When I first created Milky Way of Books I had in mind about reviewing not only books but also movies. In the end I decided to keep the blog book-only.
BUT, today is the exception! I finally had the chance to go and watch the adaptation I've been waiting for since 2016! Beauty and the Beast is one of my top Disney classics and I would like to take the chance and give this movie both the pros and the cons it deserves.
NOTE: I'll try not to spoil you much BUT if you've seen the Disney 1991 version then you can't be spoiled about the ending.
The movie begins with the much known prologue but instead of the male narrator we have a female one. The costumes and the historical element the movie gets adds more depth in the timeline where the story takes place.
Personally, I've placed the plot on France in the beginning of the 19th century probably after the French revolution or after the Napoleon wars.
The prince is turned into the Beast and from there we move into Belle and her song. Now, here's an issue I noticed too along with other friends from the blogsphere. Belle is truly innovative and she doesn't only likes reading. She teaches how to read too, but the reactions of the villagers are bordeline into bullying.
They not only think her "odd" or "a beauty but a funny girl", they scorn her! And let's not get started with Gaston! Many have mentioned that Luke Evans would be a better Beast than Gaston. I disagree; the role fit him like a glove, he can sing and act and that can be seen into the scenes of the "Gaston" song.
Yes, none of the actors, except from Dan Stevens, have the PERFECT voice like the original ones, who were auditioned as musical actors too, but this is Hollywood. The comments about auto-tuning Emma Watson's voice, or how Ewan McGregor wasn't a great Lumiere maybe are true for some but for me ALL the actors and actresses gave their best.
Especially Emma. As Belle, she is smart and brave (watch the invitation to dinner scene), she understands from the start that there is a curse in the castle and even nurses the Beast back to health after the wolf attack.
The library scene was also one of the good points of the movie. I think that Disney dug into my mind and conjured THE Library I'd love to have if not the 1991 version. I loved how Belle and the Beast interact through all the movie but the library scene is one of the best ones.
I would prefer Belle to do a happy, squeaky dance as she goes to explore the books, but none is perfect. Also, I was very happy to see the Beast as a bookworm, especially when he argues with Belle about Shakespeare and Romeo and Julliet. That was funny!
And let's move into the ballroom scene. The setting was stunning and despite the different opinions I loved the dress. If it were made just like Cinderella's I think there'd be difficulty in moving. Just remember how she tried to escape.
A great dress but not much to move with.
At the same time the dancing between Belle and the Beast was sweet and you could see how emotional that could make anyone. The slow touches, how hesitant is the Beast at first but then he moves like a pro and also how great Belle gave the feels through all the scene.
There were two new songs also in the film. Knowing that Alan Menken was behind them made me sure that they would be amazing. Especially "Forevermore". I teared up when the Beast sung, because we may see usually in YA fiction the girl feeling lost and heart-broken, but with that song you could see a man who looks like a Beast, thinks he doesn't deserve the girl BUT he lets her go knowing that he will be left behind with the memories of her as a companion.
I wouldn't mind adding some of the Beast's screaming here, similar to the animated film.
And let's go into the final act. The "Mob song" is as scary as real life. And not only because Gaston becomes a lunatic, (there's also a suspicion from me that he suffers from PTSD but that doesn't give him points), but because the villagers FOLLOW HIM! There was once a post on Tumblr as also on Teen Vogue, where Gaston as a character represents all the bad things you can see in society. From misogynistic attitude to using his own friend, Gaston became more villainous in the film.
And I never minded his ending.
So, let's talk about LeFou. When I first saw the trailer I thought that he would be as simple minded as the animated version. But then the rumors about the gay representation spiked and everything when to hell. And I clearly couldn't understand why.
Why are people so angry with LeFou for being gay and don't notice other important elements of his character? How he tries to stop Gaston from being a complete wacko, or when he saves SOMEONE in the final battle? Why? You think there weren't homosexual men and women in 19th century? In a time where for a woman to know how to READ was a tabboo? Imagine how those people felt.
At the same time he offers a happy tune to the plot with his humor and his singing in the "Gaston" song.
The plot holes we also had from the animated version were filled in the movie. The curse also became even more horrible for both the servants and the Beast, not to mention that both Belle and the Beast had more family background here than in the 1991 version.
My ONLY tiny objection was the scene where the Beast dies. I didn't expect THAT to happen but the transformation was as stunning as the original one. There were no fireworks though...
The ending was very, very satisfying. Everyone in the cinema were singing "Be our Guest" and the final chorus of "Beauty and the Beast" song. Not to mention that I'll keep the mementos of going itno the cinema, like a dragon who hoards her gold.
Those are Greek by the way.
Will I go to watch the movie again? Yes, I will. And if you still don't want to see the movie after everything you've read and seen in general on the internet? Well then.
FINAL VERDICT: 5 OF 5 GLORIOUS STARS