Let's Go To The Movies - Beauty and the Beast

We, and apparently the entire rest of the world, went out last weekend to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie.

A heartless prince (Dan Stevens) is turned into a beast and forced to live hidden away in his enchanted castle. The only way to break the curse is for him to learn to love and be loved in return. When a courageous and bright young woman, Belle (Emma Watson), comes to the castle looking for her imprisoned father; she agrees to take her father's place and stay forever with the Beast. Hopeful she may be the one to finally break the curse, the Beast's loyal servants do all they can to nurture Bell and the Beast's blossoming affection for each other before their time runs out.

As a huge fan of the 1991 animated original, I was so excited to for this reboot. I actually tend to get a little anxiety when I'm this excited to see a film. I worry it won't live up to my expectations and I'll end up be sorely disappointed.

I'm happy to say, Beauty and the Beast did not disappoint at all! It was everything I had hoped it would be. Yay!

It was first a complete visual feast for the eyes. I don't know which was better, the high Baroque costuming and ornate castle or the quaint, but oh-so provincial French village. Everything was just so pretty to look at.

Then there was the story that both honored the original, but was still different enough to set itself apart.

Emma Watson was a terrific Belle. I don't think she's been so well suited for a role since her Harry Potter days. Dan Stevens was able to humanize the beast remarkably well underneath all that CGI. Kevin Klein, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad all did amazing work as well. The "Gaston" number was so much fun!

The only flaw, I felt, was with the cast of characters who lived in the castle. In their attempt to make them extremely realistic looking, they lost a lot of what made them so, well...animated. Their faces were all so tiny and the expression and emotion of their words didn't always translate to screen. There were also quite a few times where I was very aware I was watching CGI. They did such a good job with everything else though that none of that really deters from the overall experience of the film. I mean, "Be Our Guest" was still pretty remarkable.

If you're a fan of the original, you'll most likely love this retelling too. It's a great family film (although it may be just a tad long for the under 6 crowd), it's a great nostalgia film, and it's a pretty great little musical too. Pure innocence and fun.

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