Movie Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017)

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast
© 2017 - Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Beauty, the Beast and PTSD? Hello moviegoers. Today I’ll be taking a look at “Beauty and the Beast” the live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, by Disney. This time around Emma Watson and Dan Stevens assume the titular roles and they are joined by a cast that includes almost everyone else. Really.

The movie starts as we know – with the casting of a spell. A young, mean-spirited prince shuns a poor woman who has the gall in intrude on his grand ball in search of shelter from inclement weather with merely a red rose to offer as gratitude.

For his behavior, he is turned into a hideous beast with an expensive education, and his staff are turned into assorted household objects circa the French colonial era, by this mysterious woman who turns out to be an enchantress. And the kicker is, the prince has to find true love before the final petal falls from this rose, or they will live the rest of their lives as beast and appliances. Not much else is known about the enchantress’ motivations. Maybe she just wanted to stick it to the upper crust of society.

Fast-forward to Belle’s (Emma Watson) village where she lives with her dad who is played by Kevin Kline. It is established that Belle is fearless. This is one of the traits that sets Belle apart from the other girls in the village and doesn’t go unnoticed by the village hunk Gaston. He is played Luke Evans and wants Belle’s hand in marriage.

The movie to this point is whimsical with bright colors and some musical sequences that didn’t really elevate the story for me. But does, introduce Josh Gad’s Lafou. He is Gaston’s more than flamboyant confidant which is made fairly obvious. However, their relationship is not explored any further.

The story doesn’t really get to where it is going until we return to the castle, where Belle races into the beast’s castle on horseback in search of her dad who has been taken prisoner for the crime of theft.

It isn’t long before the castle comes alive, literally. Belle is treated as the guest of honor by the staff of animated objects that are voiced by a bevy of stars, including Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and others. They are a delightful and fun lot all around, and wonder out loud if she could be the one to break the spell.

Meanwhile the village locals grow restlessness as they a whipped into a frenzy over the threat of the Beast by Gaston. His narcissism aside, Gaston’s outbursts and uneven behavior combined with his boasts of military conquest suggests that Gaston might suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – which doesn’t excuse him behavior, but might offer some context.

As the rest of the story unfolds we learn a little more about Belle and the beast whose character is served well by Dan Stevens is authentic. In reality, this beast with his gorgeous blue eyes isn’t hideous at all, but the idea is that the outside matches the inside. The musical sets also resonate more so in the second half of the film.

Director Bill Condon does about as good a job as you could expect with a movie about the love story of a beauty and a beast that comes with all the trappings of a bloated Hollywood production, and makes a movie that is still fun to watch and listen to for the most part.

This movie doesn’t take itself all that seriously and it shouldn’t have. I give “Beauty and the Beast” 3 ½ sweet potatoes out of 5. This has been Moviegoers’ View. Until next time, enjoy the movies.

Beauty and the Beast (2017):  3 ½ sweet potatoes out of 5
Actor:                    Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Dan Stevens,                                                 Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Josh Gad
Director:              Bill Condon
Writers:               Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Producers:          David Hoberman, Jeffrey Silver – Executive
Composer:          Alan Menken
Distributor:        Disney Studios
Genre:                  Fantasy/Musical
Rated:                   PG
Run Time:           129 minutes
Opens:                 Friday, March 17, 2017


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here