Maybe it is a tale as old as time. But even a great story being re-told is still a great story. Beauty and the Beast really is GREAT.
Once upon a time (a long time ago) in France a self-obsessed prince (Dan Stevens) has a curse put on him and those within his castle when he turns away an old lady who turns out to be an enchantress. This curse makes him a beast and his staff embody the objects in the castle.
Meanwhile, Belle (Emma Watson) a lovely, bright, independent girl who lives in a nearby town with her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline). Maurice stumbles upon the castle and the Beast imprisons him. Belle comes to rescue her father and trade places with him as the imprisoned. Despite the Beast’s awful behavior upon her first arrival – Belle learns to see (with the assistance of the castle staff) that there is more to meets the eye of this beast. Maurice enlists the help of town war hero Gaston (Luke Evans) to rescue Belle. Gaston wants to marry Belle (she doesn’t have the same feelings). Gaston’s side-kick LeFou (Josh Gad) provides both comedy and villain.
The casting is spectacular. Emma Watson is the perfect Belle. Who wouldn’t see something more in the dreamy blue eyes of the Beast (Dan Stevens – known to many as Matthew Crowley from Downton Abbey)? The funny Josh Gad as LeFou is far more comedic than the same character in the animated version. And a certain eye-popping musculature of Luke Evans as Gaston would certainly make many swoon. The live version also defines a bit more of the back-story for the characters. The live version also serves up all the same songs that we know (and can sing along to) from the animated version – but so are a few new ones.
The latest incarnation as a new genre, Disney turning their animated classics into visually stunning live action, is not to be out-done in the classic Beauty and the Beast. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The spectacular visuals of this movie need to be seen at the theater. (Don’t wait for it to come out on video).
Beauty and the Beast is Rated G and opens in theaters everywhere on March 17, 2017.
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