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Review: Disney live action adaptation leaves audiences satisfied

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New film remains a ‘tale as old as time’

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A live action remake of the classic Disney story, Beauty and the Beast” demonstrates the power of true love as the beastly prince must win the affection of the imprisoned Belle before his curse becomes final.

Director Bill Condon delivers a faithful retelling of the original animated film. From widespread shots revealing large set designs and dialogue directly from the original movie, Condon presents a successful and captivating adaptation, yet fails to impress as anything greater than a simple retelling of the well-known story. While Condon’s direction shines in the simple details of the film, the few actions scenes feel rushed and lack a clear focus.

The film features a solid balance of heartfelt character interactions and witty comedy across its star studded cast. Charismatic actors shine under Condon’s direction and the chemistry between the cast is evident throughout the film. Emma Watson plays the lead as Belle, the daughter of an aristocrat whose brilliance is under appreciated by her small village, and who becomes the prisoner of the Beast. Watson does a nice job of portraying the character close to how she is presented in the original film.

Dan Stevens plays the Beast with varied success. Stevens demonstrates the tragedy that plagues the Beast and his arrogance that follows, yet falls short by delivering a forced performance in the dramatic scenes. Luke Evans provides an admirable performance as the antagonist, Gaston. Evans boasts over-exaggerated narcissism and confidence, perfectly fitting the film’s themes as a fairy tale.

The greatest success of the movie is the performances and on-screen chemistry of the castle’s transformed staff. The majority of the film’s show stealing scenes come at the heels of the portrayals given by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as the lovable servants, Lumiere and Cogsworth, respectively. The two shine as polar opposites, whose tension provides the majority of the film’s comedy. The two excel at performing faithfully to the original characters’ personalities. McGregor voices Lumiere with finesse and charm, while McKellan performs the strict and orderly Cogsworth with ease.

The music, adapted from the original film, is performed well by the ensemble cast and brought to life with lively, well choreographed dances. The musical numbers and vocals are faithful and adapted directly from the original film, much like many other aspects of the movie. The songs bring a classical element to the movie, providing a nice homage to the original film. “Be our Guest” serves as the peak of the film’s musical numbers.

Despite its successes, “Beauty and the Beast” falls flat in providing anything more than a direct, live action adaption. Few original aspects of the film remain, leaving the film as a standard and lackluster movie-going experience.

While fans of the original tale will appreciate the faithful adaptation, Disney’s live action version falls short of transcending the common faults of remakes. Nonetheless, the film’s cast and classical themes make the adaption an adequate motion picture for audiences to enjoy.  

“Beauty and the Beast”: 3/5

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Review: Disney live action adaptation leaves audiences satisfied