Title: Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Screenplay by: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Haydn Gwynne, and Père Robert
Music by: Alan Menken
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Running Time: 129 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action violence, peril, and frightening images
Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Mandeville Films
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognise the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.
After a long wait, Beauty and the Beast is finally here! I bought the ticket even one week before the film is released—right after the cinema announced the film tickets can be bought in advance. And of course, I chose to watch it the day the film is released, which is 17 March in Indonesia. I am super excited and have been wanting to watch this film since the moment they announced the film and Emma Watson is cast as Belle! Beauty and the Beast (1991) has been my absolute favourite Disney princess story thus far. Even though I love Princess Aurora, I always prefer the story in Beauty and the Beast. That is why I am so excited about this film. Seriously, the month of March can’t even get any better than this. After watching Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island (2017), now I can see my favourite actress of all time, Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast. Like Kong: Skull Island, I also watch Beauty and the Beast in IMAX 3D. It definitely makes the watching experience more entertaining and exciting. This is the second film with Beast in the title that I’ve been waiting for ages. The first one being Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016).
Before I start reviewing, let me warn you, this will be a very long post—I am not joking, I am bloody serious. I love this film so much, that’s why I am going to say as much as I can and show as many as I can. But don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything in particular. I’m assuming by now you all have watched the original Beauty and the Beast, but if you haven’t, still, I won’t spoil any major plot that will ruin your mood. I did give two trailers of this film because I can’t decide which trailer is best since I love all of them, so please spare me about that. Other than that, I promise no spoiler ahead.
Now, let’s talk about the film. Basically, this live-action film is the same as the original animated film. I will say 90 percent of the story is the same. However, they added some new plots that in my opinion, enlightened us in some particular ways. For example, the cursed is stronger than before and the reason why Maurice is captured by Beast is a more made sense in this live-action—you’ll get what all I mean once you watch the film. They also give us the background story of the Beast and also Belle’s. It’s not much but the story is enough to let us glimpse why Beast and Belle became the Beast and Belle we know now. According to what I heard and saw so many times in interviews and such, Emma Watson changed the role of Belle and her father. It’s not her father who is the inventor now, but it’s Belle. Smart move, I must say. It makes Belle’s character stronger, in my personal opinion. Emma Watson also helped the costume designer team to design Belle’s costume. Now that Belle’s an inventor, Emma Watson wanted her to look as real as possible. Everything that Belle wears, Emma Watson made sure it has a purpose.
As UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson also made sure that there’s a feminist side in this film too. To me, Belle is already a feminist. Even though she’s a romantic, she doesn’t think about Prince Charming all the time. She doesn’t even care to get or attract any Prince or even the most handsome guy in the village, Gaston. All she has ever wanted is to be free and learn as many things as possible. As Emma Watson was saying, “There’s this kind of outsider quality that Belle had and the fact she had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring.” Belle is indeed the first Disney princess who’s the heroine of the story. Instead of being helped by the prince, Belle is the one who helped the prince. Belle is really one of a kind Disney princess after all.
Emma Watson as Belle is the perfect fit. I really can’t imagine Belle is being played by another actress, like Kristen Stewart, Emma Roberts or even Lily Collins. I do love Lily Collins. She’s also very beautiful. However, the role of Belle must go to Emma Watson. She is just the right and the perfect person to portray the real life Belle after all. They have many things in common. They are beautiful, brave, and very smart. Of course, it also reminds us of the role that Emma Watson previously played. Hermione Granger in Harry Potter has indeed the same character as Belle. Both characters are brave, beautiful, and above all very smart. They also love books very much. It’s rare that an actor or actress can play two iconic roles but Emma Watson is very lucky to get the chance.
