MOVIE REVIEW – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
When Disney announced that they were doing a live action version of one of my favorite animated films, I could not wait for this day. In my humble opinion, Beauty and the Beast was that special.
As great as the animated film was, it also turned into a game changer when it came to the Academy Awards when it was nominated for Best Picture. It eventually lost to Silence of the Lambs in 1992. Some people bulked at the idea that an animated film should be looked at in the same fashion as a live action film with “real” actors. Its nomination did however lead to a new category for the genre in 2001, Best Animated Feature. Ironically, this live action version will probably not get a Best Picture nod but it is still a treat for the eyes and the ears to behold.
This version of the classic story is pretty much a carbon copy of the animation and plays out like a lavish Broadway musical. If you’re a fan, you will not be disappointed. Director Bill Condon knows who is audience is and can ill afford to let them down. The music numbers are fun and you can’t help but want to sing along with it. Or at the very least do what I did, tap my feet. The casting is down right perfect led by the beautiful Emma Watson as Belle. Her singing is pretty good for someone who doesn’t do it on a regular basis. Here it is Belle who along with her passion for books and knowledge, also tinkers as an inventor not her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) as it was in the 1991 version. Of course she’s being wooed by the boorish Captain Gaston (Luke Evans) who believes that a woman is nothing more than a spinster once her father dies and she remains unmarried. He seriously needs to work on his flattering skills.
Rounding out the impressive cast is Dan Stevens as the Beast, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Josh Gad as LeFou. The CGI for the most part is quite good but not without some flaws. there were times throughout when the Beast didn’t look as real as one would hope. Overall though its pretty minor and easy to overlook. There was enough Disney magic to satisfy. Is it a better version? For myself, I would still choose the 1991 animation. In the end, it’s really a matter of apples and oranges and what tickles your imagination on a given day.
By all means, pull up a chair and be our guest. You’ll be happy you did.
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Ian McKellen.
PG 129 Mins
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight