By McKenzie (Brigham City, Utah, USA)

 

A must see live-action version of Beauty and the Beast was directed skillfully by Bill Condon. The movie begins with a haughty prince (Dan Stevens) being cursed and turned into a Beast. Then the scene switches to Belle (played by Emma Watson) singing about how boring and predictable life is. Her father (Kevin Kline) is an artist and goes off to an art fair, leaving Belle home alone. He is caught amid wolves and races off to find himself at the Beast’s (Dan Stevens) castle, he picks a rose to bring home to Belle and the Beast takes him prisoner for it.

Belle finds him and takes his place. The Beast and Belle grudgingly get to know each other and eventually fall in love. Gaston (played by Luke Evans) meanwhile is trying to figure out how to convince Belle to marry him. He sends Maurice (Belle’s father) off to a mental institution, but Belle returns in time to save him. She shows the villagers the Beast through a magic mirror and they set off to kill the Beast. Belle returns to the castle as Gaston and the Beast begin to fight. Gaston shoots the Beast and kills him. Belle tells the Beast she loves him and the sorcerer takes the spell off him and he becomes human again. They live happily ever after.

My purpose in writing this critical review is to first; tell you what an amazing movie this is and how the directors, actors, and everyone in between did an incredible job of making this movie one that has blown away many viewers including myself. The movie is so akin to the original, but also has its own add-ins that make it the spectacular movie that it is. The second purpose is to explain what the directors could have done better. The accents for one could have been loads better and more French sounding. The singing would have been better if they wouldn’t have auto tuned Belle’s voice.

This movie is based in France so it is to be assumed that most of the characters are supposed to be French. In the movie those who seem to be the most French are the servants. However, compared to the original Disney film of Beauty and the Beast, the servants, most especially Lumiere does not sound as French as he should. Lumiere is one of the Beast’s servants turned into a candelabra. He is played by Ewan McGregor. Overall McGregor does a wonderful job, but his part needed something more, something more French sounding, like in the original movie.

The songs in Beauty and the Beast are marvelous. For example; the blend of voices in the mob song makes it sound as if death itself is knocking at your door. The song Evermore sung by the Beast is so deep and manly, but allows us to know the hurt that the Beast is experiencing as Belle rides away to save her father.

The song Lefou sings about Gaston to cheer Gaston up was sung with such vigor that you can’t help being amazed by Gaston yourself. Belle however is a different story. Emma Watson did not have much experience in singing when she was chosen to play the part of Belle, so to fix the mistakes she made in her vocal parts the directors decided to auto tune her voice. This makes her voice and singing sound so fake and it is very noticeable when she begins singing that they used auto tune. Overall I find this movie excellent and lacking only in these two areas.

Rating: 4/5

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