Vol 11, Issue 7
This week Sarah reviews Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans, and directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls). We don’t need a plot summary because everyone knows the plot of Beauty and the Beast. Pls.
Given I have brown hair and eyes and have always loved books (until I started a law degree, lol jks but only a little bit), you can absolutely bet I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast as a child, and of course get Belle for every ‘Which Disney character are you?’ Buzzfeed quiz I’ve ever taken. So it comes as no surprise that when I found out BATB was getting a live action remake, starring Emma Watson no less, who played Hermione Granger, the other character I grew up truly believing was the literary incarnation of myself, I got pretty flipping excited. I was also apprehensive though – the original was amazing, and you can’t improve on perfection. But, to my delight, this was a fabulously enjoyable film.
Can Emma Watson sing? The answer to that question is, ‘Sorrrt of, but gosh darn it if that auto tune isn’t putting in overtime trying to make it sound like she can’ (I actually think they could have dialled down the auto tune a little, she’s actually not horrific). Apart from that though, she does make a perfect Belle. She injects a greater degree of independence and assertiveness to the role, whilst also embodying Belle’s innocence and kindness. Apparently she turned down La La Land for this movie. That was a good choice. Yes, I know Emma Stone won an Oscar for La La Land, but that’s like the time Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar for 7 minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love – good for you, but eh. No, I did not like La La Land.
The cast was wonderful across the board. I have to give particular credit to the casting team for doing an amazing job choosing the actors to play the household staff. Ewan McGregor made a fantastic Lumiere, and Ian McKellan is a natural choice for Cogsworth. Also, given Angela Lansbury was so iconic as Mrs Potts in the original, I really don’t think anyone other than British national treasure Emma Thompson could have played the beloved teapot without being dragged through the mud. The film is also visually stunning. You can tell that a lot of effort has been put in to making it look perfect. The performance pieces, particularly Be Our Guest and Gaston, were wonderful – I had a massive smile on my face throughout them. Disney must really be patting itself on the back, and gazing lovingly at its well-stocked coffers right now.
Overall, does the world really need this new wave of ‘live action’ remakes of Disney classics? Probably not, but don’t we all just love a bit of nostalgia? Disney has been really clever with them too – they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they deliver everything you loved about the original film, whilst adding enough new stuff to make it feel like you’re both reliving your childhood, and seeing something you haven’t quite seen before. Nevertheless, I could have done without the Belle origin plotline, and the new songs added to the repertoire will never touch the timelessness of the original soundtrack. Still, the film never outstays its welcome, so for that, I give Disney kudos, and my $18.50.
3 out of 5 stars.
Sarah Goegan is a fourth-year JD student
More movie reviews by Sarah