Beauty and the Beast; A Magical Remake
One of the most beloved scenes in the 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast is the musical number, “Be Our Guest.” At the time, it was like nothing we had ever seen; it was a magical broadway number done to perfection with saucers and tea cups. How does that scene play out the live-action Beauty and the Beast that comes out today? It’s simply fabulous.
And so is the rest of the Beauty and the Beast. It’s a delightful and modern remake with a stellar cast that includes Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle, Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the Beast, Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge) as the candelabra, Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) as the teapot, Ian McKellan as the clock and broadway legend Audra McDonald as the wardrobe.
Watson, who has become a feminist icon after playing Hermione Granger and devoting herself to humanitarian work, is the perfect Belle. She’s a smart, strong and devoted to bettering herself and those around her. Her voice may not compare with Paige O’Hara, the original Belle, but she does a fine job. Her scenes with Stevens, who is a surprisingly good Beast, are lovely. What I think works best and what parents will like about Beauty and the Beast is that her Belle, like the original, is a good role model while also being really interesting and nuanced. Sure, she ends up with beast, but it’s on her terms.
Of course the real scene stealers are Josh Gad as LeFou and Luke Evans (fabulous!) as Gaston. Gad is great in everything he does, but he’s especially good when he’s figuring out that Gaston is a bully that must be stopped. Evans is perfectly charming with a wonderful voice.
While it’s a fun, entertaining family movie, little kids might be scared by some of the darker scenes that include wolf attacks, an angry mob and being imprisoned.