Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale. It was made to make one feel good. It succeeds.
I had a lovely time watching the movie. The plot is run of the mill, the execution is fun. Having a stellar cast does wonders for a film that would otherwise not particularly stand out. It begins with a prince (Dan Stevens – I still remember him as Edward from Sense and Sensibility before he gained fame from his playing the romantic Michael in Downton Abbey) and an enchantment, a pretty (I cannot in all fairness say Emma Watson is beautiful) girl caught in a provincial town, her father (the very versatile Kevin Kline) and her vain suitor (Luke Evans, Bard no more) who pursues her without remorse.
The supporting caste is the most noteworthy: Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, I was expecting a bit more from him, but whatever role he had he played it superbly. Ewan McGregor as Lumière is brilliant. And Emma Thompson as Ms Potts is astounding, I love Emma Thompson but here she excels, I didn’t even know she could sing!
The songs are wonderful. Some of the old melodies greet you like good friends and you smile when they are being sung. Kevin Kline’s character, Maurice, sings a few strains of the title track sung by Celine Dion and you wilt a little and flower a little when that happens. Dark undertones simmer briefly and they then burst with light. Such a fresh retake on what has already been done. My favourite song was Emma Thompson’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast”.
There was a controversy over the gay character, LeFou? Damn, people still have a problem with – a few quips and a possible gay encounter in the end on a dance floor, for the blink of an eye? People need to just sit back and take a chill pill.
The special effects are good, nothing like Kong, but hey, if you make a musical of a fairy tale, it should look like this. This is what I expect musicals to be… I know what was going to happen, but that didn’t make the movie any less appealing. In fact, I don’t mind going for it a second time.