Verdict: A visual delight led by Emma Watson
This Disney live-action adaptation has been long-awaited and it has been well worth the wait. Beauty and the Beast is a gorgeous movie that will take your breath away. Emma Watson is the star who carries the whole movie which is full of CGI-generated magic.
Belle is Emma Watson's biggest role since Hermione in the Harry Potter series, and she exceeds expectations. Her singing voice is beautiful and with Beauty and the Beast, she has officially joined the ranks of Disney princesses.
Belle is the most beautiful girl in the village, but quite unlike any other peasant girl. She longs for adventure and something more than the 'provincial life'. All of the villagers consider her odd, except her father, a bookseller, and Gatson (Luke Evans). Gatson is handsome, but fallibly vain. He has his heart set on Belle, who consistently rejects her advances. Belle is strong, confident, and when her father, Maurice, gets lost, she goes in search for him that leads her to the castle of the Beast (Dan Stevens).
The tale is as old as time, so there are few unexpected moments, but Beauty and the Beast certainly has a fresh take that has been updated for the modern audience. There are people of color in the cast and a self-aware quality common in Hollywood. It's funny in ways you'd never expect and heart-warming in the rest.
Beauty and the Beast is filled with great actors, and while many of them largely only do voice acting, you can't imagine anyone else to do a better job. Cogsworth (Ian McKellan) and Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) enjoy a friendly banter. The two provide a contrast to the motherly Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and even her son, the teacup, Chip (Nathan Mack) is adorable. Even LeFou (Josh Gad) gets his moments when he becomes more than just Gaston's sidekick.
Bill Condon made a great choice of focusing on the musical aspect of the film, retaining a large amount of what made the 1991 movie so special. Whether or not you watched the original, this movie will familiarize you with classic songs and three new ones. The Beast gets his own song, and Dan Stevens sings it well.
The special effects bring the magic of the fairytale to life. CGI is brilliantly used and humanizes all the characters that were once human, and now are merely objects around the castle. The castle itself is magnificent. The first view of the icy architecture is simply stunning. From the rose petal falling away and immediately decaying to the hulking Beast, every single detail is realistic. If you were unconvinced of the magic of Disney, Beauty and the Beast will make you believe again.
It all leads to a thrilling fight sequence when Gaston and the Beast battle for their lives. The ending ties all the loose ends and couldn't have been any sweeter without being wrapped in a honey-dipped bow. Celine Dion's familiar voice sings the last song into the credits and you will leave the movie with a wide smile.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
For those who have grown up with Disney, Beauty and the Beast will take you back to your childhood when fairytales made you light up with wonder. It is wholesome, family entertainment that you can enjoy with everyone.