Movie Review

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)

This movie has such a dear place in my heart. I have a vivid memory of watching it the first time and begging my mom to rewind the part where Lumière gives Belle’s dad a fright over and over again and cracking up like a crazy person for at least half an hour!

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Another memory is of my mom blackmailing me that she would get me Beauty and the Beast from the video store if I let her pull my loose tooth. I was too scared to let her do it, but I remember being so desperate to watch it again that I climbed on top of the bathroom sink and watched myself in the mirror as I gradually wiggled my tooth out. Even though it wasn’t quite our terms, my mom got me the movie again.

I was basically your original Beauty and the Beast fangirl. I was determined to change my name to Belle and move to France to find my own castle with an amazing library. Somehow the Beast/prince was more a cherry on the cake than the main attraction… even back then I loved books more than just about anything else…

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A couple of years after the first Harry Potter movie came out, after she had grown into her role and into herself, and even before it became a fact that B&B would be made into a live action, I remember thinking that Emma Watson would be the perfect Belle. Not only did she play my favorite bookworm ever, but she was an activist for women with her very own bookclub. So when I heard that she was actually going to play the part, I wasn’t even surprised… just unimaginably happy that it was actually going to happen!

And then I stalled. When it came out on cinema I kept on meaning to go and see it, but I just couldn’t. My friends kept on coming back and telling me how great it was, but still I was scared.

Scared? you may be asking. Yes. I was scared that I was expecting too much and that it couldn’t possibly hold up to my expectations and fond memories. Irrational maybe, but how often have I been excited for something only to be disappointed? All 8 Harry Potter movies comes to mind just off the top of my head.

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But then eventually my mother cornered me into it and I bit the bullet. I would watch it and try to keep my expectations to a manageable minimum.

I don’t know if I lowered them too much or if I needn’t have bothered! This movie was absolute perfection! Yes, even the parts that they added and changed! Even the singing, which wasn’t as great as the original (although the songs were better in some places), was still enjoyable and also fit with the personalities of the characters and the actors who played them.

The casting was honestly so on point that I can’t decide who was better: Luke Evans as Gaston stomping around all self important and good looking or Ewan McGregor as Lumière singing “Be our Guest” or Emma Watson in the iconic yellow dress! I don’t know how much of the Beast was CGI and how much was Dan Stevens, but I loved him just as much as Ian McKellen as a grumpy old Gogsworth fighting off his wife’s advances! But if I go on and list all the characters I like, I might as well list the whole cast. Ultimately though, I think Josh Gad as LeFou is my favorite thing ever! He really brought so much more to an originally one-dimensional character and I absolutely loved it!

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There was obviously nothing new plot-wise, though some of the characters were fleshed out and given more backstory. I think the directors tried to answer a lot of the plot holes and unanswered questions the original movie raised, which I thought was great and added more to the story. One of my friends mentioned that they thought the scene where Belle asks them why they don’t escape or leave the castle was worthy of a facepalm, because obviously they can’t leave the castle because they’re furniture and knick-knacks, but I disagree. I always wondered the same thing. They weren’t cursed, the castle and the prince was. What if they changed back if they left the castle? Did they even try? And if they were cursed along with the prince, then that enchantress was a bigger villain than everyone thought!

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One thing I think I should mention is one of the biggest reasons I stalled at watching this movie. Emma Watson. Yes yes, I know I said I always thought she would be the perfect Belle, but let me be honest… I never thought that much of her acting skills. She’s a perfect Hermoine as well, but I was always left knowing that she was acting. She never felt natural in any of the roles I saw her in. I’m not going to say she was absolutely natural as Belle, and her singing wasn’t anything compared to the original Belle, but she impressed me. Maybe Belle is her natural!

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The biggest disappointment to me, and no lying it was a big one, was the library scene. They kept it in (obviously they couldn’t leave it out!!!), but it was changed and the original intent was completely lost! They changed a couple of scenes and even juiced up the songs a bit, but this… this was MY scene! My little bookworm heart thought it was the ultimate romantic gesture, and now it’s been reduced to a happy accident. I thought that was the biggest reason she fell for him in the first place! I just can’t deal right now…

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Ok, I’m back and I feel a little better. So in conclusion, coming from an original Beauty and the Beast fangirl… this live action remake was totally worth watching and I’ll recommend it to infinity and back.

P.S. I loved the Beasts’ song when he set Belle free!

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