Directed by Bill Condon
Written by Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
When Belle (Watson) becomes a captive of a beast (Stevens) in an enchanted castle she begins to see something more in her tortured captor.
This is the latest Disney movie to turn a successful animated film into a live action movie. Like The Jungle Book and Cinderella, this film gives viewers a mix of familiar moments in a new experience. This one was written by Stephen Chbosky (Rent) and Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules), and directed by Bill Condon (Chicago). The cast features a long list of very talented people including Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Dan Stevens (A Walk Among the Tombstones), Luke Evans (The Hobbit: The Desolution of Smaug), and Ian McKellen (X-Men: Days of Future Past). Josh Gad (Frozen), Kevin Kline (The Big Chill), Ewan McGregor (The Impossible), and Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) also star in this one.
This is a familiar story that a lot of us grew up with. Thanks to the 1991 Disney film and the emergence of home video it’s been seen millions of times. So when Disney decided to remake the classic, it was not all good news. As a fan of the animated film, I was not sure that they could capture the magic of the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. That’s where Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos came in. These two screenwriters both put in work turning this film into something new without losing the framework of the original story.
The writing does a great job of jumping right into the immersive world of the story. With the main arc of the film being so familiar, it was up to the writing to give us something new. The little twists and surprises work nicely throughout this one. The story also makes good use of the songs from the animated version. In addition to some new lyrics, the songs don’t all fall into place the same way. The movie also expands of the plot in a number of successful ways. The end result is a fun movie that allows for a sentimental moment or two while also giving a lot of new stuff to the audience.
This one has a huge cast of talented people who I could gush about for far longer than most of you would want. Emma Watson might not have been my first choice for this film, but she really nailed her part as Belle. She’s good with the musical moments, but also brings out the right version of the popular Disney princess she was asked to play. She’s joined by so many great actors.
Dan Stevens might not be recognizable for much of the movie, but his performance is solid. Luke Evans also does great work as one of the better Disney villains ever written. Adding in performances by Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, and Emma Thompson didn’t hurt. With all this talent the movie really keeps that magical feeling that it needed. Even the musical numbers have that great Disney feel.
There were a lot of concerns floating around the internet when the trailers started being released for this film. Most of the criticism I saw was centered on the digital effects or CGI or whatever you’d like to call it. Basically, people thought that the visuals looked bad. Well, by the time this one was released they must’ve fixed something. This one looks really good.
The characters and creatures in the movie all seem top-notch. The film also has good sets, costumes, and other visual aspects. the one complaint I have with the film is a vertigo-inducing sequence built to mirror a scene from the animated film. Luckily, this is a small moment in an otherwise stunning movie. Add in a great score, some new songs, nicely redone old songs, and this is one worth watching.
This is a very good movie. Fans of the 1991 animated movie should make sure to see this one. I would also suggest this to fans of the stars. This is a fun movie that also goes a little darker than an animated movie would. This is a remake in many ways, but there is so much new material for audiences to enjoy. I give this one 4.8 out of 5 stars.