There isn’t a woman alive between the ages of 30 and 50 who doesn’t have a special memory of the animated version of Beauty and The Beast. I remember hearing all about the groundbreaking CGI technology used to create that beautiful ballroom dance number in the film. At the time, animation purists were worried that type of technology would do away with traditional animation. And in a way, they were right.
Fast forward decades later and Disney is revisiting this classic tale in live action directed by Bill Condon. Belle (Emma Watson) and The Beast (Dan Stevens) are brought to life in a story that is faithful to the original. Disney invited me to a sneak peek of the new film and my own Belle wanted to dress up for the occasion.
And this time, it’s The Beast who is CGI.
Without giving too much away (because nobody likes spoilers!) I can tell you it’s a very spot on re-telling of the original. Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the screenplay and did a wonderful job of creating this real world that had previously only been in animated form.
The story was basically the same with the addition of a little more back story on Belle’s mother and The Beast’s family. I actually love that they did this because so often the “why” is left out of a lot of animated films. It draws us into their world a little more when we know where they come from and not just how a spell changed their destiny.
Visually the film nails the feeling of being in Provincial France. It’s colorful, dark, antiquated and the castle was brooding and magical. Many of the images from the film look like they could be paintings hanging in a French museum.
I will give a warning to parents of little ones who are easily frightened. If your child can handle the original film then they might be okay in this one. However, there are some scary parts when the wolves attack, and when the Beast first snarls and rages in the castle. My three-year-old covered her eyes for a minute, but was fine the rest of the movie.
There were also some really funny moments in the film that I wasn’t expecting. LeFou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans) played off of each other brilliantly bringing this bad boy duo to life. I don’t know what all the fuss was about with people getting upset over gay characters, because honestly you’d have to be really looking for them to notice it. I think some people just want to have drama for drama’s sake and I can tell you, there’s no drama here. Now move along.
Fun Facts about Beauty and The Beast:
Over 8,700 candles were used as set decoration during production
Ballroom floor in the Beast’s castle is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble
1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production
- The Enchanted Forest around Beast’s castle took 15 weeks to complete
Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through
The best part of this film for me was the feeling you get when you hear a song from your childhood and watch your own child sing along. The hairs on my arm stood up when Mrs. Potts sang “Tale as old as time”. The nostalgia this version conjures up is going to keep families watching this couple for decades to come.
Beauty and The Beast officially opens March 17th and also stars Kevin Kline, Sir Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson and Ewan McGregor.