Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast is delightful as it is enchanting.
While no one surely asked Disney to go ahead and remake their classics, and the entertainment juggernaut certainly has its fair share of mistakes (Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan are great examples of this), director Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast shines with elegance. The original animated film won the hearts and minds of people from all ages, thus giving Disney the difficult task of either recreating this effect or creating something new. The tale may be old as time but somehow Beauty and the Beast is able to hold on to everything that made the original animated film brilliant while also applying something different and new that is fitting without feeling forced.
Beauty and the Beast boasts an impressive list of actors who have all brought something unique to the film that no one else could have done. Emma Watson is able to embody everything that made the original Belle such a likable character while also adding her own touch of feminism, depth, and intelligence. Dan Stevens’ role as the Beast was spot on, fully displaying animalistic rage while also letting his charm and kindness leak through. The chemistry between the two on screen is touching and there is no doubt that Disney made the right casting choice for these two characters.
Without a doubt, I could go on and on about how every prominent cast member left me impressed in some way. From Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen’s role as the suave candelabrum and loyal clock to Emma Thompson’s wonderful voice as Mrs. Potts, to Josh Gad’s flamboyant but loyal LeFou and Luke Evans’ arrogant and overly manly Gaston, the actors in this film shine in perhaps some of the their best work in many years.
Nonetheless, Beauty and the Beast isn’t a completely perfect film and it does have a few problems of its own as the film progresses. It is obvious that Disney and Bill Condon wanted to be sure that the Beast looked as realistic as possible and there are no problems here. However, there are a few times in the film when the CGI wasn’t as seamless as it should have been. A scene where Belle’s father is being chased through the forest by wolves could have been done better and it felt as if Disney was hoping you’d be so caught up in the intense moment that you wouldn’t notice.
Another problem was the overly climatic fight between the Beast and Gaston. I won’t go into any details as to spoil anything for those of you who have yet to see the film, but this is perhaps the only part of the film where things became too dramatic. If Bill Condon had used a similar scene to that of the animated film things would have moved along smoothly. At no point in the film is Belle truly a damsel in distress and perhaps the writers and Bill Condon forgot about this sort of thing.
Luckily, Beauty and the Beast has so many wonders that where the film has a few troubles you can’t help but overlook them. I’m sure diehard Beauty and the Beast fans will be upset that a few new songs were added to the film but they’d be lying if they said the new songs weren’t fitting or enjoyable. Again, nothing in this film ever comes across as forced and if you let yourself become immersed in the magic of the film (while ignoring the fact that the Prince and Belle are essentially nobles living in revolution-era France and would more than likely see the guillotine) you’d no doubt feel like you are once again the same person as you were when the animated film was released 26-years earlier and that is what makes Beauty and the Beast truly remarkable.