Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Runtime: 129 min
Disney brings us a new live-action film from another very known childhood’s movie: Beauty and the Beast. Following the success of The Jungle Book, this time we have the pleasure to watch once again the story of Belle (Emma Watson), a beautiful, simple and ahead-of-her-time woman, who gets imprisoned in a castle by its Beast (Dan Stevens).
While staying true to the original story, costumes and score, we also receive some new music and a few changes in the characters and screenplay … Good changes or not really?
First of all, this is probably the Disney‘s movie that influenced me the less since I didn’t watch Beauty and the Beast 100x times when I was a kid. Instead, I spent that time with the awesome The Lion King, which is also getting a live-action remake. Basically, my opinion will not have many comparisons with the original 1991 movie simply because I can’t really remember the film that well.
So, what did I think about this one? Well, while it didn’t amaze or surprised me like The Jungle Book did, it’s still a great movie. The story is definitely darker and scarier than the original, which I did enjoy a lot. The small changes to the screenplay work just fine and actually add something that the original didn’t have (mainly because it was an animated movie mostly created just for kids), as well as all of the characters.
The casting is pitch-perfect: Emma Watson is the only actress that I can see portraying Belle the way she did. Really, really brilliant. Luke Evans (Gaston) also has a great performance and Josh Gad portrayed well a different Le Fou (if you’ve seen the news, you know what I’m talking about … Some theaters even refused to show the movie due to this character’s new personality). The friendship between Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) gives the best comedy moments of the entire film and that was hilarious to watch.
As for the score, there were a lot of questions as soon as the movie got a release date: what songs will they keep? Which ones are they going to cut? Are they going to change or add something new? Well, the original songs are great as they always were, but the new ones … It didn’t work. The movie has more than a two-hour runtime and Bill Condon wasn’t able to balance everything. The time between the dialogue and singing scenes was too short, which started to annoy me: “Really? Another song? They just sang for ten minutes, like two minutes ago …”. This affected the pacing a lot and there were a lot of moments where I was just off. Completely lost.
Also, the movie starts by telling us the Beast‘s past (literally narrating it to the audience), as the action goes without any dialogue. Bad choice, it’s a huge exposition scene that could have been told way better and when I realized that they wasted most of the time with too much singing, I am now sure that the film would be a lot more captivating than it was.
Beauty and the Beast continues the excellent work Disney is doing with the live-action remakes and I’m now sure that if The Lion King really hits the screens again … Well, who knows if an Oscar is right behind the corner. This remake is beautifully crafted and has a perfectly amazing cast, with a great dark touch to the original movie’s screenplay. However, it’s far from perfect: too much singing and the time between song and dialogue is too short, which negatively influences its pacing and interest. Also, the Beast‘s past is badly explored and an opportunity to get the audience more attached to the characters is wasted.