Before the invention of VHS and DVD, Disney would play classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella” on the big screens for a short while before stashing them away for future revival. Then came the 1990s where home entertainment boomed bringing timeless delights of stunning animation straight to your doorstep. But Disney didn’t stop there.
First we witnessed breath taking West End productions, amusing TV spinoffs and charming interactive entertainment. However, it’s the move Disney made in 2010 that really made its mark. Amidst the hysteria of Angry Birds, Glee and Taylor Swift emerged Disney’s first live-action film, Alice in Wonderland directed by the wonderful Tim Burton.
It was an immediate success, topping the $1 billion box-office mark. Disney experimented with “Cinderella” in 2015 and “The Jungle Book” in 2016, but it was its 2017 remake of the 1991 Oscar winning box office topping “Beauty and the Beast” that stood out as the real beauty.
This superbly old fashioned remake is adorned with intricate details and stunning décor gleaming with golds and riches beyond your dreams. It goes beyond the expectations of a fairy-tale as old as time. Director Bill Condon (made famous for the two part Twilight finale Breaking Dawn) along with the team behind this tear-inducing extravaganza made little error in transforming the 26 year old classic into a musical like no other.
Near on 27 years ago the original animation broke into the Oscar’s cabinet walking away with the prize for best music with Alan Menken’s “Beauty and the Beast”, just missing out on the prestigious prize of Best Picture. The 2017 version takes this one step further, filling our screens with an all-out musical including a stunning rendition of “Tale as Old as Time” by Emma Thompson.
Emma Watson makes for the perfect Belle, capturing the inner beauty of one of Disney’s most precious princesses. All those years ago, Belle was nothing more than a drawing yet now she is the beautiful, confident and charming Emma Watson. She has Belle’s stubborn and stern nature but her sweet innocence sparkles through the screen.
Dan Stevens’ Prince Adam is a wicked success, hated instantly by the audience for his shallow, pettiness when met with the enchantress who curses him, his friends and his castle. Even as the towering thick-haired beast he woos the audience, succeeding in moving our hearts.
The plot bares next to no difference to that of its cartoon counterpart as Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) finds himself captured by the Beast (Dan Stevens) in the forbidden castle after taking a rose from the icy cold garden. On finding her father, Belle (Emma Watson) heroically offers to take his place and, with the help of some enchanted household objects, the two bookworms embark on a magical romance fuelled journey.
Lucky for us, the running time is 45 minutes longer than the original allowing for more music (three songs to be exact), intricate characterisation and the best all-round fun Disney’s live interpretations have brought us. Part of this extension is in the prologue which tells the tale of the Prince, the curse and the symbolic red rose with its faltering petals; we’re also treated to more on the death of Belle’s mother as well as her relationship with her dad, but this comes later.
The 1991 animated classic will always be iconic, but the additional background details, the beating heart of the music and the glittering décor and rich costumes form the foundations of this flawless live-action remake. Beauty and the Beast embodies the life and soul of the original, encapsulating the raw beauty and innocent magic of our forever loved Disney.