This weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down to watch Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, a remake of the classic timeless tale, but in live action. Since 2010, Disney have been remaking their classic stories in live action format from Alice in Wonderland, to Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book. While it’s some time since I’ve watched the original Beauty and the Beast, it held some sentimental value for me this weekend, which I will explain.
Beauty and the Beast first arrived in Irish cinemas in 1992, and was in fact the first movie I had ever seen in a cinema. It was magical. True Disney magic. With the gorgeous visuals, who can ever forget that chandelier during the ballroom dance? Then there were the Disney staples such as the singalongs, the talking furniture and comedic moments. The live action version brought back all of these feels and lived up to what I remembered about the original animation.
I’m generally not a fan of musicals. I remember going to see Moulin Rouge in 2001, completely unaware of what it was, and I felt uncomfortable watching the singing. It just doesn’t do it for me. Sure, I love School of Rock and Band Slam, but they’re different.
With Beauty and the Beast, you’re practically thrown into a musical from the get go, with enough dialogue and general conversation thrown into the mix. During one of the musical moments, it made me realise why the movie was in fact two hours long, as the half a dozen songs take upwards of five or six minutes each, slowing down the movie’s progression.
If you’re new to the tale of Beauty and the Beast, let me fill you in real quick, without any obvious spoilers. The story revolves around a countryside girl called Belle, who yearns for more in life. She eventually runs into a Beast, previously a prince in a giant castle who was put under a spell by an enchantress, which affected all residents of the manor. Some turned into teapots and cups, some into candlesticks, wardrobes and napkins, and so on.
It’s up to the beast to find love to break the spell, but it’s not easy when you’ve practically given up on life and find it hard to talk to someone without scaring them away. With time running out, and the residents of the house questionably avoiding to tell Belle how to break the spell, will true love blossom between these two? Oh, don’t look at the movie’s box cover if you want to avoid spoilers.
Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the beast were absolutely fine. I had no problems with their performances and I’m not going to question their singing, as I’m not one to be too critical of musicals, but I didn’t find a problem with either in this case. The songs were also fine, the choreography and costumes, and the visual effects were fine too. The wolves that attacked the characters throughout the story were clearly ‘cartoon-ish’ in their appearance, but it’s a Disney movie. I didn’t question their look.
If anything, I feel like there could have been a few more moments of comedy thrown in. I didn’t break out with laughter enough, with one memorable scene involving snowballs being the highlight for me. It was adorable to watch, a real throwback, and certainly one for the whole family. However, hearing kids talking throughout the movie wasn’t the most enjoyable experience in a packed cinema.
Overall, I feel it was a good watch. It didn’t break the mould already set in stone by Disney, and I didn’t expect anything else. In a generation that has us watching our favourite superheroes come to life on the big screen in the mainstream, and Disney continuing to roll out their tales of yesteryear in live action, I can honestly say that we’re living in a good time.
Treat yourself to some Disney magic.