Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Beauty and the Beast Review

Just over two years ago Disney announced that one of their most beloved classics would be getting remade into a live action, one of which has become one of the most highly anticipated films of my generation. Whilst most 90's kids were jumping for joy, I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise's original Beauty and the Beast (1991) will always hold a special place in my heart, so much so I'm relatively sure I could rein act the entire film! Surely nothing could be as heart breaking as their version of the Beast sending Belle away or as magical as Lumière preparing Belle's dinner, right? That's why alongside its announcement, 6-year-old me wearing her yellow princess dress' heart sunk just that little bit. I was upset over the idea that younger generations would remember the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast instead of mine, missing out on the magic I experienced as a child. With this in mind, after going to see the film I can safely say Bill Condon's adaptation massively exceeded my expectations.

To everyone's surprise, within the first half hour of the film I had completely fallen head over heels in love! In fact (which comes as no surprise at all to those who know me) I'm pretty sure I started crying in the first opening number of Belle bringing me to pointer number one; the music.

Although many fans have criticised the new adaptations music as simply being underwhelming knockoffs to the original film and the Broadway musical, I have to admit I was surprised. Days In The Sun, How Does a Moment Last Forever and Evermore are perfect examples of this. In my opinion they did the film justice, provoking just the right amount of an emotional response from the audience. I burst into tears during the pivotal moment of Evermore and have since often found myself singing it around the house, quite badly I might add.

Other criticism regarding the music within the film included casting. I would describe Emma Watson's singing as talk singing, something in which I admittedly enjoyed. The production team of Beauty and the Beast have somewhat adapted some of the musical numbers to better fit the actors/actresses singing abilities, ultimately making many of the characters (especially Belle) more relatable. They are much easier to sing along to in comparison to other Disney songs no matter how hard we try. I mean can anyone really hit the endnote of Moana?

I also have to mention the new adaptations to the original songs - I effing loved Gaston!! The song captured every inch of the 1991's humour whilst adding it's own modernised twists and dance numbers. After seeing the film we took a trip to Bierkeller and I can honestly say I've never wanted to request a song as much as then! Similarly, Be Our Guest was more humorous as ever. Being completely truthful, the new version of this song alone didn't blow me away but then again I am no longer 6. If there is one thing I suggest however it is to go and see the 2017 version (if you haven't already) in the cinema. The combination of Be Our Guest and the incredible CGI gave me goosebumps.

Moving on from the musical aspect, the casting of the characters and their modernised adjustments within this new adaptation was an important feature that in an honest manner didn't need any of my concern. In my opinion they couldn't have found two better actors to play the villain and sidekick of Beauty and the Beast. The comical duo Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) made me cry laugh numerous times during the film, especially in the song Gaston. I also really enjoyed Ian McKellen's portrayal of Cogsworth as he embodies his own sense of humour and charm to the character that we all know and love.

In comparison, casting an actress to play the lead protagonist was something Disney couldn't afford to f*ck up. Not only Disney but film lovers such as myself were curiously waiting to see whether Emma Watson would adjust to the role, either making it her own, a copy of the original or completely unrealistic. My main concern was that despite Emma's talent she was simply too well known of an actress. I honestly believe one of the many contributing factors to the success of the live action remake of The Jungle Book (2016) was its use of an unknown actor to play the lead of Mowgli (Neel Sethi). The story felt more relatable as we weren't constantly comparing the young actor to his previous films or associating him with other roles. Therefore, giving Belle to an actress who has starred in numerous films seemed like more of a moneymaker. However, despite my pre-made assumptions I don't think they could have found an actress more perfect for this Disney princess, or at least good enough for a live action version. Perhaps it's the similar traits that Belle and Hermione share such as their love for books or kind nature that has allowed Emma to fall naturally into the character in such a humble manner. The only slight let down I found with the character was the misleading press interviews discussing how modernised and fiery she was. While this was true to a certain extent, Belle wasn't as impulsive as she was described to be and her new independency wasn't as touched upon as it perhaps could have been.

Finally, I have to mention both the costumes and set designs. The entire film from start to finish was visually breathtaking. Everything from Belle's childhood home in Paris to her wedding day was perfectly detailed, completely enhancing the films magic. I have had to re-watch the film numerous times in the cinema on the basis that I couldn't fully appreciate the ballroom scene because I was crying that much. The amount of detail put into the film is honestly stunning, perhaps even the best I have seen.

I am aware I'm a little (ok... try three months) late on the bandwagon of publishing this post however I have been preoccupied with University. Nonetheless, I didn't want this to be the reason not to click publish as I really enjoy writing film reviews (especially if it's a Disney film). Better late than never right? Anyway... This tale as old as time had me in tears numerous times, from joy, humour, other raw emotion and pure astonishment. The film itself didn't stay completely faithful but I think that's what makes it special. The narrative, characters and everything that follows were modernised just enough to keep over thinkers like myself surprised whilst maintaining the magic of the original. But that's just my opinion...

What did you think about the latest Disney remake? Is there anything you despised, adored, cried over? Let me know!

I hope you enjoyed this week's blog post and I'll see you again soon!


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