When I was little, my favourite movie was Beauty and the Beast. I was an odd duck, a bookworm in a small village that prized athleticism and I was always apart from the crowd watching from the outside. To little me, I adored Belle because I could relate to her. I too wanted nothing more than to read, see the world, and get out of my village. To this day, it is still my favourite, even if I do acknowledge some of the more problematic aspects of the film, like the rather Stockholm Syndrome like qualities.
When I heard Disney were casting Emma Watson as Belle, I was ecstatic. Dan Stevens as the Beast? Sign me up. I thought they were going to do it like Cinderella, keep the story, axe the musical aspect. THEN I heard it was going to be a full on musical remake and I began to get so worried. Could Emma Thompson really replace Angela Lansbury in “tale as old as time”? With each little trickle of information, I got more and more worried, but also excited. I was terrified they were going to ruin my favourite children’s movie for me,
Nevertheless, on Friday night, I met my youngest sister off a train and we dashed across town in the rain, arriving just as the lights went dark in the screening room. I was actually quivering in excitement and my sister was laughing at me.
I laughed, I cried, I felt my heart clench, I cried some more, and I clapped as the film ended. It was amazing. Absolutely fantastic and I adored it. There was hardly any new content, but it’s done so well! Yes, Emma Watson isn’t the strongest singer, but she’s good enough to hold her own. Yes, LeFou is gay, get over it, it’s not news.
The costuming is more period appropriate, with the Prince in a make-up mask when he gets transformed into a Beast. The characters are given back-stories, motivations, and why the household staff were transformed into household items alongside the Beast’s punishment.
The friendship between Cogsworth (stoic, stiff and usually rule-abiding) and Lumiere (Over-the-top and just downright hilarious) was brilliantly played by the marvellous Ian McKellan and Ewan McGregor. Be Our Guest was a cinematic masterpiece and so much character was infused in one song! Well done Ewan, it was fantastic! I was a little sad we didn’t get more of Cogsworth’s dry humour, most of his dialogue was scolding Lumiere. Their friendship was a gold as the items they were made of, and I loved it.
Mrs Potts and Chip were slightly creepy looking – while the other household staff suited the more realistic interpretation of their items, Mrs Potts looked a little odd. However, they were wonderful, and that Chip uses his saucer to roll around in excitement instead of hopping was hilarious (until the end, but shhh, SPOILERS). Mrs Potts giving advice like the household maternal figure she is was entirely believable. She just wants what is best for everyone and I love her. Also, Emma Thompson, so what isn’t to love in the first place??
Lumiere and Plumette is an adorable OTP, and whereas in the cartoon Lumiere always felt a bit rakish for chasing a giggling Plumette, in this, they have a relationship and it is adorable.
The two new characters in the operatic singer wardrobe who struggles to stay awake and her harpsichord husband stuck in the ballroom, were wonderful additions to the family, and it is really sad listening to them miss the other because they are both huge pieces of furniture trapped on different floors.
Two new songs, and both of them are stuck in my head. Dan Stevens performing Evermore… just, YouTube it. So much emotion in one song!
Ok, now to the best bit. Belle and the Beast. They hate each other… and then (Spoilers) they argue about books and show that they are both highly intelligent and passionate people, who are far more similar than first appears. They become friends. There is this adorable moment when the Beast “sees” his frost covered gardens for the first time while Belle is reading aloud a poem. And they are looking at each other. Then they both take a sharp breath and turn back to the lack. Crush forming. Unlike the cartoon, the development of their relationship doesn’t feel rushed or because she has no choice. It feels more natural. They become friends. Equals. Dan Stevens is amazing, so is Emma Watson.
Gaston! Oh wow. They did well on Gaston! He starts off arrogant and when the movie gets dark, it gets dark. They reworked the mob song (Kill the beast) and wow. You know what? I’m going to leave that. Go and watch it.
LeFou, the cartoon comic relief overstereotyped gay follower. In this movie, LeFou is one of my favourites, with an on-point portrayal by Josh Gad. Despite all the twitter and tumblr explosions about LeFou’s sexuality, it was handled quite well, in my opinion. It is just a man in love with his straight best friend – I’ve been there. And the storyline isn’t about his “awakening” sexuality. I think he is very aware of his feelings, but he doesn’t care if Gaston doesn’t feel the same. It’s all very subtle. I think it was more him realising that Gaston doesn’t belong on the pedestal LeFou put him on. He’s a wonderful character. The song Gaston was even better in this.
Everything was bigger, everything was shinier. They spared no expense. And the characters were amazing. The introduction of new material added to the story and made aspects make more sense.
I’ve seen it twice already and I am so grateful I have a cineworld card so I can keep going. I loved it. I absolutely, genuinely loved it. I hope you do as well!