This ‘tale as old as time’ has been recaptured in a live-action interpretation of the 1991 Disney classic. For those who have forgotten the infamous tale, beautiful Belle (Emma Watson) is held prisoner by a Prince-turned-Beast (Dan Stevens) in a glorious castle with magical houseware which come to life, as the unlikely pair fall for each other and in turn break the curse of eternal damnation. Gaston (Luke Evans), is the town’s arrogant heartthrob, who throws a spanner in the works, trying to win Belle for himself.

This remake respects the animated version overall and rarely strays from the original storyline. They introduce a couple of new musical numbers, however they let the film down slightly as they are cringe-worthy and tri-hard, perhaps showing that you cannot improve on perfection.

Some of the stunning scenes are so visually overwhelming and theatrical that you feel like you are watching a West-End musical. You are drenched wonderfully in magic, opulence and royal luxury.

Emma Watson plays the perfect Belle, naturally beautiful and seemingly intelligent (much like Harry Potter’s Hermoine but I am sure she would like to progress away from her childhood role). However her voice sounds quite auto-tuned, making you question how advanced her musical talent is. Similarly with Dan Stevens, he makes a great Beast but is let down by his musical number.

The show is stolen by Luke Evans as Gaston. He is narcissistic, arrogant and hilarious. He adds that comic relief that will appeal to all ages and he is a baddie that you cannot help but love, but not as much as he loves himself!

There was much controversy about the first Disney homosexual relationship and after seeing the film, I can say it has been blown way out of proportion. It is a necessary step into the twenty-first century.

Ian Mckellen, Ewan Mcgregor and Emma Thompson finally grace the screen in human form in the last five minutes of the movie, revealing that their acting talent and personality can shine just as bright through inanimate objects such as a clock, a candlestick and a teapot.

Astoundingly magical and visually amazing, you will be moved to tears through sheer joy at the beauty of this timeless classic tale. It will regress the adults back into children, and introduce a new generation to the wonder of Beauty and the Beast.

★★★★

 

First published in Marketplace Magazine, Bourne.

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