Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

As is evidenced by quite a few blogs here, I’m a huge Disney dork. I love the movies, the parks, and even the hotels. A big part of my personality stems from my exposure to Disney and its products. I think part of that is that I grew up around the time of the Disney Renaissance, so the movies really hit home with me. When I heard they were remaking one of their biggest hits into a live-action movie, I was skeptical but excited. As the previews kept coming, my hype kept building. I was able to see it today. So, was this movie a beauty or a beast? Let’s find out. This is Beauty and the Beast.

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The tale is as old as… Me. (Seriously, both of us “born” in 1991.) Belle is the odd girl in town, seeing as she’s actually educated and wants a good life. Her father is one day captured by a horrible beast and Belle decides to take her father’s place as his prisoner. But there’s more to this Beast than meets the eye. His entire castle and all of its inhabitants are enchanted. Can Belle help break the curse before it’s too late? (I saw the movie in 3D, but I really dislike 3D as a concept, so I’ll be ignoring that for the duration.)

This movie is amazing. Simply spectacular. If you’ve seen all the trailers, I can tell you that the movie is exactly as visually wonderful as the trailers make it out to me. Everything is a feast for the eyes, with a brilliant use of the CGI technology. But aside from that, the story here is, without question, exactly what Disney needed to do with a remake of this story. Sure, we get a lot of the same story elements and plot points. But there are just enough new scenes and dialogue pieces added here and there to give this movie a lot more depth. For example, we learn about what happened to Belle’s mother and we learn a little bit about Beast’s childhood. It really helped the story feel new and exciting. There was a major addition to the ending of the movie that kind of bothered me (where we see some consequences for the “furniture” characters) that I thought actually dragged the movie on a bit too much. However, that didn’t take away from the greatness of the movie.

The casting here is impeccable. Kevin Klein is wonderful as Maurice and Luke Evans is exactly spot on as Gaston. The Beast and the rest were also extremely well done. However, there’s two big characters/actors I really want to get into. First, Josh Gad as LeFou stole the entire show. He was funny, sure. But they remade LeFou to more than just the hapless sidekick. He’s the brains of the operation. He tries to keep Gaston calm and also tries to talk sense into him. He’s more of anti-hero now which might be against the spirit of the original, but it’s still really well done. LeFou is a well rounded character with some interesting bits of dialogue. Second is Emma Watson as Belle. She’s FINE. And I don’t mean pretty, though she is that as well. What I mean is that she’s perfectly acceptable as Belle. She’s not the BEST singer in the show, but she does a perfectly fine job. She’s at the very least not distractingly bad at singing. I also thought she was credible as the character of Belle. She was good. That’s all there is to it.

The soundtrack here is, of course, amazing. These are all the classics you grew up listening to, with an odd change here or there. But there’s also a few additions to the soundtrack. My favorite added song here is one called Evermore, sung by the Beast. It’s beautiful. The voice is amazing, sure, but I’m just in love with the sentimentality of it. If you only listen to the soundtrack, give this song a listen. It’ll bring a tear to your eye.

This movie is amazing. I’ll keep singing its praises. Is it PERFECT? No. There’s one or two scenes that don’t gel with me. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic movie in both entertainment value and in how it’s put together. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. I liked it so much, I think I’ll be seeing it again in theaters before too long.

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