In terms of acting, it is no doubt that Emma Watson has a great talent. She is fantastic in the film. The way she talked, angry, laugh, and even cried are not without flaw, but they are perfect as far as I’m concerned. I felt every emotion that she showed in the film as Belle. Seeing that she used to play with CGI effect in Harry Potter films, I am pretty sure she’s very familiar with it by now. Therefore, she looked perfect even though she has to play and talk to nothing because the cursed household staff weren’t actually there. You can’t expect to see a real model of singing candle, clock, or teapot, right? So yep, Emma Watson played a really great job in playing along with the CGI effect. With great film editors, she did look like she really is talking to them. The singing part in the film is a bit tricky. I know a lot of people said that they used too much auto-tuned that Emma Watson doesn’t like Emma Watson at all. I am not an expert at music. I can’t even barely sing so I am not going to judge. But as far as I heard, it’s Emma Watson’s voice that sings the songs anyway. It sounds beautiful as well. If you’re asking about the pitch and so on, I don’t understand it. But as an amateur, I think her singing is beautiful as well. I mean, she’s not a singer, so a little bit of auto-tuned is not a big deal, to begin with. The fact that she was brave enough to sing, even though she has never sung before, isn’t that supposed the thing we should appreciate? Definitely doesn’t make her acting any less perfect than it already now, right? My favourite song sang by Emma Watson is perhaps Something There. The music is beautiful and to me, Emma Watson’s voice is all beautiful. I really love all the soundtrack. I keep on hearing the songs. They are all beautiful and magical combined.
I was so sad when Dan Stevens decided to leave Downton Abbey (2010-2015). Although to be honest, I wasn’t so excited when I heard he is cast as Beast. I prefer Luke Evans because I kind of like him become the good guy instead of the villain. Besides, at that time, I didn’t know anything about Dan Stevens. Surely I’ve seen him on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014). But I didn’t pay too much attention to his character as Sir Lancelot. Not until I watch Downton Abbey that I really pay attention to Dan Stevens. He’s gorgeous, by the way. And ever since, he has my blessing for portraying Beast. Surely the CGI is perfect that the Beast in this film looks pretty much flawless. He is somehow scarier than in the original animated film but also more human-like. Even the horns in his head look scarier than before. Dan Stevens’s facial expression as Beast is perfect and his acting is no doubt. I am sure it’s not easy to play a role that has to be put into CGI effect all the time. I am sure it’s hard for Dan Stevens to wear the costume and act at the same time. It wasn’t an easy job to do but he did it flawlessly anyway. I don’t know how they changed his original voice into Beast’s but it was a tremendous job since his voice is pretty much convincing as a Beast. Dan Stevens’s singing voice is pretty much really great as well. It’s even more interesting when he sang using the Beast’s voice.
Belle: I never thanked you for saving my life.
Beast: I never thanked you for not leaving me to be eaten by wolves.
I like the development of Beast and Belle’s relationship here better than the original film. I think it does make the reason why Belle finally falls in love with Beast more sense. The connection between them is there. That is why no wonder Belle is attracted to Beast. So I have to say that the way they fall in love with each other in this version Beauty and the Beast is definitely better than the original version. In this film, even the reason why no one knew about this castle is also being explained. I also like the fact that we got to see a glimpse of Belle’s mother and Beast’s parents. Why Belle became the way she is now and why Beast became the way he is now. This time, the filmmaker did make sure to fill in the gaps that were there in the original film. It’s a smart choice, to begin with. I know not everyone seems happy about this live-action Beauty and the Beast, but I am very satisfied with it.
I have never seen Luke Evans as a villain before. Last time in The Hobbit trilogy, he played one of the heroes too. I was kind of disappointed when I know he would play Gaston because unlike some antagonist characters, Gaston is indeed a true villain. However, the disappointment has gone right away after I’ve seen and know about Dan Stevens. My disappointment changed into curiosity. I think it would be exciting to see an actor that I like to play a villain once in awhile. I am very surprised at how good Luke Evans’s voice is. I don’t know he can sing like that. I already know Josh Gad—who played the character of Le Foun—can sing. Especially after he voiced Olaf in another Disney’s animated film, Frozen (2013). However, I never knew about Luke Evans can sing or not and I am so glad to say that he can and a very excellent one too!
