Review by RCR’s Entertainment Writer, Laura Sirikul
Follow her on Twitter @lsirikul
There is something enchanting about the tale as old as time when we see it come to life in a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. We imagine our Beauty, the Beast, Gaston, and the many kitchen and housewares in the flesh singing our favorite songs from the classic 1991 animated film.
Of course, the Bill Condon-directed film has fleshed out the characters even more. Our heroine Belle has a backstory where we eventually learned happened to her mother. The Beast also had a backstory which described just how he became a selfish prince before becoming the Beast. It was not really necessary, but it did add some time and beautiful music to the film.
Emma Watson, who isn’t a stranger to working with CGI, looked the part of Belle. Watson is absolutely stunning in the iconic yellow dress, but sadly, her voice was a bit underwhelming for what the audience would expect from a Disney Princess movie. Dan Stevens certainly looked the part of a handsome prince, outside of the CGI, but his singing capability was hard to tell under the autotune used to create a beastly sound alongside his voice.
Although the story is about Belle and the Beast, one could not help but be mesmerized by the secondary characters. Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou, played perfectly by Josh Gad, were the scene stealers for every moment we saw them. Gad was mesmerizing in his role as the sidekick with his smooth voice, witty lines, and charismatic nature. Evans and Gad had such a strong chemistry throughout the movie, it had you begging for a Gaston-LeFou spin-off movie (probably a pre-Beauty and the Beast, because you know, Gaston dies).
The houseware items in the form of CGI were well done and the actors that were cast as them were even better. Audra McDonald was a delight as Madame de Garderobe, the singer-turned-dresser, who you wished sang more in the film. It felt like a waste when she wasn’t singing. Stanley Tucci, who played McDonald’s husband-turned-piano, Maestro Cadenza, was also a pleasure to watch alongside her.
Ewan McGregor played the charismatic Lumière and seemed to be the only one reminding you that the story is set in France. McGregor, in this unrecognizable role (yes, he’s a candelabra, but I’m talking about his voice), took on the difficult task singing the lead to ‘Be Our Guest’ and nailed it. His romance with the beautiful CGI version of Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) had you feeling more emotion than the main characters.
One cannot talk about Beauty and the Beast without discussing Mrs. Potts, played by Emma Thompson. It’s difficult to compare the fine actress to the legendary Angela Lansbury, but Thompson gave it her all and sang it wonderfully.
Overall, the movie is fun to watch and brings many memories you remember from the animated classic. So, if you want that nostalgic feeling, definitely watch it.