Beauty and the Beast – Review

Courtesy Disney

She’s hot!

He’s not!

Is there any way this beast can be charming and lovable enough to win her heart and your ticket buying cash?

Emma Watson stars as Belle – a headstrong, intelligent gal who dreams of leaving this small village in France where she is considered to be the weird girl because she likes to read books.

However, a local war hero, Gaston (Luke Evans), wants to make her his wife because he only sees her tremendous beauty.  That’s what happens when you are a vain, vacuous, selfish fool.

Belle’s father (Kevin Kline), ends up lost in the woods one night and comes across an old, crumbling castle.  He’s quickly captured by a massive Beast (Dan Stevens), who turns out to be a prince under the spell of a witch who condemned him to this life and this look unless he can become beautiful enough on the inside to find true love.

What will happen when Belle comes to find her father?

Beauty and the Beast is a true, classic musical, but it’s hard not to compare it to the animated version that stole your heart years ago.

While all of the cool people want us to praise Watson for her performance, the true star of the show is Evans.  He perfectly shows the growing ugliness inside Gaston as we watch him go from innocent, but annoying pretty boy, to darkly evil villain willing to stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Evans is full of comic verve early on, but delivers a shockingly scary performance as we march to the melodramatic final act.  Of all of the actors, he not only follows the tone set by director Bill Condon, but, you can argue, he sets the tone most of the time.

Condon never lets Beauty and the Beast stray from being a traditional musical, and often finds little ways to allude to some of the great musicals in movie history.  While most simply will get lost in the grandeur and beauty of the singing and dancing, hardcore musical fans will get a bit of a kick if they spot the moments.

Yet, if you have seen the classic Disney animated version, two items stick out.

First, no matter how hard Emma Thompson might try, she can never ever never ever be as awesome as Angela Lansbury was as Mrs. Potts.  Thompson probably would agree with us.  Mrs. Potts is one of those characters who lives in the hearts of millions, and it’s darn near impossible to imagine her being any different.

Second, The Beast isn’t cuddly enough. Granted, this is a more adult, frightening take on the classic tale, but it’s hard to see The Beast winning The Beauty.  He doesn’t become lovable enough and the chemistry between the two characters never truly soars.

It’s still a wonderful movie, but watch out if you want to take the little ones.  The final act is full of danger, some violence and peril beyond what most small kids can handle.

3_5waffles_sml3 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)  

Beauty and the Beast is rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images.