Among the Disney Princess animated movies, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. The songs in the 1991 movie make up the big chunk of the reason. Part of it is also because Belle doesn’t fit the “damsel in distress” trope. So when news of a live-action version came about, I was pretty skeptical about the outcome.
That didn’t stop me from catching the latest incarnation of the popular fairy tale (well, I received free tickets to watch it, so why not?). And throughout the more-that-2-hour movie, I realized that the movie entertained me more than I thought it would. And here’s what I can say about it.
Wait, should I be giving you a “Spoilers Ahead” warning? 😀
1. The latest version utilized the plot of the animated film and the original fairy tale. Most of the scenes and songs were taken from the 1991 movie. But I was pleasantly surprised when they incorporated one tidbit from the original fairy tale: when Belle asked Maurice for a rose and her father was imprisoned by the Beast because he was “stealing” it.
2. I liked that they explored the part about ceasing to be human. Or in human words, death. That one particular scene after the battle made me realize how life can be fleeting, and that whether we’re prepared or not, it will come eventually for us.
3. I also liked that they provided a back story for Belle and the Beast. We never heard about Belle’s mom and the prince’s parents in the animated movie, how they affected their lives and such. So it’s nice to see that here.
4. Despite the setting being in poor provincial France, only one character had a French accent. Good job, Ewan McGregor (as Lumiere). Honest Trailers pointed this out when they said that everyone in the animated movie had a British accent. Almost the same here. Heck, for a French guy, LeFou spoke with an American accent.
Okay, maybe two characters with a French accent, the other being Plumette.
5. Casting was a hit-and-miss. Emma Watson’s Belle doesn’t show the same strength as the animated version. Dan Stevens was okay (although hubby said he was, uh, not as good looking as the cartoon, LOL!). I liked Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, as well as Luke Evans as Gaston (even though he’s not exactly “the size of a barge”). I felt the movie didn’t utilize Ian McKellen much.
6. They changed some of the lyrics to some songs. The actors also did their own style in singing, too. I hoped that was enough to discourage a sing-along inside the theater. Hehe.
7. Speaking of songs, “Be Our Guest” was the one that made the audience clap midway through the movie. It had the same pomp as the animated Beauty and the Beast. A bit longer than the original song, though. Still, I can’t help but compare with how Jerry Orbach did it. Man, seeing him singing it live gave me goosebumps. It still and always does.
8. But it was “The Mob Song” (the “kill the Beast!”) that I liked best. I felt that it was very close to the original. And it was the song where Luke Evans’ voice shined the brightest (yeah, not so much on the “Gaston” song, which was quite unfortunate).
9. There are new never-before-released songs in the live-action. I love that they sounded pretty bittersweet, talking about missing chances in life, making the most of your time, letting go of someone, or simply yearning for a loved one.
10. They brought in Celine Dion again! Maybe for sentimental reasons, but I’m sure glad the movie used her song, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” for the first part of the ending credits. Because, unfortunately, the revival of the main theme had a midi-karaoke sound to it that I didn’t really like. Sorry, Arianna Grande and John Legend.
Millennials who haven’t seen the original animated movie will love this. Gen-Xers, Baby Boomers, and #TitasOfManila will appreciate it (but will still love the 1991 film). The latest Beauty and the Beast film adaptation is worth the time and money, so go watch when you can.