It’s an exciting time for Disney. With live-action remakes of so many Disney classics in production and after the success of last year’s ‘The Jungle Book’ and 2015’s ‘Cinderella’, the remake of the 1991 film ‘Beauty And The Beast’ was hotly anticipated.
Personally, it did not disappoint. After reading reviews, I was worried about whether the film would live up to its expectations: mainly because of Emma Watson who plays Belle. I think that reviewers got too stuck on the fact that she is best known for being ‘Hermione Granger’ in the ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise for 10 years of our lives but her dedication to ‘Beauty And The Beast’ was quite extraordinary. “When you love something that much, you really want to do it justice” she admitted and really, she did just that. It was refreshing to see a modern Disney heroine that stands up for what she believes in and is represented as independent throughout the whole storyline, changing the selfish, mean Beast into a loving and thoughtful man with her kind, curious but defiant personality.
I can’t review the film without mentioning the Beast himself, Dan Stevens. The effort he put in for the role was amazing: he wore a 40lb muscle suit while on stilts to capture the Beast’s movements (even for the iconic dance scene) and then he had to act out only the facial features of the Beast so that this footage could be computer-edited and he could then be transformed into the character for all of the film’s shots. Stevens also had to create the voice of the Beast, one that I thought must have been an extremely edited version of his voice but was actually the work of the actor. Without seeing his real face while acting as the Beast, it’s almost impossible to imagine him doing this but as this clip from the script reading shows, he is a tremendously versatile actor (as are all of the incredible cast!)
Music was also a large part of the film with all the original and many new songs being used. Who knew that all of the cast could really sing, with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Ewan McGregor naming just a few? I certainly didn’t. Not only did these songs captivate like but they also enhanced what we all saw in the 1991 version, giving viewers a sense of real emotion. First thing to do after watching the film: download the soundtrack and re-encounter the feelings that were created when watching.
This film really is a wonderful watch. Never mind if you remember Emma Watson from the ‘Harry Potter’ films or Dan Stevens from ‘Downton Abbey’, it’s so easy to get caught up in the magic of this film. The perfect special effects of the furniture, the costumes and the overall look of 2017’s ‘Beauty and The Beast’ are likely to stick with you for a while and will make you want to experience the beauty of it again and again. The DVD release date is estimated for July so all I can say is: bring on summer!