Beauty and the Beast

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Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor
Directed by Bill Condon
Rating: A

Disney takes audiences back to “a tale as old as time” in this live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, and it proves that it is timeless as well.

Belle is a blossoming young woman in a provincial town in France. She stands out for her passion of reading and is a headstrong, intelligent character. She takes care of the house when her father goes to the market, as her mother died when she was a baby and there is no one else to look after it. One day her father’s horse comes home alone and Belle discovers that he had become a prisoner in a castle hidden away in the woods. The master of the castle, a large two-legged ‘Beast,’ tells Belle her father will be imprisoned forever, but Belle manages to take his place instead.

Although Beast seems cruel and cold at their first meeting, it’s only through time that Belle gets through to a softer and more sincere part of him. They grow accustomed to each other’s presence and Beast impresses Belle with his knowledge of books. He introduces her to a larger world when he takes her to the library, and it is here that their bond begins to grow.

What’s more is that Beast’s castle is alive, as enchanted objects sing and dance and take Belle out of the locked room upon arrival, and into a cozier bedroom, which has a less imprisoned feel to it.She learns that the objects used to be people, and were cursed alongside Beast to live in a new form. An enchanted rose marks the time they have left until the effects of the curse cannot be undone. An enchantress cursed the Beast and his servants when he turned her away when she asked for shelter from a storm. Only true love can save him now. As Belle’s friendship with Beast gets brighter, it gives them all hope that she could break the spell.

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This live-action film of Beauty and the Beast does an enchanting job of taking audiences out of the here-and-now and into a classic tale. Although it is based on the animated 1991 Disney movie, it is quite amazing how this re-telling stayed close to the movie most audiences grew up with but yet made it its own.

Just the setting alone is incredible on screen. It feels like you’re really a part of the movie, moving along Belle’s provincial town and into the gloomy, old castle. The music that breaks into song and dance lift you up and make you want to sing along. “Be Our Guest” has to be the most magnificent song in any movie I’ve seen, and was reminiscent to the “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” rendition in Moulin Rouge!

The movie probably wouldn’t have been half as good if there had been a different cast. Emma Watson played a perfect “Belle,” and seemed to fit her just as her role as “Hermione Granger” in the Harry Potter series did since she is a bookworm in real life as well. Dan Stevens was an excellent “Beast” and really captured audiences pity (at least, it did for me!). Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson and the rest of the enchanted objects were fun to watch and all got to showcase their wonderful singing voices. Last, but not least, you can’t forget Luke Evans as “Gaston,” the handsome, yet vain, French captain who tries to woo Belle into being his wife. He was fun to watch as this ridiculous character.

Overall, when watching Beauty and the Beast you won’t want it to end. It’s such a heartwarming movie and has an important message about judging people for their looks rather than what their personality is like. It’ll probably be the version most kids grow up knowing and that’s okay.

Photo credit: http://leonardmaltin.com/beauty-and-the-beast-pleasant-but-pointless/

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