What’s making me excited about Beauty and the Beast live-action film is not because of Emma Watson only. Sure she is the main reason, but there’s also another reason. It’s the household staff that was turned into household furniture. It’s easy to make talking furniture in animated film but to make it happen in a live-action film, is definitely not going to be easy. The animation team did a great job to make all the objects come to life. The CGI effect is indeed flawless. Although to be honest, I prefer the staffs in the original film. The staff did look unique and beautiful as household furniture, but they are funnier in the animation. Nevertheless, they still look fantastic to me. I am sure it’s not an easy thing to make it but they did a great job and pretty much very successful indeed.
“Now Lumière, as head of the household, I demand that you put her back in her cell at once!” – Cogsworth
I used to like Lumière more because he’s funnier, but in this film, I love Cogsworth. The clock looks so unique and beautiful than in the original Beauty and the Beast. Sir Ian McKellen surely did a great job in portraying Cogsworth. With his sharp tongue, he can be really funny too. It’s always entertaining to hear Sir Ian McKellen’s sarcastic comments. As for Ewan McGregor, his French accent sounds flawless to me. I don’t why he’s the only one who used French accent, even Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts still used her native accent. But well, I don’t mind it either anyway. I don’t like Emma Watson to change her British accent anyway. I just love the British accent. Her accent in particular. And besides, I was too caught with the film and the story to mind about the accent. The relationship between Lumière and Cogsworth is still as funny as ever, though, in this film, Cogsworth didn’t really as much as in the original film. Nonetheless, Cogsworth still as entertaining as ever. So do Lumière and Mrs Potts and Chips and every household staff. Besides the usual household staff, they also add a new member to the family, the palace’s musician named Cadenza, played by Stanley Tucci, who is cursed to become a harpsichord.
In my opinion, the castle is better than in the original Beauty and the Beast. Of course, because everything is real now, the set has become more beautiful than before. The design and the architecture of the castle look fantastic. Even the library looks better! As a bibliophile myself, I would definitely feel so extremely excited to see a library like that. The library is just amazing. The castle is also amazing. Simply put, the setting is bloody amazing. It’s jaw dropping. Surely the castle is really enchanting. I don’t know if it’s better than Hogwarts since well, Hogwarts is really full of magic, but Beast’s castle is truly magical in its own way. Aside from the castle, I also think that the village is set beautifully. It’s amazing to see how many people joined the production. It’s huge. All the sets and the scenery in this Beauty and the Beast are beautiful.
Seriously, I found it hard to decide which poster is the best poster, because I love them all just the same. They are all very beautiful! Since I can’t decide which one is better, please do spare me of giving all of the Beauty and the Beast poster. Perhaps my favourite poster is the one that shows Belle and Beast dancing. However, other posters are also very beautiful too! Seriously, I really can’t decide which one is the least favourite because all of them are jaw-dropping. Even the characters’ posters are very beautiful too. It’s also interesting that they also made motion posters for 11 characters. I’m just going to show you Belle’s and Beast’s poster but you should check out the other characters’ motion posters as well. I haven’t seen any motion poster before. At least not that I know of. That’s why I am so excited to see Beauty and the Beast’s motion poster now. I have to say they are amazing and enchanting.
The original Beauty and the Beast is the first ever animated film that has ever been nominated the Oscar for Best Picture, though they ended up going home with two other Oscars, Best Music Original Song and Best Music Original Score, still it’s a privilege to be the first animated film to be nominated in the biggest category of the annual award. The story is indeed great and so does the music. Beauty and the Beast sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson is one of my favourite songs from Disney princess. The first one being A Whole New World in Aladdin (1992) and my second favourite is Beauty and the Beast. However, I don’t know whether this version of Beauty and the Beast will be nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year again or in another category. I’m guessing it will get nominations in the costume design or the visual effect or the soundtrack category. Nevertheless, it will be nice if this Beauty and the Beast can win an Oscar even though it’s not the Best Picture category.
