Beauty and the Beast
review by Bobby Blakey
There have been numerous iterations of the famed Beauty and the Beast fairytale brought to life over the years with Disney’s animated the most popular. Most recently the live action French film was released to Blu-ray and DVD, but now Disney is ready to unleash their own take on the famed story on the big screen featuring a great cast including Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson with director Bill Condon at the helm. Will this latest live action take live up to the magic of the original animated classic or will the last pedal fall before the music starts?
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast follows 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 realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. I have to admit that I am not a big fan of this story in general, but tried to go into this film with an open mind since I have enjoyed just about all of the live action adaptations Disney has done so far. Much props have to go to the production alone as the film is gorgeous to look at. These worlds are so important to these kinds of stories and here they have captured every aspect of the original film right down to some of the exact same scenes. I love seeing animated sequences brought to life when the team behind it clearly pushes the limits to make sure it does the source material justice and here they have done just that. One of the parts I was most afraid of just not working was that of the various talking furniture, but the change in designs and way it works into the story surprisingly worked to perfection.
The cast all do a good job with Josh Gad stealing the show most of the time. I find it funny all the controversy regarding the gay undertones of the being unnecessary, but if you pay attention to the original animated feature they are there too, just a little more subtle so get over yourselves. From the trailers I was a bit concerned to how the beast looked, but was pleasantly surprised that it actually did work most of the time. Sure there are a couple of moments where it stumbles, but overall it works well. While these are all good things to make hardcore fans of this film love it all the more, I was still underwhelmed. I was hoping the live action aspect might help me to better connect and enjoy it, but there are just so many issues I have with this story it just didn’t. These are not all issues with the film, but the overall story itself. I could go on and on about the issues I have but wouldn’t really be fair to the film since it is following the story they have.
Instead I want to keep this review more about the execution of this version and I think it is one that will no doubt have fans fall in love with the story all over again. If you are like me and not a big fan to begin with then it’s unlikely that you will be won over, but give it a chance as you might be surprised. I did enjoy it more than I did the animated film, but it still just doesn’t work for me, but I have no doubt this will be another massive success for Disney and I applaud the amount of detail and work that went in to bringing this story to life so successfully.
This release not only includes the film but also numerous bonus features including deleted scenes, extended song, music video, and featurettes that take you further behind bringing this film to life. Be their guest and grab your copy of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when it hits Digital HD, Blu-ray, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD, and On-Demand available now from Disney Home Entertainment.