusting vanity, and he is doomed to appear as the beast he is unless he can find someone who can love him as a beast. Belle is the fairest lady in her village, yet she is much more than just a pretty face. Belle boasts an insatiable desire to learn and read, setting her aside as one of the brightest minds in the village as well. After Belle’s father gets lost on his way back from town, Belle must go save him after he had been captured by Beast. However, Belle exchanges roles with her father to assure he can be safe and at home. Now with a young, fair maiden in his castle Beast must attempt to woo her into falling in love with him with the help of Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellan) and an array of other friend-turned-antique characters.
The majority of the story is set in two locations: Beast’s crumbling castle and Belle’s village. In Belle’s village, the audience is shown a vivid, colorful set piece which houses the daily life of Belle and her father, Papa (Kevin Kline). In contrast, Beast’s castle is often portrayed as brooding and dark during its introduction. However, upon Belle’s arrival, Lumière introduces her, and the audience, to a stunning visual display of the beauty lying within the castle. Brilliant designs such as Beast’s library and the courtyard are displayed throughout the film and are sure to dazzle the audience.
Dan Steven’s Beast and Emma Watson’s Belle also display faithful renditions of the classic ballads seen in the original animated classic. Additionally, supporting characters such as Lumière also bring exciting, imaginative performances with terrific effects to bring the visual aspect of the animated classic to life. Tracks such as Be Our Guest performed by Ewan McGregor and Beauty and the Beast by Emma Thompson highlight the stunning performances by the cast.
Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a faithful retelling of the animated classic that brings a sense of freshness to the original. The addition of actors to play the famous characters brought a new dimension to the original classic that all families will be sure to appreciate as they are brought back to the nostalgia of Disney’s original run of unforgettable animated classics in the 1990’s. The final verdict is that Beauty and the Beast is well worth anyone’s time who enjoyed the original. Rating: 86/100