“Beauty and the Beast”(2017) movie review

This live-action remake has been anticipated by many fans of the 1991 animated film.

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This live-action remake has been anticipated by many fans of the 1991 animated film.

Jesten Richardson, Editor-in-Chief

I have a passion for Disney that, according to my friends, borders on obsession, so there was no way in the world that I was going to miss the chance to see Disney’s new live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” I have seen it twice, actually, since its release, and I must say that it is a movie that deserves to be viewed and appreciated. Here is a quick synopsis:
In 18th century France, a spoiled prince is punished for his arrogance and cruelty by a sorceress who has posed as a disgruntled old woman to test him. The prince is beset with a curse, –one that turns him into a beast and his staff into the tools he treats them as– which will only be removed when the prince finds love and his affections are reciprocated. The prince has until the last petal of an enchanted rose falls to complete his task, yet with his preconceived notions about beauty, only a pure heart can save them all.
Let me just start by saying that the original Disney “Beauty and the Beast”, which was released in 1991, experienced great success, winning several Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys for its music, two Annies for its animation/overall composition and the hearts of fans from all over the globe. Keeping that in mind, imagine the success that this new live-action “Beauty and the Beast” will face, with so much hype and fan anticipation. The thought brings me intense excitement, and even more so because this movie is not just hitching on the coattails of the previous, but rather, it is improving upon the 1991 film in many ways.
In my opinion, one of the best things about the new film is that it gives us some new insight into the characters. Though the characters in the 1991 version were lovable and memorable, they lacked the depth and complexity of true human beings, so the director, producers and talented cast of actors –Emma Watson (“Harry Potter” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Dan Stevens (“Downtown Abbey” and “The Guest”), Josh Gad (“Frozen” and “Modern Family”), etc.– of this newer version beefed them up. For example, in the new movie, Belle is more than just a sweet bookworm; she is an independent woman who challenges the expectations placed on her by society. The Beast is no longer an over-aggressive brat with no reasoning for his terrible behavior; instead he has been transformed into a somber soul unable to escape the influence of his troublesome past. Even Gaston, his bumbling henchman Lefou, and Belle’s “crazy” father Maurice take on new elements that add reality and believability to their personalities.
In addition to beefing up the characters, the new “Beauty and the Beast” has taken the musicality up a notch by adding several new songs– some of which being the beautiful and emotional “Evermore”, the somber, yet hopeful “Days in the Sun” and the sweet and heartwarming “How Does a Moment Last Forever”. With pro song/score-writing team Allen Menken and Tim Rice taking over the project, the soundtrack was expanded, old songs were cleverly reworked and tribute was paid to deceased writing partner Howard Ashman.
I could keep the praise going on and on, yet I do not want to steal all of the wonder and surprises from this gem of a movie. I thoroughly recommend that everyone go see it. This is truly a movie for all generations.