Let me just start by saying that I had a permanent smile on my face for the duration of this film.
Initially I was a little wary of a remake of my favourite Disney classic. I didn’t see the need to re-cover it in a skin of live action pomposity. However, I shouldn’t have worried. From the sumptuous first glimpse of the prince’s castle, I regressed back to being a wide eyed 5 year old.
What a spectacle! This film is a delicious cacophony of colour, song and remarkable acting chops. Yes, it’s a straight up frame-by-frame re-enactment of the original, but this didn’t matter one iota. In fact, it added to the fun because you knew what delights awaited you. I was anticipating key scenes and revelled in the actors’ depictions of these beloved characters.
Luke Evans stood out for me as the definition of Gaston. Brash, loud and hysterically conceited he could not have been closer to his animated counterpart. Similar kudos goes to Josh Gad as LeFou, who provided the more mature of us in the audience with a smattering of humour to cut through the schmaltz. Meanwhile, Emma Watson revelled in her role as Belle, providing the character with a more modern edge. In this version, Belle is the inventor in the family, with her dress hitched up to show her hobnail boots. This is a girl with gumption, on a mission for adventure and boy does she get it!
That adventure comes in the form of Dan Steven’s Beast. Tall, dark and oddly handsome even with his matted exterior, the Beast is everything he needs to be. Your love for him grows as his own does for Belle, to the point where the ballroom scene made me well up.
My emotional state wasn’t helped by the fact that I was surrounded by little princes and princesses singing along to every timeless song, which only added to the magic.
The rest of the story’s pivotal characters, including talking candelabra Lumiere and his haughty friend Cogsworth were perhaps the most changed from the original. With their appearances based more in reality then the Disney-fied facades we’re used to. However, after a few bars of ‘Be our guest’ it didn’t matter.
If you want to be swept off your tired, adult feet and transported back to a state of pure wonderment-then go and see this film.
5* - Beauty and the Beast? More like Beauty and the Best