Review – Beauty and the Beast

Bronwyn O'Neill

The live action imagining of Beauty and the Beast proved itself to be a tale as old as time, living up to and possibly surpassing the much loved Disney classic.

The anticipation of this film almost sent Disney fans crazy and making a childhood favourite film for many come to life was a hard feat. It was made possible however, by the classic music of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and the perfect cast headed by Emma Watson.

The reimagining stays true its predecessor, whilst expanding on the backstories of its beloved characters, adding new, swelling Broadway-like musical moments and changing the Beast from a spoilt child to an intellectual equal of Belle.

Unlike the other live action remakes Disney has recently undertaken, Beauty and the Beast kept it iconic songs, making it first and foremost a musical. The star studded cast hold their own against the swelling orchestral tunes. Emma Watson, although perfectly cast as Belle in her beauty and intelligence, falls short on her vocal skills. Her sweet, soft voice lags behind the powerful vocals from the rest of the cast, especially Luke Evans and Dan Stevens. Ewan McGregor’s French accent shows gaps at times, but his vocal skills never missed a beat, reprising his skills from Moulin Rouge.

The film also expands on what happened to Belle’s mother, why the Beast is as selfish and vain as he is and why the seemingly innocent live-in servants were also cursed. It covers plot holes that were found in the original, making the film even more appealing to long-time Disney fans.

There was a lot of hype about certain things in the movie during the press tour. These vary from Belle being an inventor to LeFou being the first canonically gay Disney character who has an “exclusively gay moment”, that could have been expanded more during the 2 hour run time.

Although CGI was needed to bring the cursed objects to life it never once took away from the realness (as real as a cursed castle can be) of the magical movie. The stunning creation of the ‘Be Our Guest’ sequence highlights the leaps and bounds we have come in technology.

It’s a magical, singing, dancing, heart-warming extravaganza that every musical and Disney fan will enjoy, especially with Broadway veteran Audra McDonald as the narcoleptic, opera singing wardrobe. If you’re one of those people with a Disney aversion, perhaps this movie isn’t for you, but it is one of the best movies of 2017 and has changed the way Disney will make live action movies in the future.

Bronwyn O’Neill