Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast is a fun and whimsical film that you can, if you allow yourself to, get completely lost in.
Fans of the original animated classic will be happy upon realizing that not much has been changed about the tale. The majority of the storyline is almost taken verbatim from the original animated film and, in all honesty, the scenes that shine the most are the ones that are shot by shot accurate to the scenes from the original. From the titular “Beauty and the Beast” ballroom sequence to the infamous wooing “Be Our Guest” number, those were the scenes that stood out the most.
However, the scenes that were added in to provide further backstory to certain characters felt forced. When the plot detoured to accommodate these new added scenes, the flow of the film felt off. And, in some ways, certain characters’ added backstories felt cheap. For example, the whole reason why the Beast is a mean and horrible person is due to a mishandled upbringing from his father. Similar scenes like these seem unnecessary and dragged down the quality of the story.
Emma Watson, when compared to the rest of the cast, is the weakest link. The majority of the cast has strong vocal talent. Comparing them to Emma Watson’s vocal chops drastically showcases how starkly miscast she is in the role of Belle. Her acting performance as well featured very little variety and, although the character had been advertised as a more realized less one-note character in recent interviews, Watson’s Belle felt very distant and wooden.
The true joy of the film was the dynamic duo we’ve all come to know and love – Gaston and Lefou. Luke Evans and Josh Gad worked amazingly off one another and you can tell both genuinely love every bit of action they get onscreen. Luke Evans, in particular, was a real treat because it is so seldom that we get to see him in anything other than action films. I do hope that he pursues more comedy after this because he does have a knack for it.
All in all, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast is a good film to get lost in, especially if you are riding the waves of nostalgia. It won’t be like the animated classic. However, it is a film that will allow you to escape and have fun, despite a few clunky plot bits here and there.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is out now in theaters.