Intelligent, book-worm Belle (Emma Watson) is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) and sentenced to eternity in his castle. After befriending the castle’s furniture-like staff, Belle develops a relationship with the beast that teaches her about love, humility, and sacrifice.

At times, it appeared this live-action “Beauty and the Beast” was trying to outdo the beloved 1991 classic. However, after finishing the film, it became apparent that the point was to improve upon the plot. The viewers get more backstory into both Belle’s and the Beast’s family, specifically the relationships with their parents. Interestingly, the two love birds share similar experiences: absent mothers and lifelong impressions left by their fathers.

Emma Watson commanded the screen as Belle. Watson is known for her strong, independent personality, and she was able to give these characteristics to her character, and we saw less of a damsel-in-distress and more of a heroine trying to save the man she loves.

Dan Stevens as the Beast gets his own heroic moments, and brings a new twist to the character. In the animated film, the Beast had several angry, and sometimes scary, scenes that made the Beast more, well, beastly. Although the live-action remake wastes no time in utilizing Beast’s temper (he does try to imprison Belle for eternity), he remains more human than beast, and Belle’s affection and attention are much more successful in turning the Beast into a truly lovable character.

I personally enjoyed the star-studded cast. Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, and Luke Evans as Gaston are just a few of the great actors that bring magic and beauty to this brilliantly casted film. Although the Lumière of the 1991 classic will forever remain a special part of the franchise, Ewan McGregor’s rendition of the character seamlessly brought comic relief, drama, and nostalgia.

The music has always been a big success for “Beauty and the Beast,” and I was worried that the musical sequences wouldn’t live up to the enchanted versions in the animated film. Fortunately, the live-action spared no enchantment and left the audience starry-eyed and grateful. The film even added its own unique twist to the sequences with more color, more detail, and modern references.

Overall, “Beauty and the Beast” gets an eight out of 10. It is a successful remake, and I recommend the film to all ages.

The only negative feedback I could provide involves the fight scene between the beast and Gaston. Honestly, it was awkward. The violent aspect would not have originally been unnecessary, however, the unusual dialogue and choreography of the fight made the scene difficult to watch. It almost seemed as if the film was in a rush to get to the fairytale ending and forgot the keep a consistent conflict. Still, this strange scene did not deter me from enjoying the beautiful film.

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