by Diana Vaccarelli
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Friday March 17, 2017, Disney Studios released the live action version of their iconic animated film Beauty and the Beast. Growing up, I loved the animated film and watched it countless times, so I was truly excited to see how Disney would reinterpret the classic fairy tale of a prince who is imprisoned in the form of a beast and can only be freed by true love.
And guess what? I was not disappointed.
The actors inhabit their roles perfectly. Emma Watson was born to play the beautiful Belle and brings truth and power to the role. Dan Stevens as the Beast gives us the heart we need to empathize with him and his situation. Watson and Stevens have great chemistry, making us root for Belle and the Beast to get to know each other better so their love can develop and grow strong.
Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson as Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts bring their motion capture characters to life. The CGI feels absolutely real, and I admit that I teared up toward the end as we were presented with a terrible fate for these characters.
Luke Evans as our villain, Gaston, brings the all the narcissism of this classic character to life with humor to spare. One scene in particular sums it up as we watch Gaston profess his love for Belle…while admiring himself in a mirror.
The makeup on the Beast was fantastic. Every bit as striking as in the animated film.
The music by Alan Menken, who also did the original’s score, returns with great additions. Yes, those additions are often corny but are fun nevertheless, and overall the music does a fine job of helping the story move forward while bringing out the emotion in each scene.
The writing by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos not only lives up to the original, it add info that the animated version missed. Many critics have complained that it is mostly “unnecessary” backstory, but I loved seeing the party and the Enchantress changing the prince into the Beast. And as somebody who always wondered why Belle and her father were living in that little backwater village, I especially loved this version’s answer as well as discovering so much more about Belle’s mother.
There is no bad for me. This film is truly magical.
If you loved the original Beauty and the Beast, you will definitely love this version too. And even if you’re not the biggest fan of the original, the additions may well change your mind.
I highly recommend this film and look forward to future live action versions of classic Disney animated films.