This story is iconic, and this film is basically a grown up version of the classic animated version. The story is more rich, the characters have a deeper emotion, the world is built beautifully. The prologue captures you instantly, where some may mourn the loss of the stained glass windows the scene is beautiful showcasing the Prince in all his womanising glory, masked through the use of heavy makeup. The castle is quintessentially French in its style, there is a romantic rococo flair although the style is a mix of various styles. The enchantress is magical and in a change from the original this is not the last that we will see of her.
The transition into the much loved Belle is essentially dark into light, although the song will showcase the inequality in the village with the boys all dressed up and marching into school then contrasted with the girls who are washing clothes. The song essentially introduces us to Belle, who is well-read, a believer in equality and not tripping over herself to marry the most handsome man in town. As it should, it highlights the inequality in the small provincial town and that Belle is destined for more.
The addition to Maurice and Belle’s story by adding in more about their past brings an added dimension as just why Maurice is so protective of Belle and why he is willing to live out his life in a cell to ensure her freedom. Personally I loved the scene in which we find out what happened to Belle’s mum. For me it was when the Beast and Belle truly connected on a personal level but also a time where Belle understood her father more.
Dan Stevens makes the Beast come across as someone who is warm hearted inside although carries immense guilt over the past. Luke Evans is a perfectly vain Gaston whos’ inner evil sneaks upon you. Lets face it we all know he is a horrible person but this film brings a new dimension to that, he is much less fun. Josh Gad brings Le Fou as a much less bumbling idiot sidekick but one who truly looks up to Gaston. This changes as Gaston does but, unfortunately for the character if you have seen Frozen you will only hear Olaf.
Naturally Emma Watson is there to carry the film and overall she does a good job. I feel for her as the people at Disney have decided to auto-tune her singing, particularly notable during Belle. The iconic yellow dress, in my opinion is lovely. Compared to Cinderella is actually looks like a real dress. The supporting cast of those in the castle portray a real emotion for the Beast, the singing is well done and the extra scenes add something to their characters, if in some ways are cut short. What is clear in the film that the only barrier in the world is that of gender, girls are at an immediate disadvantage.
Overall this film is wonderful. There are great sentimental moments, great gags and a wondrous magic that endures. It is greatly similar to the animated classic yet it brings a new emotion and depth that wasn’t achieved in the original. Would I recommend you see it? For sure, I’ve already told people they have to see it!