Directed by Bill Condon and screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, the 2017 adaptation of the “Tale as old as time” definitely does this classic Disney musical justice, staying true to the original storyline but adding more of a modern day feel to it, using the original 1991 score with a few new songs added to it that fans will love.
Most notable about this adaptation is that Disney have reached a huge milestone by featuring their first ever openly gay character LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, most loyal supporter and secret admirer, played by Josh Gad.
In the fairytale classic Beauty and the Beast, a young, intelligent, beautiful woman must look past the beast’s cold, hard demeanour and discover the kind-hearted Prince that he once was in order to break the curse placed on the castle and all of its inhabitants.
Beauty and the Beast is the story of a young girl named Belle (Emma Watson) who is taken captive by a hideous beast (Dan Stevens) in his gothic, enchanted, cursed castle deep in the French countryside. The Beast, who was once an arrogant, selfish prince, was cursed by a sorceress who came to the prince looking for shelter during a storm. When he refused, she placed a curse on the castle and all of its inhabitants, turning the prince into a beast and the staff into animate objects, until true love can lift the curse. However, the curse must be lifted before the last petal on an enchanted rose falls or the prince will be doomed to live out the rest of his days alone as a beast.
So here’s where Belle comes in, a young, beautiful, quirky young girl living in the French village of Villeneuve with her open-minded, creative father Maurice. Belle dreams of the outside world and escaping her small village, where people have little more to do than gossip, and believes there is more to life than marrying the town’s most sought-after heartthrob Gaston.
One day, on his way home from the market, Maurice stumbles across the enchanted castle and is captured by the beast after he tries to take a single rose from his garden to bring home to Belle, as per tradition. Belle finds the castle and the beast in search of her father and selflessly tricks him into trading places with her father and becoming the beast’s prisoner instead. Soon enough, she befriends the castle’s cursed staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s cold, hard demeanour and discovers the kind Prince that he once was, restoring hope to the castle that the curse may one day be broken. But as always, obstacles lie in their way and time is quickly running out.
In terms of casting, this star-studded cast could not have been more perfect. As famous now for her feminist activist as she is for her acting, Emma Watson is the perfect person to play the strong female lead as Belle and will be an inspiration for young girls everywhere. Dan Stevens plays the Beast and has perhaps the strongest character development in the whole film. We see his character develop from the cold-hearted, arrogant, stubborn Beast to the kind, soft prince he once was as he warms to Belle’s charm.
Luke Evans plays the villain Gaston, the village heartthrob who will stop at nothing to get Belle’s hand in marriage, despite her constant refusal. The cast also features some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Ian McKellan, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald and Kevin Kline as the hopeful singing objects in the castle.
This is a story for everyone, regardless of age. Between the beautiful set, gorgeous costumes and extraordinary performances, this adaptation of Beauty and The Beast is one of the most successful remakes to date.