Tale as old as time
Disney tackles another remake
By Colin Macgillivray, Staff Writer
The original Beauty and the Beast was an all time classic, I was a tad worried when I heard that Disney had decided to create a live action version. With a not so stellar track record of adapting adored animated adventures into compelling live-action retellings — I’m looking at you Alice in Wonderland — I was sure they would make an absolute mess of things when approaching a live-action Beauty and the Beast. Turns out, I was wrong. Near perfect casting coupled with some incredibly striking visuals, as well as some top-tier source material to draw on allows children and adults alike to enjoy one of the best fairy tales in an entirely new way.
But, before we jump into the nitty-gritty of the review, I have to make something very clear. I am of the opinion that a remake of a movie will never capture the same magic as the original film it is modelled after. It’s nearly impossible to revamp a film that still pays homage to the original, all the while adding new elements that make the new film stand out from its counterpart. On the othor hand, I usually abhor films that are nothing more than a shot-for-shot remake of the original, as they feel like nothing more than a studio cash grab. Now, I’m not saying that the new Beauty and the Beast isn’t a studio cash grab (because to be completely honest that is really all it is) but in this case, the shot-for-shot remake worked. In fact, if the movie was not a near identical replica of the original, it would not be as solid as a movie as it is.
Beauty and the Beast’s initial strengths lie within its impeccable casting. Not only are Emma Watson and Dan Stevens nearly perfect in the lead roles, but the supporting cast rarely misses a beat. It’s almost as if Josh Gad was made to perform as the bumbling Le Fou he plays opposite surprisingly charismatic Luke Evans, who steals almost every scene he is apart of as Gaston, is a treat to watch. The anthropomorphic, cursed workers of Beast’s magnificent castle are helmed by some brilliant voice work including that of Ewan McGregor who plays the candlestick Lumiére, while Sir Ian Mckellen’s voicing of Cogsworth is a welcome edition to any Beauty and the Beast production. With almost all of the performances being incredibly solid, it was hard not to be smiling throughout.
The other strong point of this Beauty and the Beast interpretation is it’s extraordinary visuals. From the classic ballroom dance sequence, which features some masterful camerawork, to the outstanding production design in the entire “Gaston Song” scene, the $165 million budget was definitely put to good use. The computer generated animations for both Beast and his housekeepers is on par with any CGI out there today. The stunning visuals allow this version of the Disney classic to set itself apart from the animated version, which in the end is a good thing, as this is a very solid film.
I’ve said it a couple times before, and I’ll say it again, the new Beauty and the Beast is a solid movie. The magic you may have experienced during Lumiére’s “Be Our Guest” musical number might not be the same as the original, but the 2017 update will surely have you smiling. Even though this film was destined to never live up to the original, it’s likely to stand a test “as old as time.” Don’t be a cynic and admit it’s a fun movie! Be especially happy that Beauty and the Beast received a big budget production, something the classic fairytale definitely deserves. All in all, go see Beauty and the Beast for the sole purpose of re-experiencing some of the greatest characters in history performed by some extremely competent actors, beautiful imagery throughout, and another chance to experience Beast, one of the greatest Disney characters of all time.