Beauty and the Beast

Anna Gowin, Features and Entertainment Editor

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From square one, Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” seemed primed to be an enormous success. With huge, recognizable names and the latest effects, the remake promised to be a smash hit even before it hit theaters. But, in the back of everyone’s mind seemed to be the same question: Could a reimagining of such a Disney classic do justice to the original while also providing enough of a new experience to justify today’s ticket prices?

The answer is complicated. There are so many things about this film that can be talked about, especially considering its over two-hour runtime. In fact, length is one of the moments where director Bill Condon seemed to miss the mark.

The amount of exposition and backstory that were added to both Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast’s (Dan Stevens) characters was a great addition, answering many audience questions about why the story’s events unfolded the way they did. Yet, with all of these additions (not to mention several new songs), the pacing of the movie felt rushed at parts and dragged at others.

Some of the additions felt completely unnecessary as well. For those of you who’ve seen the film, this is especially true for a certain attic scene. There are times when Condon could have let the audience’s imagination fill in the gaps for themselves but denied them that opportunity.

And while both Watson and Stevens are kind of picture-perfect in their roles, with a much more believable chemistry than could have ever been portrayed in the original, there are moments of obvious shortcoming for both. Watson is not a singer, and there are times when  it is easy to tell that her voice has been auto-tuned.

There are so many more things that could be singled out and criticized about this film, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to. At the end of the day, I found the film to be incredibly fun, which is all I can really ask for in a Disney movie. Condon’s remake was emotional and often incredibly beautiful.

“Beauty and the Beast,” for a Disney fan (even one who isn’t totally die-hard, like myself), is a wonderful experience. The visuals are stunning, with moments that deliver even more magic than the film’s animated predecessor. Not to mention some of the songs Alan Menken wrote for the film shine as much as some of the originals, “Evermore” specifically.

I laughed, and to be perfectly honest, I cried. I’m admittedly the kind of person who can cry pretty easily in movies, but the weight of the remake’s realism (while sometimes detracting from the magic earlier in the movie) resulted in an ending that’s utterly gutting to watch.

If you love the original, you’ll likely like, if not love, this new riff on “Beauty and the Beast” which is likely good news for Disney, as the live-action train sets its sights on film after film in the studio’s arsenal.

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Beauty and the Beast