Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

This weekend, director Bill Condon brings another Disney classic to the big screen with a live-action twist.

As one of 2017’s most anticipated films of the year, “Beauty and the Beast,” came out of the gates strong at the box office making $16.3 million exclusively during Thursday night’s pre-screenings across the United States only.  As the weekend progresses, the movie is expected to make record-breaking profits off this opening weekend alone, according to boxofficemojo.com.

“Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson as Belle, alongside Dan Stevens playing the Beast.  While apprehension typically lingers whenever Watson is cast as a character other than her best-known role as Hermione Granger, playing Belle was one of her best performances, perhaps attributed to the parallels between Belle’s and Watson’s shared independent and strong-willed character, or that the fans of Watson will be impressed over a jaw-dropping vocal performance throughout the film.

The film was successful in both staying loyal to the original features of the animated picture while adding its own unique attributes.

The story began with a more detailed setting of the Beast’s life before the curse was set on the castle as compared to the animated picture.  In this prologue scene, the price, who later becomes the Beast, is introduced as the prince who lives in a large castle and hosts some of the most extravagant balls and parties.  It is at one of these parties that the Beast and the rest of the castle is placed under the curse due to what is noted as a “cold-hearted” deed.

The plot continues to hold true to its animated version, but with the help of some new characters the production team created for this film.  As far as the household items go, Condon introduces “Cadenza,” a harpsichord that assists in the musical telling of the story.  We also briefly meet Belle’s mother, who was unfortunately lost due to the plague.

Curious as to how the animation was going to result for characters like the Beast and the household items, I was impressed with how sophisticated they turned out and how reminiscent they were of 19th-century French aesthetic.  The characters requiring animation did not look too fictional, while also trying to appear as enchanted objects.

The iconic number, “Be Our Guest,” was the most magical and colorful scene of the movie.  The scene begins with Lumiere, the candelabra, singing the opening verse to Belle.  As the number progresses, more household items appear in the room and the colors and special effects become more elaborate.  By the end of this scene, there are duster feathers swimming in synchronized patterns, fireworks going off as Lumiere struts down the dining room table one final time toward Belle before the number’s big finish.

According to Vanity Fair, Condon mentions Disney was hesitant on him making this film into a musical.  Condon was able to convince the studio otherwise, and audiences will likely be thankful for it.  I could not imagine myself leaving the theater without the urge to hum “Be Our Guest.”


Lucille Littlefield is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucille.littlefield@uconn.edu.