Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Disney’s Magical Live-Action, ‘Tale as Old as Time’ Romance
While some may say nothing can ever surpass their childhood films, one of which includes the 90s animated film, Beauty and the Beast, I respectfully disagree. At least when it comes to something else matching its greatness. The response I’ve had to Disney remaking the classic films of our childhood has been favorable beyond my wildest dreams.
Once upon a time, there was an enchanting castle. Its occupant is a vain prince, who surrounds himself with beautiful things and people. Everything changes when a powerful enchantress places a curse on the prince and those in his household. Now in response to his rejection of outward appearances, the curse reflects the prince’s true nature; the ugliness of his heart is reflected in his outward person.
The only way to break the curse is for the beast (Dan Stevens) to find someone who will love him unconditionally before the final petal on the enchanted rose falls. When a headstrong villager named Belle (Emma Watson) comes to be the beast’s prisoner, the castle begins to feel a sense of hope. But will it be enough to break the curse?
After the live-action imagining of Cinderella, the anticipation for what Disney would next enchant us with was palpable. When rumors swirled that the next would be Beauty and the Beast, naturally, I was excited anew for the feelings of nostalgia this was sure to evoke. Of course following confirmation, social media became the place to be for cast updates plus its release date.
Needless to say when March 2017 was announced, it seemed such a long way off. Controversy also attached itself to this film. Either way, here we are. March 17th has come and gone. Beauty and the Beast has become a record-breaking hit, but the question remains, is it worth the hype?
The long and short answer is, yes! This film is magic from opening frame to the final swish of Belle’s ball gown. There’s something about this story that transfixes its audience. Whether it be its plucky, headstrong heroine or its timeless tale of unconditional love, or more simplistically, its titular song sequence, it’s a stunning example of poetry in motion picture elegance. All that to say nothing of the old-fashion fable this storytelling promotes. It’s the kind missing from the box office, but I’d be so bold as to say, it’s the kind the masses most want.
Before my adoration slips away from my control, let's chat about those controversial issues. (Only be aware, this paragraph will contain some spoilers.) These include the “exclusively gay” comment, and some of the technical complaints. The former is, as one might expect, overblown to be something entirely unimportant in the film's scope. (Blink and you may miss Lefou dancing with another dude!) That said, it will bother some people, and that’s okay. The secondary issue some viewers take issue with is the CGI. This is something that doesn't bother me. I found the beast to be, appropriately, beastly, which is precisely what his character needs. Prior to seeing this, I didn't read reviews (and I still haven’t), but I did see snippets around the interwebs which is where the information about these issues crop up.
Think of the one thing that you've always wanted. Now find it in your mind's eye and feel it in your heart.” - Beauty and the Beast
Moving on from the bothersome issues, I have more to say on the pro side. One being the cast. Dan Stevens is an actor dedicated to his craft as is further proven by his portrayal of Beast. He is wonderful as Matthew Crawley; he continues to inspire as a leading man as the tortured soul of this iconic character. In this script, he’s allowed to give the Beast character and feelings, all of which is marvelous. He and Emma share an easy-going almost flirtatious banter (“Are you making jokes now?”) that’s difficult not to smile over.
Their friendship is developed in a way that makes the pacing seem longer than it is so that the love story payoff reads as genuine. The “who’s who” of British talent turns in amazing performances from Ian McKellen (X-Men), Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Hattie Morahan (Sense and Sensibility) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle).
Beyond all this gushing, the staging, costumes, sets and songs are a stunning replica of the original, only better because of their life form. From elaborate (“Be Our Guest”) to (wisely) simplistic magnificence (“Beauty and the Beast”), the songs are unforgettable. The latter in particular is a romantic, swoon-worthy scene that is worth experiencing on the big screen even if nothing else touches its viewer. The script keeps things mostly the same but in an effort to keep current with the times, Belle is obviously fashioned after a contemporary feminist. From her actions down to how she’s styled, the nods are there.
If you love fairy tales or the remake of Cinderella, this is sure to enchant you as a new Disney classic to love. It’s magic. It’s romance. It’s true. The message of beauty, its perception and the love that result is astounding in its truth and simplicity. Beauty and the Beast is everything a fangirl could wish for, and in my humble opinion, so much more. ♥
Booktube Talk | The Beauty and the Beast Book Tag
Booktube Talk | The Beauty and the Beast Book Tag
CONTENT: Rated PG for frightening images (wolves threaten people, they inflict harm on one person) and some "peril" (a man is purposely left in the woods in the hopes the wolves will finish his off). One man seems to embrace his femininity when he's dressed in ladies clothes.