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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Review: Beauty and the Beast

Just when I was considering whether or not to cancel my Netflix subscription, I noticed Beauty and the Beast was available for streaming. This is the live action version starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Since this is one of my favorite animated Disney movies, I decided to see what they'd done with real people.

I don't think I need to worry about spoilers here, right? Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast? Recap in a nutshell: Belle takes her father's place as a prisoner in the castle and falls in love with the beast who is really a cursed prince.

As I was watching this version of the tale, I realized that it had been a very long time since I'd seen the animated version of the movie. Because of this, some of my comparisons/recollections might not be right, but I've decided to go with what I remember and hope it's accurate. This is extra complicated because when the Broadway show came to Minneapolis years ago, my mom and I attended the show. I recall that as being very close to the movie, but it might not be and it might color my recollections, too.

I thought Emma Watson fit the part of Belle well and I enjoyed her performance. Dan Stevens was good as the Beast, but not quite how I pictured the prince. This wasn't a huge issue since he spends very little time as a human.

Then there was Gaston (played by Luke Evans). I don't remember his character being that evil in the animated version. Yes, he was an arrogant buffoon who thought Belle should be glad to have him, but in this film he was frightening with his narcissism and the-end-justifies-the-means actions. Again, my memory might be wrong, but I really don't recall him being a real danger to the h/h.

Speaking of darker, I think there was less music in this version than the original Disney movie. Yes, the big, big songs were there: Be Our Guest, Belle, and Beauty and the Beast, but wow, it sure seemed as if a lot of the other music was different or missing all together.

My last complaint is that the relationship between Belle and the Beast seemed quick and lacking in any real depth. I'm trying to remember if the animated movie was the same way. Maybe it was. There are things I'm willing to forgive in an animated movie aimed at children that I'm less willing to overlook in a movie with live actors.

Despite all this nitpicking, I did enjoy this movie a lot--enough to watch it again if time allowed. It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I thought the performances were good. And hey, it's Beauty and the Beast!