Movie Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’
If you’re a fan of Disney’s original Beauty and the Beast or any of of the live-action update’s stars – of which there are many – you’re going to love Beauty and the Beast. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Now, I know a lot of people have been complaining about the auto tune used in the movie, but I’m just going to be honest – I couldn’t care less. Should they have gotten Broadway-caliber singers or at least used dubbing? Perhaps. But Emma Watson is basically a real-life Belle, so… who cares?
She breathes new life into the character, who, in this reimagining, is a feminist inventor who tries to liberate the village’s girls from their laundry chores so they can learn.
At one point she even drops the famous yellow dress on the ground while on horseback, as she charges off to save the day. It’s reminiscent of Drew Barrymore in Ever After when she ignores her “indecency” to carry her prince to safety on her shoulders. Of course… Emma’s was just replaced with a slightly more casual dress, but baby steps I guess.
Meanwhile, Gaston and LeFou really steal the show. Josh Gad is hilarious as Gaston’s overzealous lackey LeFou. He gives depth to the famous sidekick, imbuing him with a conscience, as he begins to question his beloved mentor as the film goes on and his misdeeds become more and more wicked. Of course, after all of the publicity it’d be hard to mention LeFou without discussing the film’s “exclusively gay moment.”
Let’s be real: it’s about a second long. The theater did burst into applause though. There were three moments throughout the film that either hinted at LeFou’s romantic love for Gaston or suggested something slightly less than status quo for Disney. But it’s hardly anything game-changing, and certainly not scandalous enough to warrant cancelled screenings. But there’s no accounting for taste, or closed-minded views…
Luke Evans made a charmingly likable Gaston, able to cull the audience’s favor even after staring directly into a mirror and telling his reflection, “I’m not finished with you yet,” before walking off. Though he gets more desperate and therefore, more villainous throughout the film, Evans manages to play him with a subtle insecurity that keeps him likable. Hell, for most of the film he seems more dimwitted than actually evil.
Another iconic bromance – Cogsworth and Lumiére – is brought to life enchantingly by Ian McKellan and Ewan McGregor. Actually, every member of the castle staff-turned-household object is amazing. Emma Thompson is pure joy as the bubbly, nurturing Mrs. Potts, and Nathan Mack is absolutely adorable as Chips.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is stunning, and makes for a mesmerizing Plumette. Audra McDonald is a riot as Madame Garderobe and Stanley Tucci is a delight as her beloved, Maestro Cadenza, but I would expect nothing less. I could go on and on.
Bottom line – if you like Beauty and the Beast, you’re gonna love this reboot, which is a magical expansion of the tale you know and love.
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