Review: Beauty and the Beast live-action remake

When I first heard the rumours of a live-action remake of my favourite film of all time, Beauty and the Beast, I couldn’t contain my joy.

Fast-forward to a year later and a whopping $160 million dollar budget spent, I found myself in the cinemas giddy with anticipation, ready to mouth along every last word to my favourite Disney classic.

Knowing that the original film would be a formidable beast (pun intended) to recreate, I was somewhat skeptical. So many remakes these days fail to capture the original’s magic (cough, Karate Kid), however the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast was a pleasant surprise. Directed by Bill Condon, the film never failed to live up to the fairy tale's original allure.

What is the same, more importantly, is the quintessence of the story: one of transformative love, where two bookworms fall in love and learn that true beauty lies within.

Emma Watson sheds her Hermione cloak and don’s Belle’s iconic yellow dress as Disney’s second modern princess (Cinderella was first in 2015). While its hard to compare Watson's vocals with the original voice of Paige O’Hara, she delivers her melodies purely and sweetly throughout, in particular the ‘Little Town’ opening number. She charms her way through and injects just the right amount of feminism and sass.

Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame is cast as the Beast and has no problem belting out his parts in ‘Something There’ and new song ‘Evermore’. Cue goosebumps.

Then there’s the suave Lumière (Ewan McGregor) who brings ‘Be Our Guest’ alive in a theatrical spectacle that makes you feel as if you’re on an acid trip.

While we know the two main players of the film are Belle and the Beast, we must talk about the other dynamic duo: Gaston and LeFou. First of all, how sexy is Gaston? #amiright. Luke Evans plays the narcissist perfectly (I don't think his quiff was out of place the entire time) while his loveable sidekick played by Josh Gad, LeFou, is a standout. In fact, the banter was so strong I’d be inclined to watch a spin off with just these two.

So, what’s different about the remake?

Aside from the length, we’re treated to a prologue; an extravagant ball scene where we see the posh and entitled prince being showered in female attention. This is of course before the enchantress appears, cursing him to life as a beast and denounces his friends to household items (did anyone else find Chip’s smile totally terrifying?).

We were also treated to a backstory explaining how Belle’s mother died and offered a new character in the form of Cadenza, a harmonizing harpsichord. In addition, the narrative explains how the enchantress cast a spell over the villagers so they forgot about the existence of the prince's castle and all the subjects residing in it.

Disney fans will notice certain moments missing from the original, but I do suppose it would be a bit of a mission for Gaston to juggle and swallow 4 dozen eggs let alone get LeFou jumping heads.

Also, *SPOILER ALERT* there are no sheep by the fountain to eat Belle’s book.