“Beauty and the Beast” Returns

(“Beauty and the Beast,” brings the nostalgic Disney magic back to the screen with a few new twists. Walt Disney Pictures)

A remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, was released on March 17, grossing over $700 million worldwide, according to Forbes.com.

The film features a cast of characters played by well-known actors and actresses, including Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor.

As the film began the reliance on CGI was apparent. Many of the musical segments featured whimsical and detailed special effects to enhance the viewer’s experience. Songs such as “Be Our Guest” used the enchanted household objects to create a surreal setting for the musical numbers.

Overall, the score and lyrics were wonderful. All the original songs were worked into the film, with a few additions adapted from the musical “Beauty and the Beast.” Many of the actors – Gad and Audra McDonald come to mind immediately – carried the film with their strong vocal performances.

During the promotion of this film, Watson stressed the importance of strong female characters, and her performance echoed this sentiment. Her rendition of Belle made the main character out to be more independent and outspoken than the original Disney princess.

For the most part, there was clear chemistry among the characters. The relationship between Gaston and LeFou was flushed out by the creators of the remake, taking the awkward and adoring LeFou to extraneous levels.

Simultaneously, there was a clear disconnect between Belle and the Beast. Many of the scenes between them were stilted and awkward, making it hard to follow and believe the budding romance between the two. Chalk it up to the awkwardness of a romance between a human and a CGI animal.

Like one of the more recent Disney remakes “Cinderella,” the costume design in this film was intricate and beautiful. The costumes accurately reflected those in the original “Beauty and the Beast,” but added an additional flare and more modern style.

Though I support the casting choice of Watson as Belle, her vocals simply could not compare to the rest of the cast’s. Her song “Belle” was nostalgic and sweet, but the vocals performed by Gad in “Gaston” and Emma Thompson in “Beauty and the Beast” outshone her.

Overall, this movie was a fun film to revisit. Hearing audience members sing along to fan favorite songs in the theater was an, albeit annoying, but reminiscent experience of when the original “Beauty and the Beast” was still popular among the young age groups.

This film serves its purpose as a cute movie with quirky characters played by well-known stars. I don’t expect this film to receive any awards or accolades, but Disney has stayed true to its original film and recreated a timeless classic that can be enjoyed by any Disney fan.

Grade: B

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