Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast would have to be my all time favourite Disney animated movie so as soon as I heard that they were making a live action movie I knew that I would be making a trip to the cinema.

I’m not sure what the most magical thing about the animated classic is; the music, the magic or the library. Ok, I’m sure.. it’s the library.

The classic is magical, it’s a movie I have watched countless times and I have passed my love of Belle and the Beast to my children. The live action was announced and I announced to my family that I was going – the children all put up their hand to come with me, in the end only Miss 13 (and the baby) joined me.

I must say that I was a little sceptical, how were they going to capture the magic and was it possible to do this movie justice. I think they did a wonderful job and I look forward to watching this one again and again.

Emma Watson as Belle was, I think, an interesting casting choice. She will always be Hermione Granger to me but she made a very convincing Belle.  I think her voice was spot on and she sang beautifully. Belle is an intelligent young woman with big dreams and before her time so she still has quite a bit in common with Hermione.

The setting was just gorgeous and the castle was beautifully dark and cavernous. They certainly captured the atmosphere of the movie.

I was impressed that there were no glaring omissions, I feel quite confident in saying that it was very true to the animated classic. There was one scene that was changed near the end of the movie that I missed but Belle’s father had a slightly different profession so they needed to change it.

There were a couple of additions that I was really thrilled with, though I’m sure not everyone was. The movie begins with a party where we meet the prince in his vain and selfish ways, giving us a little more insight into his early character than we previously had. Belle’s mother is also introduced, we knew nothing about her previously. I loved the extra insight into our characters afforded by the additions but I know there are some who thought that it ended up dragging a little and became too long.

Two hours nineteen minutes is quite long, especially for a movie that is going to capture children because their attention span doesn’t always stretch that far.

Then there was the whole ‘gay controversy’, now I had thought it was all surrounding a gay kiss that was included in the movie. Imagine my surprise when it was such a non-event. Granted, LeFou is definitely more flamboyant than he  was in the animated classic but he was definitely Gaston’s biggest fan then too so perhaps it’s just a little more obvious this time. The openly gay moment was far from controversial and I think if it hadn’t been made such a fuss of it would have passed totally unnoticed. My teen certainly didn’t register it until I mentioned it.

I loved everything about this movie, except the distinct lack of books when Belle was borrowing in the village. The library was everything I dreamed it would be, but it was a lot darker than the animated classic. There were a multitude of books though.

My heart was certainly touched, the magic was definitely in the air and I would be more than happy to see this again on the big screen – and I will definitely be watching again at home.

If you are a fan of the Disney animated classic I think you will love this and it is destined to bring a whole new generation of audiences to love the story.

Beauty and the Beast is in cinemas now so head out with the kids these holidays and spoil yourself.

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