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Published March 25th 2017
Tale As Old As Time, Retold in Spectacular Fashion
Tale as old as time. A statement that reminds many of the treasured Disney classic story, Beauty and the Best, the latest entry in Disney's vault of animated films to receive the live-action treatment.
While the original Beauty and the Beast film was a fantastic piece of animation that is still impressive in 2017, the live-action rendition feels superior in almost every way.
The live-action version of Beauty and the Beast is able to extend on the original characters, fill in frustrating plot holes, and even make slight well delivered alterations. These changes essentially work together to create an immaculate film that will please die-hard fans, as well as those who are experiencing this beloved tale for the very first time. Despite the main plot points still hitting their impending beat, these new alterations never once felt out of place or forced, and added interesting new elements to the original story. The new additions instead act to further emphasise the love story between Belle and the Beast, greatly humanise the iconic cast of characters, and offer an emotional connection with the narrative that the original could only dream of producing.
While the live-action iterations of Disney classics have provided some varied instalments of quality, Beauty and the Beast is one of its strongest creations. This is largely in part to the phenomenal casting of Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast, with the pair having natural chemistry; despite Stevens' character being CG for much of the film. Stevens is still able to produce an emotionally diverse rendition of the beast, with his facial performance of the character able to strike fear, as well as tug at the emotional heartstrings throughout. Whilst the two leads are of course important, Luke Evans' depiction of the dastardly Gaston is faultless. Evans is able to produce a character that is as lovable as he is devious, and is easily a standout of the film.
Beauty and the Beast's array of iconic side characters are also done great justice, with the likes of Sir Ian McKellon, Ewen McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Gaston's right-hand man Josh Gad, all do an amazing job of bringing these characters to the silver-screen in a light-hearted and worthy rendition. The Beast's array of loyal servants has a genuine connection that naturally feels like a group of friends that will stick together till the end. While Josh Gad's performance as LeFou does have several different plot threads throughout the film when compared to the original, they only add to the original character and feel like a natural progression.
While the acting performances and story additions were fantastic, the most important question remains – how does the live-action version treat the many iconic musical numbers from the original film? I'm happy to say it treats these majestic performances with a grand beauty. Most musical scenes will leave original Beauty and the Beast fans in awe, as these legendary moments are delivered with perfect accuracy from the original; allowing fans to see their favourite songs exactly as they remember them. From Belle's opening musical number, to the beautiful rendition of 'Tale As Old As Time', all the way to Gaston's iconic self-centered melody; each performance is re-created with love and respect to the original. The live-action edition also includes some new songs and performances, with almost each one naturally joining the legendary line-up of musical numbers. Some of these new additions only help to further emphasise important moments and will be stuck in my head for weeks to come.
The Beauty and the Beast live-action release is a wonderful recreation of the original source material, that not only delivers a fantastic retelling of the original story, but adds and extends on the originals grand tale. Beauty and the Beast's live-action vision is able to further develop the romance between Belle and the Beast, telling an all-important story that will never be out of date – beauty is not merely skin deep, but it is the true beauty within that conquers all.