While live-action versions of classic animated films are nothing new for Disney, Beauty and the Beast has by far been the best one to date. Director Bill Condon managed to maintain balance between the familiar and the new. All of your childhood favorites are still there in all their glory including Gaston, the charming Lumiere, and crowd favorites such as “Be Our Guest” and the opening sequence “Belle.” Seeing this movie come to life, I experienced so much nostalgia, and even as I write this, while listening to the soundtrack, I can feel my heart flutter with joy as familiar songs play.
However, Condon still found a way to make a classic tale feel fresh. New songs, like “Evermore” (a personal favorite of mine), were added to give depth to other characters like the Beast, who now has a song to himself. Of course, it is hard to outdo the classic version we all have come to know and love, but the live-action film has allowed changes to be made that make the movie more up-to-date. For one thing, the cast is more diverse than it is in the animated film. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, a black actress, plays Plumette (the feather duster), while the original contains an all-white cast.
Speaking of the cast, Emma Watson’s Belle is lovable and fits the part perfectly. While her singing may not be Broadway-ready just yet, she has such a captivating personality and hopefulness as Belle as she tries to escape the social structures of her provincial town in France. Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, bring tireless dedication to perfect their roles and also have exquisite voices. When Evans sings “Gaston,” his voice is silky smooth and hovers in the air as he sustains his notes.
It’s no wonder why the movie has been dominating box offices since its opening a few weeks ago. Whether you just want to relive a darling classic with added twists or it excites you to see some of your favorite actors in new roles (especially if those involve singing), then this movie is for you.
( Copyright 2017 Savannah Doelfel )