It seems like everyone has been really worried about the live action retelling of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. After all, the 1991 animated version is such a classic that many might believe this new iteration could ‘ruin their childhood’.
The first thing to note is that no remake can have an adverse effect on your childhood, and that the original will always be there to comfort you should you need it. The second thing is that none of that matters anyway, because this new Beauty and the Beast is brilliant.
What will hit you between the eyes is how wonderfully Disney have amalgamated the feeling of Golden Age Hollywood with contemporary visuals and scale. There are songs and choreography that feel rooted in theatrical tradition, blended with effects and camera shots that could only be achieved in 2017. Throw these elements into a timeless story and you get that rarest of gems: a film that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age.
Something I had been worried about was the singing ability of Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. These are not trained singers, and whilst that wasn’t an issue for fellow non-singers Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land (because the song’s called for a more naturalistic style), in a Disney musical, filled with show-stopping numbers, you really need a good set of pipes. However both do a good job, and the filmmakers are smart enough to know where their weak spots are, and so to pepper in myriad harmony lines and layered vocals to add depth and support.
How are the songs?
All the classics are delivered with stunning orchestral arrangement and vocal recordings that build to almost impossibly loud crescendos. There are also a couple of new songs, which fit nicely into the mix as if they had always been there, and with one in particular (a lament sung by the Beast) being right up there with the favourites in terms of quality and emotional heart.
The standout song for me was 'Gaston', the song that you will remember as being the moment the muscle bound moron has his ego massaged by everyone in the local tavern. Here Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou truly steal the show; the scene itself feels the most like the original cartoon being brought to life.
Should you go and see it?
Obviously yes! Go now! Stop reading and go to a cinema. Like all the best films this deserves to be seen on a big screen, with loud speakers blasting the songs and no distractions to pull you away from the story. 2017 has already been a great year for musicals, and with the success of Beauty and the Beast and La La Land, I’m pretty sure there will be a lot more to come.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a musical to perform in your school or theatre group, click HERE and be our guest!