Review: Live action remake enhances classic tale
March 27, 2017
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Disney’s live action “Beauty and the Beast” brings animated magic to life through an in-depth transformation of the story that is indeed a “tale as old as time.”
This acclaimed, Oscar-winning story was carefully crafted into something even more amazing. The film includes details from the animated movie while adding more extended backstory elements, further developing the character arcs of Pappa, Belle’s mother, and the Beast. These embellishments flowed beautifully with the previous Disney film and just enhanced the complexity of the story.
The movie starts with the backstory of the prince and his cruel-heartedness that turns him into the Beast. This scene does not capture the French background entirely but does establish the European Renaissance period exceptionally well through the music, castle details, and costumes. Although the transitions between scenes were not seamless, they were sufficient enough to keep the plot progressing.
Emma Watson portrays Belle very similarly to the original tale but adds more character depth in the young feminist we all have come to love and know. However, the auto-tuning over Emma Watson’s voice was disappointing, because it was apparent in the musical numbers that it was not her natural voice.
It was intriguing to see additional songs “Evermore,” “Days in the Sun,” and “How Does a Moment Last Forever” added to the score that helped the story progress. However I could not help but be disappointed that the song in the original film “Human Again” was not included.
Special effects across the board were done with careful execution and resulted in a beautiful end product which really made the antique, personified castle objects showcase the personalities of the people trapped inside. Mrs. Potts, played by Emma Thompson, made a wonderful leader of this ensemble, and filled the audience with an appreciation for motherly love.
Gaston, portrayed by Luke Evans, did an excellent job in his vocal number “Gaston” and in attempting to win over Belle, but the character was ultimately outshined by LeFou, played by Josh Gad. LeFou added hysterical moments that really enhanced his goofy character from the animated movie. There were several moments where a specific acting choice he made had the audience laughing out loud.
Compared to the 2015 live action “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast” takes the spotlight. Although I enjoyed the live action “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast” was better overall due to the casting, special effects, attention to detail, screenwriting and costumes. In “Cinderella,” Lily James did not make specific enough acting choices that enhanced the character of “Cinderella” but rather kept her a 2D character, while Emma Watson added a stronger-willed stubbornness to Belle. “Beauty and the Beast” also had many more special effects in scenes that translated very well on screen that made the unanimated objects real, and contributed to the plot. However, in “Cinderella,” the special effects were used during the transformation scene, but did not carry the same impact throughout.
Overall, “Beauty and the Beast” was greatly enhanced by the actors who brought these once- animated characters to become real, believable people. The stylistic choices that were made by the special effects, costumes, lighting, and music teams came together to create a beautiful, enjoyable product.