Like any other films, like The Young Victoria (2009), Crimson Peak (2015), Enchanted (2007), and Cinderella (2015), my favourite scene in Beauty and the Beast is also the dancing scene. I know it’s not an easy scene to do because Dan Stevens has to be put in CGI effect because he is still playing the Beast during that scene. He has to wear some 10-inch platforms or stilts that would make him taller while wearing some kind of suit covered with dots for motion capture and so the production team can turn him into Beast on the computer. That wasn’t easy for both Dan Stevens and Emma Watson. And the scene turns out to be so beautiful that my heart melts every time I see it. Every wallpaper in all of my gadgets is using the wallpaper of Belle and Beast dancing. Seriously, it is the most beautiful picture of the year. If someone sold me the poster, I would buy it in an instant. Yes, I am that in love with the scene. I’m in love with the film actually. The combination of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, and Luke Evans in one film is what made me love this film even more. It’s no secret that I love Emma Watson so much ever since the first Harry Potter film and I also like Luke Evans and Dan Stevens. And to see them in one film is just amazing.
I know there have been so many controversies about the iconic yellow dress. Many say the dress is not as good as in the original film. Some even say the dress is ugly. To me, the dress is really beautiful. Especially when you see the detail on it. The way the dress move every time Emma Watson made a twirl is beautiful. I kind of obsessed with it. I am still debating whether I like Cinderella’s dress or this dress better. The first time Disney released Cinderella’s dress in the live-action adaptation film, the dress became really phenomenal. It’s the dress that makes everyone obsessed with ball gown dress. Although this time Belle’s dress is not as wide or as huge as Cinderella’s, it is still beautiful. It flows beautifully every time Emma Watson made a move or twirl. The way the dress moves in each movement, in my personal opinion, is the reason why this dress is so beautiful and perhaps better than Cinderella’s. But still, I can’t pick which dress I would like to wear most. My answer will still both of them because both dresses are beautiful in their own way. This dress is also not easy to make, so I disagree if people said Belle’s dress is ugly. In my personal opinion, the dress is really beautiful. But then again, people can have their own opinion, right? I also like the fact that Emma Watson decided not to wear corsets for this ball gown dress.
Other than the iconic yellow dress, I also love the other dresses that Belle used in the film. Emma Watson also took part in designing the dress. She made sure the dress that Belle would wear is a dress that would make her life easier. She must have some kind of pockets because she’s an inventor and she likes to carry books everywhere. Belle must wear boots, not ballet pumps. Belle also wears bloomers so that she can not be trapped by the skirt. According to Emma Watson, these kinds of elements are a reminder of Belle’s will of freedom. She wants to make Belle a more modern Belle than the original Belle. Emma Watson doesn’t want to wear a corset so Belle can actually ride a horse. As a girl myself, I can imagine how hard it is to wear a corset while riding a horse. It’s already hard enough to wear it, let alone wearing it while riding a horse.
I guess Belle has become my number one princess and Princess Aurora has become my second favourite. Not that I am saying Elle Fanning is not beautiful enough to portray Princess Aurora in Maleficent (2014). It’s just I love Emma Watson so much that from now on, in my mind when I’m thinking of Belle, I will imagine her as Emma Watson.
All in all, this live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast basically has the same story line with the original film. However, there are some plots added into the film to fill in the gaps from the original film and I think it’s a smart move, thus making this film has a better complete story. There are some funny moments as well that will make you smile and eventually laugh too. Emma Watson really perfect for the role of Belle. Her acting is great and so does Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and the other casts as well. The CGI effect is perfect, the iconic yellow dress is beautiful, the castle and the village are beautiful and amazing, the songs—the new ones and the old ones—are great, everything about this film is just fantastic, magical, and breathtaking. I love love love it so much. I really do. At the end of the day, Belle really is a role model to every girl everywhere. She is intelligent, brave, and non-judgemental.
I give Beauty and the Beast 10 out of 10 stars. This tale as old as time is just magical, enchanting, and mesmerising.