Review: Beauty and the Beast

4.5 stars

The much anticipated Beauty and the Beast remake hit cinemas on Friday and for a 90s child who grew up wishing she was Belle, it was wonderful.

The film does a fantastic job of recreating the best moments from the original, while embellishing the story with elements from the original tale and introducing some new moments to make it original.

The cast was stellar; Emma Watson channelled the book-worm we all know and love perfectly, bringing the feminism she is so well known for into some wonderful moments which make Belle an even more feisty heroine. Gaston and Le Fou make a hilarious pair, with the blantant misogynism tempered by well-placed humour.

This version’s Beast is more cantankerous than terrifying, despite the CGI revamp with horns – but then it is easier to see why Belle can fall in love with him, as he becomes less her captor than a victim also.

The CGI was incredible, with the servant characters looking more ornate than ever and the castle truly magical. Stylistically, references to the period through costume, wigs and make-up helped to root the tale in a setting. The songs did justice to their predecessors, so much so that a stalwart fan might find themselves mouthing along. As a bookworm, I appreciated the small nods to the original tale, which help to unite and embellish symbols from the cartoon. Equally newer elements helped to bring out more backstory, particularly around Belle’s mother, giving the whole story more substance, which it really needs to carry as a more three-dimensional live action piece.

There were a few moments where I was frustrated at moments from the original that were omitted, or missed opportunities to be just a little more feminist. However, it is an adaptation, not a complete transposition of the cartoon, and equally it can’t please everyone. All in all it was a wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory road and a fantastic new experience all at the same time.

 

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