Movie poster for Beauty and the Beast courtesy of DarkHorizons.com.
by Hope Moural
The tale as old as time has gotten an upgrade, courtesy of Emma Watson and that dude from Downton Abbey.
In the live-action remake of the 1991 animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, Watson plays the precious role of Belle, who is held captive by a miserable and ugly beast in a heavily CGI’d gothic-looking castle.
A well-known bibliophile herself, Watson pulls off the bookish heroine perfectly with innocent smiles and knowledgeable quips throughout the entirety of the film. She also debuts her vocal skills in the movie. Watson wasn’t trying to be flashy or looking for praise when singing classic songs such as “Something There That Wasn’t There Before” and “Belle,” offering perfectly displayed facial expressions with each lyric, which made the music performed all the more enjoyable.
Dan Stevens plays her counterpart in the film, being as beastly as he could be. Although Stevens is best known for his role as Matthew Crawley in the British period drama Downton Abbey, his turn as the Beast is presented with a dynamic that works. (Side note: What is his actual human prince name? Does anyone know? I need answers.) He portrays the Beast’s range of anger just as swiftly as he does his gentleness towards Belle as they fall in love over the course of the film.
The cast is rounded out with Luke Evans as the narcissistic Gaston, Josh Gad as the comic relief known as Le Fou, and many others including Ewan McGergor as Lumiere (Obi-Wan Kenobi-but with a French accent!) and the adorable Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. Oh, and we can’t forget Gandalf, I mean, Ian McKellen as the dutiful and loyal Cogsworth.
Beauty and the Beast stays true to the original storyline including all of the classic songs we memorized growing up. But, seeing as it is a remake, there are a few differences present. Two additional musical numbers help the audience to gain perspective of both Belle and the Beast. There are also a few alterations to the plot that keep the story fresh.
Although a bit awkward at times for comedy’s sake, the movie comes off as dreamily and magically as you might expect with such a big budget film. It shows its strength as a retelling through the brightness of colorful costumes, energetic dance numbers and fancypants production sets that might just leave you breathless. Beauty and the Beast may be a story you know by heart, but it won’t be until you find yourself humming the tunes later on that you realize how enjoyable the song as old as rhyme can be once again.