‘Beauty and the Beast’ 2017

Tale As Old As Time – Live Action Remake As Good As Old

Last year’s remake of ‘The Jungle Book’ was a great success and now the second live-action Disney classic is in cinemas.  After anticipating the release of the latest adaptation of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for months now, with glimpses of Emma Watson in those iconic outfits, and posters revealing the stellar British cast in character, the 2017 remake finally came out in cinemas on March 17th in the UK.

And I know what you’re thinking right?  How did it take you so long to go see it?  I know! Life kinda got in the way. But I finally saw it last week, and it was definitely worth the wait.

I loved the 1991 Disney classic as a child – Lumiere singing Be Our Guest while an array of kitchenware dances, and Angela Lansbury singing Beauty and the Beast as Mrs Potts, while Belle wears that dress and the Beast can’t help but fall in love with her.  Simply magical.

So I was intrigued to see whether the remake would measure up to my childhood favourite.  And I can sum up my experience in one word – nostalgia.  Pure nostalgia.  Disney did not really mess with the original story at all (there are a few additions that give the story a modern edge), and so what comes flooding back are all those memories of being captivated by the characters, the songs and the happily-ever-after.

I want to spend a few moments here to talk about the cast.  And of course we have to start with Emma Watson as Belle.  An inspired choice.  Since the Harry Potter franchise, Watson has developed her acting prowess in films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah, and Regression, and has an upcoming starring role in the adaptation of Dave Eggers’ The Circle.  As Belle, she is classy and strong, but also brings a sense of innocence as an actor still in the early years of her career.  And it was actually delightful to listen to.

For the rest of the cast, you couldn’t get more British and more enchanting with names like Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor playing the castle’s various household objects with such finesse and original interpretations.

The film is a visual joy – so captivating to look at all the way through.  But I also came away from this enthralled by the music.  The orginal Alan Menken score is, of course, part of what has made this live-action adaptation a success. Take away his original Oscar-winning score and you might as well not bother.  But there are some nice additions to the soundtrack with Celine Dion’s ‘How Does a Moment Last Forever’, and Ariana Grande and John Legend’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ isn’t all that bad.

This is a winner if you love the original and want to spend a couple of hours transported back to your childhood.  It’s still out in cinemas and due to be released on DVD and Blu-ray in June.

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