The real question I’ve been asking myself for two years is: How is Disney going to pull off remaking one of their most magical animated classics “Beauty and the Beast” into a live action film? I trust their judgement, especially since Kenneth Branagh got the Prince to actually take action in “Cinderella” and Jon Favreau got a team of pros to make the animals look real in “The Jungle Book.” Now we have director Bill Condon to make a “Beauty and the Beast” remake, which comes as close to the 1991 animated classic.
You know the story: an unkind prince (Dan Stevens) is cursed into a beast by an enchantress (Haittie Morahan), who tells him that he must learn to love another and earn her love in return in order to become human again. You also know the story of Belle (Emma Watson), the only bookworm in her village, whose father (Kevin Kline) ends up being the Beast’s prisoner, and decides to take his place. And you also know the villain Gaston (Luke Evans), who plans to marry Belle, and his sidekick Le Fou (Josh Gad), who, much to controversy, is attracted to him.
The supporting characters also include the Beast’s servants: the clock Cogsworth (Ian McKellan), the candelabra Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), his feather duster amour Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the teapot Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), her teacup son Chip (Nathan Mack), the opera singing wardrobe Garderobe (Audra McDonald), and, what was originally and unused character, her harpsichord husband Candenza (Stanley Tucci). All of them are visually stunning and delightfully acted, to say the least.
This obviously will never top the animated classic, which was the first of its kind to take home a Golden Globe, but it has enough to keep fans entertained. The movie adds more songs (“Evermore” is my favorite out of all the new ones), more cruelty to the villain, fine acting, a good sense of humor, and wise explanations for how the misnamed lovers came to be. Not all the covers are perfect, but some manage to keep the original magic of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. Now my question of how they are going to pull this off has been answered.