Once upon a time there was a young and extremely selfish Prince (Dan Stevens). One day his self-centred ways caught up with him and after refusing to help an old lady in distress, he was placed under a curse by an Enchantress, which turned him into a hideous Beast and also turned the staff of the castle into various living antiques. Many years pass and the story moves to a small French village, where we meet Belle (Emma Watson), who lives with her dad, Maurice (Kevin Kline) and is thought of as strange and peculiar by everyone in the village. We are also introduced to the vain and arrogant, Gaston (Luke Evans) and his friend, LeFou (Josh Gad). Gaston is determined that he’s going to marry Belle but she’s having none of it. One day she ends up trapped in the Beast’s castle, after trading places with her dad, who has been imprisoned by the Beast. Distraught, Belle’s dad tries to gather a group to help with a rescue mission. While this is all going on, Belle & the Beast are not getting on at all. She manages to escape but is attacked by Wolves. Just in the nick of time, the Beast rescues her, but is badly wounded and collapses. In a moment of compassion she helps the Beast back to the castle and nurses him back to health. Is Belle ‘the one’ who will help break the Curse and free the inhabitants of the castle, or are they all doomed to spend eternity under a spell?
A story told countless times and in countless ways, on TV and in movies, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a narrative familiar to just about anyone, regardless of age. Most people remember the famous Disney animated version from back in 1991 and it’s still extremely popular with kids of today. It grossed a staggering $425 million worldwide and gave us the brilliant musical numbers, ‘Be Our Guest’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’, both of which are re-interpreted for this new movie. The beauty (pardon the pun) of Disney is that their films never seem to age and most of their movies have become timeless classics.
A musical through and through, from start to finish, it draws you in right from the very first musical number. Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Kevin Kline aren’t generally known for their singing prowess but do a really great job in the movie. Emma Watson really comes across as a great role model for young girls and I think she was the perfect choice for the iconic role of Belle. Dan Stevens was a bit of a surprising choice for the Beast but again, he is fantastic in the film. Then there’s Josh Gad, who kids might recognise as the voice of Olaf in ‘Frozen’, who adds a bit of comedy and slapstick to the movie and obviously has the vocals perfect for a movie like this. Luke Evans plays a truly despicable villain and actually made me shed a few tears during his fight scenes with the Beast. It was all very dramatic but visually stunning. The new interpretation of ‘Be Our Guest’ is amazing and probably one of the highlights in the movie.
If you’re a fan of Disney, love musicals, and/or a really great timeless story, then you will love ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Another triumph for the guys at Disney, I’m sure that this one will be just as big, if not bigger than the ’91 movie and both kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy it.