Most from my generation would have been eager to see the tale as old as time would fare as a modern live action remake.
Now that all that rubbish and religious / political drama about the ‘gay’ scene in the movie is past us, it was time to see if this tale really stood the test of time.
Let’s start with the obvious. The casting of Emma Watson as Belle must be one of the most perfect, natural matches in history of film. In many ways, Emma is the real life modern embodiment of Belle. A start, courageous young lady who lived ahead of her time, and who loved books. Whether it was in the village blue dress, or the beautiful yellow gown, Emma was absolutely stunning throughout. Every single time Belle was in a scene, there was no doubt every pair of eyes in the hall were on her.
What did surprise me a little was how good a singer she was in the film. Not just her, but the overall cast was surprisingly good in delivering their versions of all the beautifully written classics from the animation. Luke Evans’ musical and dance performance was surprisingly good as well, and Josh Gad’s comedic delivery also made the ‘Gaston’ piece much more fun than even the original. Even Ewan McGregor, who, of all the cast, I feared would be the worst singer, was pleasantly good in one of the most entertaining pieces of the film ‘Be Our Guest’. I must say if anything, the soundtrack really did stand the test of time after all these years.
One thing that I wasn’t really sure about from the trailers was how the CGI characters, all the talking household items and furniture, would fare in a live action film. And, am I the only one who thinks that Ewan McGregor’s accent in his portrayal of the candlestick is borderline racist???
But I must say, the CGI did a great job bringing all the classic characters to life, ascend the voice acting was remarkable, succeeding in making the audience actually care about what happened to talking teapots, cabinets and candlesticks.
Even better than that was the costume and set design. The level of detail put into the castle design was astounding. It was as if they had to design two different castles, the gloomy, dusty and cursed one before Belle arrived; and the breathtaking, sparking one in which the lovely dance scene took place, both with amazing level of detail.
If there was anything that kind of fell short, it was the final 15 minutes of the film. There wasn’t much urgency or sense of real danger in the fight sequence between Gaston and The Beast (alright, McCain’s that’s because everyone and his mother astray knew what was going to happen next). And the end scene which saw everyone just dance away was a little anti climactic. For one of the most famous love stories of all time, the focus could have been very much more on the couple, if Disney really wanted to pull at everyone’s heartstrings.
But all in all, the movie achieved what it set out to do, which was to tell this tale as old as time in a modern light, to both the generation who will always remember the original animation, and a new, younger audience.
VERDICT: Go see it for the nostalgia, enjoy great modern versions of its classic songs.