Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Siliotopoulous is a live-action/CGI remake of Disney’s 1991 animated film of the same name.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story, Belle (Emma Watson) is an independent young woman, who loves literature and whose way of thinking greatly differs from that of her traditional village, turning her into an outcast.
One day, her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), stumbles across the castle of a fearsome Beast (Dan Stevens) and is taken prisoner. When Belle finds out, she agrees to live in the castle if the Beast releases her father. How could any Beast say no to this?
This, being a fairy tale, nothing is the way it seems. The Beast is actually a Prince whose arrogance angered the Enchantress, Agathe (Hattie Morahan), and she turned him into a hideous looking creature, who definitely wouldn’t make the cover of GQ.
The members of the Prince’s castle didn’t fare any better. His valet, Lumere (Ewan McGregor), has been turned into a candalabra; Coswoth (Ian McKellen), the gruff but loyal butler, has become a mantel clock. The maid, Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), is now, strangely but appropriately, a feather duster. Last, but definitely not least, is the wonderful Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, a teapot in charge of the kitchen. Keeping the table setting together, her son, Chip (Nathan Mack), is a teacup.
At first, Belle is terrified by her new-found circumstances, but soon, due to the kindness of the Beast and the urging of his fabulous, enchanted, magical staff, she finds herself drawn to her captor. Meanwhile, her father is determined to save his daughter and hires the evil Gaston (Luke Evans)—an arrogant, vain and barbaric former soldier-turned-hunter, who seeks to marry Belle—to hunt down the Beast by any means necessary.
Gaston’s flamboyant sidekick, LeFou (Josh Gad), practically steals the film.
I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, as well as the animated film and I definitely can say that this one holds up to its predecessors. The music, the singing, dancing, the great animation, will definitely put a very big smile on your face.
In the end, Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful love story which tells us that sometimes, you have to look beneath the surface of a person to see who they really are.
The film opens in theaters, Friday, March 17, 2017.
By Joan Alperin