I honestly didn’t think I would like this live action version of “Beauty and The Beast” but man was I wrong. Like, I was rolling my eyes out of the gate because of Emma’s auto-tune (I’m not sure how much post processing her voice went through, but y’all…it did not sound convincing.) – but this goddamn movie still managed to charm the crap outta me.
Out of the gate, the production design on this movie is stunning. Not in a way that makes you feel like you’re in their world. Like you definitely don’t feel like you’re in some olden, quaint French village. It’s stunning in the way that “Into the Woods” was. I loved how much it felt and looked like a stage production. Only because “Beauty and The Beast” is one of those stories that would have been ridiculous to make a real, cinematic marvel.
You can tell the skies are painted. The animation is very showy, in an attempt to recreate moments from the original. Like…it’s all kind of cheesy, but it all works.
Also, the casting was CRAZY. Did you know that Stanley Tucci was in this shit? Because I did not. That blew my damn mind. Everyone was always on the “get Leo an Oscar” train, but y’all are WRONG. GET STANLEY TUCCI AN OSCAR. HE HAS PLAYED LITERALLY EVERY CHARACTER – WHICH NOW INCLUDES A CREDENZA.
Also, in terms of voices -singing wise – holy hell did they luck out nabbing Audra McDonald. She didn’t have too many solos, but come on. Living broadway legend. But the real winner of the animated inanimate objects was Ewan McGregor as Lumiere. Lumiere was a straight up P. I. M. P. in this movie. So sassy, and just completely owned it.
Don’t go into this movie expecting a straight remake of the animated movie, but do expect to see all the iconic moments from it. Emma Watson did a couple very exaggerate facial expressions, which I appreciate so much, to emulate the original animated character. However, this movie does have further character development that really makes it stand out from the animated film. We actually get to learn a little bit more about Belle’s past in this movie.
The best character development bar none though, is LeFou. Not because of the whole sexual orientation thing that has people either really excited, or up in arms about. But he really becomes his own character, and Josh Gad did a phenomenal job bringing him to life. Like holy shit good. LeFou’s development in this new version of the movie is like…someone I’d show my kids after forcing them to love the original. The new depth to his character is something that makes this move stand out from the original.
Luke Evans is somehow more obnoxious than the cartoon Gaston, which I suppose is a good thing. Dan Stevens did a pretty good job at playing the Beast…I think? It’s sort of hard to say it definitively when it’s that animated, and in such a way where I feel like a lot of his facial expressions are lost. Like yeah, it’s 2017 – but animation isn’t at the point where it looked real by any means. Okay, now onto the main attraction.
Emma Watson. I don’t know why I didn’t have any confidence in her playing the role going into this. Maybe it’s because she’s never sung professionally before this, I don’t know. With that said, the singing was definitely her weakest point. You can tell it’s still her voice through the auto-tuning and pitch correction but…you can also tell that Disney post processed her voice to hell and back. Like…dubbing should be a thing that comes back. That system worked. THAT BEING SAID THOUGH. Holy shit was she charming in this role.
It just made sense. Emma Watson is just actually Belle. I mean, if Belle were a witch…her character would literally be Hermione. If she was real, I’m sure she would go to a school as prestigious as Brown. I don’t think I’d be the only one to say that I was pleasantly surprised by her. I want to say that for some reason, her casting still feels off by a hair – but again, she’s just so goddam charming and shares such a kinship with the spirit of Belle’s character that I don’t care.
There are also some new songs in this movie that I can’t say are my favorite. However, the lyrics did hit me right in the damn feels. Also, the Beast just performs with so much dramatic flare that I was living for it.
So yeah, definitely go see this in theaters. It’s a fun, nostalgic ride with plenty of new – sure to be classic moments of its own. Well worth the price of admission.