Disney’s Beauty & the Beast tells the story of Belle a young woman who lives in a village with her father, the inventor. She is considered to be an oddball as is the only bookworm in the village and because she shows no interest in the brutish but town favourite Gaston. Belle’s simple life takes a turn as she goes to an enchanted castle and exchanges her freedom to save her father, leaving her eternally imprisoned by the Beast. Will Belle see past the beastly exterior of the Beast and will be open up to her to break the spell?
In this live-action remake, Belle (Emma Watson) exchanges her freedom for the love of her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline) despite his objections to her sacrifice. In the meantime, Gaston (Luke Evans) does everything in his power to win over the father in order for him to get permission to marry Belle unbelieving of her imprisonment in the castle by the horrid Beast (Dan Stevens).
Soon Belle comes to learn that everything is not what it seems and all within the castle are enchanted by a spell. With the voice talents of Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts for the aminated objects. The animated objects lacked the emotional expressiveness of their 2D counterparts but fit into the scenery.
The film captured the essence of the original but provided further details like parts of Belle’s life before meeting the Beast, with particular emphasis on her mother. As the beast warms up to Belle, he shows her an enchanted book which can take her anywhere she wishes to go, it is through this book she is able to journey to the place she lived as a child where she discovers the fate of her late mother. Another new aspect that is introduced is Gaston’s sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) turning out to be gay. The film has clearly tried to update the story by adding these alternative scenarios. However, it’s hardly a win for the LBGT society as the first openly gay character in a Disney film is a villain’s dim-witted sidekick.
Overall, I thought the changes were very good but the animations were a bit uncanny-valley. The remake also did a good job at attracting a star-studded cast who all seemed eager to be involved in the movie. I think Emma Watson was the perfect choice for Belle as she is a famous actress but also quite beautiful and talented, although her singing talents left something to be desired.