Beauty And The Beast is one of our favourite Disney movies, so when Disney announced it was next on the live action list, we were intrigued and excited. With Disney's current passion for creating live action versions of their animated classics, which overall have been above average, it's now Beauty And The Beast's turn. We watched it in 2D.
This is a spoiler free review, but on the basis you've seen the original 1991 animation.
The biggest concern we had going into the movie was if we could see past Hermione and see Belle.
Ash: Overall, I think she did a good job, and was a pretty convincing Belle. I saw less Hermione than I thought I would.
Tee: There were some scenes where all I could see was Hermione, but when you think about, they're basically the same character anyway, so it worked quite well.
Ash: I thought the Beast was acceptable, some of the CGI, especially at the dance, was a little off putting. The voice wasn't as bad as people say it was. Luke Evans as Gaston was brilliant, and one of my favourite characters of the movie. He pulled off the smugness perfectly. LeFou also was a great casting choice. Lumiere was pretty good, I really enjoy Ewan McGregor's work, and even though the accent was a little over the top, I thought he did a good job. Cogsworth is actually how you remember him, although doesn't get all that much screen time. Mrs Potts and Chip were a little odd to me, I wasn't a fan of their designs but the actors did a good enough job. Maurice was well cast, too.
Tee: I thought the Beast was better than I was expecting, but I went in with low expectations. I agree Gaston was brilliant, but I think LeFou was one of my favourites. I think Lumiere's over the top accent was funny. Cogsworth's was indeed actually as you remember him. I think Maurice's character was a lot better than in the animation, and there was less focus on him being crazy.
The plot is almost exactly same as the animation, with a few added scenes and tweaks to some of the original ones.
Ash - I enjoyed the new first scene explaining how the prince got turned into the Beast. I wasn't a huge fan of some of the extra backstory scenes later on, but the tweaks and musical additions didn't take anything away from the story.
Tee: I really loved the backstory scenes. It was a nice addition and enhanced the story further. I liked the tweaks to LeFou's character, as it made him more likeable.
Overall the set designs were fantastic. The castle really felt huge, and the attention to detail was amazing. The costumes, although sometimes a little over the top, were all superb. Belle's famous yellow dress didn't feel as magical as we imagined it would be in live action. They did try, and what they did was nice, but didn't quite have the impact we were hoping for.
The problem that Disney will have redoing classic and loved soundtracks, is that people will criticise the fact they've either a) not changed anything or b) changed something. When the songs come on and you're singing them in your head, they notes don't deviate too much from the original, so overall we liked it. Some of the songs had completely new sections, and there were some new songs altogether, but overall we think they worked, and it didn't feel like they changed songs for the sake of changing them. A downside for us was we noticed there is quite a bit of auto tuning on some of the songs, and occasionally it was very obvious, but that's a downside to live action.
Overall it was a very enjoyable film. Many of the scenes were beyond our exceptions, but some were almost below. There was some wonky CGI in places, and not all of the jokes landed. But, the jokes that did land, gave us fits of giggles.
Beauty And The Beast almost perfectly captures the magic of the animation if you want to compare it directly. But on it's own, it's a wonderfully magical, well told story, that is a must watch for all Disney fans.
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