Love and stories about love never go out of style. These types of stories make us sentimental, long for a lost love or a love that was never to be realized. Disney's Beauty and Beast stays true to form with this latest incarnation of "a tale as old as time"!
This beautiful version has been transported into the 21st Century maintaining the integrity of the original Disney film. Belle, clearly ahead of her time, is portrayed as inventive, industrious girl, who is more interested in finding out who she is. She has no interest in finding a husband or being a princess.
From the first frame to the last, I was in a serious ugly cry during many moments! I would be remiss if I did not give a huge shout out to my STL homie Kevin Kline, who's acting chops age like a fine wine. The chemistry between he and Emma Watson is palpable, endearing and rich. He kinda has that Gepetto thing going on from "Pinnochio".
Emma Watson is perfectly enchanting as Belle with just the right amount of vinegar sass and sugary sweetness to pull off this legendary character. Watson portrays Belle as a doll who has a great thirst for knowledge, a fighter, activist, and is the first modern Disney Princess. However, when she and Dan Stevens (The Beast) lock eyes it is fireworks from beginning to end.
Dan Stevens' Beast is initially is a bit dark and scary (ok for kids), but with the help of his friends (Mrs. Potts. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Garderobe, Plumette and Maestro Cadenza) his layers are removed and his heart is melted by the one he loves unconditionally.
Mostly cast with celebs who are not known for their vocal prowess (with the exception of the lovely Audra McDonald, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor and Josh Gad), they all seem to hold their own. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts was particularly impactful (though she can never do any wrong in my book). My all time favorites were Josh Gad (Lefou), Audra McDonald (Garderobe), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), who were adorably hilarious. Luke Evans is so perfectly cast as Gaston that when he meets his demise, the audience bursts into thunderous applause. Ya gotta love a juicy villain!
It was refreshing to see such a colorful cast. The characters are of different ethnicities, genders, and some were cheerfully flamboyant. It is a clear indication that Disney is opening the doors widely to diversity and embracing individuality. The Computer Generated (CG) animation was sophisticated and very much ALIVE! Lumiere, Cogsworth, and the other castle characters were true to the original version, with their distinct personalities brilliantly executed during “Be Our Guest” making it an absolute delight!!!