Watson & Stevens

MOVIE REVIEW: Will “Beauty and the Beast” Ruin Your Love for the Original?

I was essentially an adult when the first Beauty and the Beast came out, so I’m not sure why I have such a connection to it. I didn’t grow up watching it and my daughters, who despise most Disney princess movies, always said “NO” when I suggested it. That didn’t stop me from bawling the first time I saw the trailer for the new Beauty and the Beast. It wasn’t the casting of Emma Watson that did it, or the image of a live-action Lumiere. No, it was the sound of that original opening song that did me in.

This is why I was more than a little concerned about a NEW Beauty and the Beast. How could anyone remake this classic, much less improve it? If I were honest, I’d say that I fully expected it to suck.

You’ll notice from the opening song though, that THIS Beauty and the Beast has no intention of sucking.

Director Bill Condon stays true to the original, but adds MORE of everything. Beauty and the Beast 2017 is more ornate, more emotional, more in depth and the live-action makes it feel even more real. Emma Watson (Belle), Luke Evans (Gaston), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth) all gracefully carry the weight of their already famous characters, while Josh Gad (Le Fou), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere) and Kevin Kline (Maurice) give them even more life. My only complaint is with Dan Stevens, who occasionally seems almost too precious as the Beast. The story is essentially the same, with a few twists and surprises, but knowing the out-come won’t keep you from getting pulled in. I even found myself thinking how wonderful it would be to see Beauty and the Beast 2017 if you hadn’t seen the original. I can’t imagine the power of this live-action story if you didn’t already know how it ended.

I can’t honestly say that my opinion of Beauty and the Beast 2017 isn’t influenced by my pure love of the original. It’s quite possible that I smiled, cried and sat in open-mouth-wonder through it because it’s such a lovely tribute to it’s predecessor. Either way, I adored Beauty and the Beast 2017 and can’t wait to take (force) my daughters to see it again and again and again. –A

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