Benjamin Maio Mackay
Beauty and the Beast - 5 Stars
This live action adaptation, brings a darker, albeit brilliant musical tale to our screens.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realise the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.
I was a little scared about reimagining this classic tale, I dearly love the original Disney film and it would be hard to match. Somehow, miraculously Disney did match the film and in my opinion surpass it, by bringing new depths to these characters. There are changes that some may find hard to grasp, such as the introduction of new characters, new plots, new songs and the repositioning of Belle, to make her a stronger female lead. All of these things work in favour of the film and it’s a masterpiece.
Emma Watson is no Broadway star, but her singing is still good. Dan Stevens has an incredible voice, which we get to hear in a new song written for the film, Evermore - which is my favourite number in the film. Luke Evans is appropriately comic and menacing as Gaston, with is musical theatre experience obviously shining through. Josh Gad plays the first gay Disney character and is brilliant, his voice is also one of the stronger in the cast. Ewan McGregor does struggle a little with his accent, but his songs are great. Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline and Audra McDonald are all very competent singers and round out the supporting cast.
It’s a true visual treat the mix of CGI and people is seamless and the colour plot for the film great. The costumes often pay homage to the animated film and it’s a lovely nod to the original. Alan Menken’s score (incidental and musical numbers) is fantastic, these arrangements clearly suit the performers.
Overall director Bill Condon has made a Disney masterpiece with this brilliant live-action musical.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Walt Disney Entertainment
Saturday, 4 March 2017