For all children of the 80’s and 90’s, the animated 1991 film Beauty & the Beast was a near masterpiece of animated storytelling from the best storytellers of all. In the past Disney has always been the premier company to create a magical animated world in which both children and adults alike can visit and become engrossed and care for the characters on-screen. Most recently they have moved into recreating their classics into live action versions with mixed success.

Disney’s main problem has been that when they recreate a classic tale they either feel the need to create a more compelling back story or to make the world even more fanciful than it should be, but they have learnt their lesson here and in the best possible way. Beauty and the Beast is amazing with fantastic set pieces that feel just like the animated movie. I will apologise now as a lot of this review will compare with the original but as that was a classic and with Disney making so many remakes of their own classics it seems right to compare.

In 1992 Beauty and the Beast won 3 academy awards including Best Original Music Score and they have kept all those old songs we all loved as kids in and sang so wonderfully from the cast, from Emma Watson‘s soft beautiful (pardon the pun) voice to Ewan Mcgregor’s outrageous French accent (which wouldn’t be out-of-place in an episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo) but which works perfectly. So much care and attention has been put into this film and it really shows, every actor and actress looks committed to making this work.

A particular highlight, which I for one wanted to see how they would recreate, was the Be Our Guest sequence, the original was so frantic and full of life, with a small interlude into morose, and this doesn’t disappoint with a fabulously choreographed scene which is both wonderful and enchanting. Even Dan Stevens excels as the brooding foreboding Beast and while his voice has a subwoofer quality it doesn’t sound unintelligible like some films, plus when his charm comes out through the animalistic growls it feels like true innocent charm and makes you feel for this man in animal clothing.

Emma Watson excels as Belle (dare I say award worthy) in a role it looks like she has played her entire life, with a tender innocence while also seeming genuinely strong inside. Luke Evans is perfectly egotistical as Gaston, however Josh Gad is a bit too creepy as LeFou, even to the point where it seems LeFou may be in love with Gaston. Kevin Kline rounds off the main human actors and is the only person who doesn’t convince here, while not a bad performance, it just seems a bit bland, luckily the voice acting talents from the likes of Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and company is so passionately performed that occasionally you forget that you are watching a teapot and a clock talking.

So committed is Bill Condon and his team to recreating this iconic tale that at times you could play the animated and live action versions side by side and not notice much difference, aside from a small attempt to add a bit of back story to both Belle and the Beast, however this also feels natural and adds to the movie rather than feeling out-of-place like so many recent remakes have done. From the first song to the last, you will feel transported to this magical place and even find yourself singing along dredging up the memories and realising how special those songs were all those years ago.

My Verdict: Overall this is what it always wanted to be which is a fun family film trying to recreate a bit of magic which Disney has lost in its films in recent times. Beauty and the Beast recreates so much of the wonder of the original and re-enforces the message it always wanted to tell, It’s not about what you look like on the outside but what you are like on the inside. It’s a delightful, charming little film which shows that Disney has finally learnt from their mistakes and realised that sometimes you can create something which is a copy of the original with a couple of tweaks, it doesn’t need a completely new story (I’m looking at you Maleficent). This is a beautiful homage to a tale that truly is as old as time.

Dan once kicked every chicken in Albion, took an arrow to both knees and is still adventuring and drives his wife crazy on a daily basis with his near obsession with Marvel Comics.


  1. I think that like the reviews, I had mixed emotions. I was enchanted one moment and then disappointed the next. I am one of those kids from the 90’s that loved beauty and the beast since it first came out. Belle was my favorite character that I idolized since I was a kid. Her character inspired me to a strong, smart, independent woman. Not to mention the inspiration for my love of reading. I relate to her character very much. That being said, I have a lot of thoughts on the live version of this movie……

    I want to start out by saying that I don’t think for one second that Josh Gad did anything ‘creepy’ in the slightest. I really enjoyed the dedication and ‘true to character’ role he took, compared to the cartoon character in the animated film. It was hard at times not to think of Olaf. LOL, in small moments. Honestly, those moments made the film much more heartwarming and endearing. LOVE love love!

    My favorite actor out of the entire cast was Luke Evans, (not just because he is attractive) I have always loved the vibrancy and colorful character that is conceited Gaston! As an adult I have gained many a ‘tongue in cheek’ laugh from the cartoon Gaston. But Luke Evens really did a remarkable and amazing, heart stopping performance. Because of his hard work and natural ability with the character, while watching the live movie in the theater, at times, I forgot that he was just acting. Mr. Evens’ performance really swept me up into the film. I forgot where I was and was completely in the world of Beauty and the Beast. He did an impeccable performance as Gaston. I have not a single complaint for any part this gentleman had! I remember him from “Dracula untold” and I found that my thoughts didn’t wander anywhere near that movie while watching the magic fall before my eyes with his stunningly comical and fun character. I personally think that anyone that would get to play the role of Gaston would have nothing but fun doing it. Favorite scene, hands down, is when he is admiring himself in the mirror!!!! I do have one complaint about the pub song, that was taken from the animated film. the line where he sings ‘And every last inch of me is covered in hair…” I really was upset that this was taken out of the live film. My family and myself love that line and missed it. It is such a fun part. …:( SAD!

    I am running out of time, but I felt there was one or two songs too many added. I am all for adding and editing, however, it was just too much for me. I was stunned by the beauty of the sets and film, but was not happy with how at times it seemed scenes were pushed to hard, or the film was not as smooth as I would have wanted. It seemed the film was overdone, or trying to hard at times. Not all the way through, just certain scenes. I would love to get into more details, but am currently out of time. Thanks for reading and hope to continue my critique later.

    All in all, I think that if expectations of mine were removed, it was a fun movie. But felt it was more a carousel than a roller coaster. It was good in my opinion but not great, overall that is.

    And one other comment, I would love to see Mr. Luke Evens in a pirates of the Caribbean film. He seems like he would be such a perfect fit into that world. Just a quick side note. Thank you world.

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