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"Beauty and the Beast" brings the nostalgia you're looking for

Another princess tale has been adapted from the original Disney cartoon to live action film, and in this case, done excellently. “Beauty and the Beast” was both nostalgic and offered some new context to this beloved story.

The film begins with a prince being transformed into a beast by a witch when he wouldn’t show her compassion. Then we meet Belle, a young woman living in a small town who rescues her father from the capture of the Beast, but must stay at the Beast’s castle in return. The two spend a lot of time with each other, fall in love and eventually break the curse on the beast before the last petal falls off a magical rose. 

For the most memorable parts of the Disney cartoon, this film sticks to the original storyline. The introduction of Belle during the song “Little Town” stays true to the original both lyrically and on screen. These moments are relieving for viewers who love the original cartoon and allows them to relax and enjoy the songs and dance sequences. From there, viewers will be impressed by the cast of talented singers and dancers that make up the musical sequences.

Emma Watson was enjoyable to watch in her role as Belle, though at first it was hard to see her as the character. While most of the other characters look fairly similar to the cartoon characters they were representing, Emma Watson looks very little like the animated Belle. However, Watson does eventually convince the viewer of her role through her stubborn nature and beautiful singing voice. 

One of the best characters in the film was Gaston, played by Luke Evans, not only because he looks very similar to his cartoon character, but because he hilariously played the overconfident Gaston throughout the film. His acting also allowed the viewer to gain a more clear picture of why Gaston acts with such obnoxious confidence. Gaston has recently come back from a war, and does not fully understand how to reintegrate into his society due to some trauma he experienced during the war.

The film expands upon other characters’ histories as well. The viewers learn that the reason  Belle’s father never talks about her mother is because she died from the plague and he had to leave her in Paris in order to save Belle. Viewers also learn that the prince was so initially arrogant and thoughtless toward others because his mother died when he was a child and his father treated him poorly after her death. These insights expand the characters’ backstories and help to develop their relationships with each other further than the animated version.

Though this film is highly nostalgic of the original, it is still worth seeing. The costumes and set design are the most impressive aspects. The dresses are highly detailed and gorgeous on screen. The castle where Belle stays is magnificent and very similar to the castle in the original cartoon. The use of CGI for the castle and the servants-turned-household-objects stays true to the original film while enhancing the visual appeal. Though many of the servants at the castle are only voices for the majority of the film, the excellent use of CGI persuades the audience of the caring relationships between the servants as well as with Belle. Cogsworth and Lumiere in particular banter hilariously with each other throughout the entire film, and the quirks of their CGI characters enhance the quirks shown when they are transformed back into people. 

This film’s plot relies on musical numbers, and in this respect, viewers will not be disappointed. Each song performed by the talented cast is beautiful and evokes all the right emotions. These sequences also show the moments with the most amount of characters, and highlight excellent choreography. The best dance sequence is likely during the first song, where the prince is shown having a party before the witch shows up to turn him into a beast. These musical moments amped up the energy for the rest of the film, while still carrying the plot forward. 

Grade: A

Beauty and the Beast opens in theaters on March 17. 

eholmes@theeagleonline.com


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