Beauty and the Beast Movie Review
Check out Kidzworld’s take on the new Beauty and the Beast. Does Emma Watson make a great Belle? Is her yellow ball gown amazing? Is Dan Stevens charming as the Beast? Read the movie review.
By: Lynn Barker
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle (Emma Watson) is a pretty, smart, independent, book-loving young woman who just doesn’t fit in with the folks in her country village. Beast (Dan Stevens) used to be a prince until he was cursed by an enchantress for his unfeeling cruelty and inability to really love. Now, as an isolated Beast in his castle, the former prince doesn’t fit in…anywhere. Can these two misfits find a life together?
One winter in France, a handsome but vain and self-centered prince (Dan Stevens) hosts a ball at his castle. When an old beggar woman enters offering a beautiful rose in exchange for shelter, the prince turns her away based on her ugly appearance. Realizing that this prince has no ability to care or love, the “hag” turns into her true self, a gorgeous enchantress and curses him to be a scary Beast and all his servants to be household objects. She enchants the rose, telling the prince/beast that if he can’t learn to love and have love returned before the last petal falls, he and his servants will remain cursed forever!
Enter Belle, Dad and Beast
Many years later, in the village of Villenueve, a smart, inventive, pretty and studious young woman named Belle (Emma Watson) takes care of her protective, clockmaker dad Maurice (Kevin Kline), endures the disdain of the boring townspeople and rejects the advances of cocky, self-centered ex-soldier Gaston (Luke Evans) who is determined to marry her. When Maurice goes to market, he takes a wrong turn in a storm, is attacked by wolves in an enchanted forest and ends up at a weird castle where a teacup talks to him! He rushes away but not before plucking a rose from the garden for his daughter. This ticks off Beast who locks him away as a thief.
Belle to the Rescue
When dad’s horse returns without him, Belle rides to find him, finds the castle and discovers Maurice locked up there. The Beast appears and, after initial shock, Belle pleads with him for dad’s release. She offers to take his place and locks herself in dad’s cell. Maurice is returned to the village but Gaston and others think his tale of a monstrous Beast in a mysterious castle with talking teacups is madness.
At the Castle
Sad Belle is locked in a dungeon but talking candelabra Lumiere (voice of Ewan McGregor) puts her in a nice room and asks her to dinner. Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), now a mantle clock worries that Beast/prince will be really angry. Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) now a teapot, her son Chip (Nathan Mack) the teacup, court composer, Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci) who was turned into a harpsichord and his wife and opera singer, Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald), now a wardrobe and the maid/Lumiere’s girlfriend Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a feather duster, all invite Belle to “Be Our Guest”.
Gradually, the Beast warms to Belle and she to him and they have a wonderful dance together. Meanwhile, Gaston still thinks Maurice is nuts and ties him to a tree where the enchantress who cursed the Beast releases him. His cold heart thawing, Beast allows Belle to leave the castle to care for her sick dad but Gaston and an angry mob of townspeople still think the story is nuts and prepare to send Dad to an insane asylum with Belle at his side. People can’t find out that Gaston tied Maurice to a tree to die. Belle still won’t marry Gaston for her and dad’s freedom. Belle shows everyone the Beast through his magic mirror that he let her borrow. The frightened townspeople won’t listen to her insistence that the Beast is kind!
Kill the Beast
With the town led by Gaston heading to kill him, Beast, without Belle, doesn’t care if he lives. He realizes he loves Belle but she’ll never love him. Belle and her dad pick the lock of their cage and escape but not before the townspeople are at the castle and driven back by the defending furniture and other cursed objects there. Will Gaston alone kill the Beast? Will Belle be able to save the Beast? Will she admit she loves him before the last rose petal falls? Will the servants return to their human state? What do you think?
The new Beauty and the Beast is beautiful to look at with Disney’s usual attention to great detail in sets, locations, costumes etc. It follows the original story of the 1991 animated film perhaps too closely to be very updated. Whereas director/actor Kenneth Branagh re-worked Disney’s Cinderella, director Bill Condon pretty much sticks to the basic storyline.
A few nice updates are Belle now being an inventor of sorts and teaching the village kids to read and her learning, through her dad and Beast’s magical mirror, how her mother died in Paris when Belle was only a baby. There are also a few light gay references and characters that should not offend anyone and, by tale’s end, we see a few mixed-race couples that make the story keep up with our times.
The old songs you might know and love are there plus three new ones (“Evermore” sung by Beast, “How Does a Moment Last?” by Belle’s father then later Belle and “Days in the Sun” sung by the castle objects as they are losing their humanity). All are pleasantly agreeable but don’t knock your music-loving socks off.
The cast is overall quite good. Emma does a great job of portraying Belle AND that’s her singing, people, even if her voice isn’t as pure and powerful as Paige O’Hara’s in the animated version. You go girl! Josh Gad as the gay LeFou, has some great comic moments and even Belle makes us chuckle by trying to talk to a hairbrush in the Beast’s castle once she learns most objects are “alive” and asking the finally “un-cursed” prince how he’d feel about growing a beard since it was Beast she fell for. Luke Evans is effective as the pompous and cruel Gaston and Dan Stevens has some nice moments as Beast.
Overall, those who never saw the 1991 animated version will probably be delighted by the whole film. There are a few lackluster moments but we think you’ll be greatly entertained. We go four stars.
Beauty and the Beast Movie Rating:
Beauty and the Beast is in theaters now!
Have Your Say
Are you enchanted by the original 1991 animated version of the film? Do you like the cast picked for the new live-action movie? Do you remember any of the songs? Leave comments below!