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Friday, March 24

Haiku Revieu | Beauty and the Beast

Friday, March 24
Beauty and the Beast

Live-action cartoon
Hermione meets the Beast
Little Me is awed

An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

Let me preface this review: The animated Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney animated film, and when I was 8, it was my everything. I had the sheet and comforter set, the books, and the Barbies. I loved everything about the story of a girl who loved books falling in love with a literal beast of a man who just needed some proper guidance on how to behave in polite company. I loved that Belle loved books and reading as much as I did, and have long believed that Beast's gift of his entire library to Belle was one of the best gifts ever given.

So when I heard that they were making a live-action version of the movie, I couldn't help but be skeptical. Would they do it justice? Would Adult Mandy feel the same as Little Mandy about the story (which, yes, is somewhat problematic, but I won't get into that here). Watching the news roll in about the casting, then when watching the trailers, I reserved judgement. This wasn't going to be a case of "it was OK"; because of my connection to the source material, the film was either going to be amazing or absolute crap.

Thankfully, my feelings fall firmly in the former camp. I adore this movie. From the very first word of Mrs. Potts' introductory voice over, I found myself in a trance. An online friend put it perfectly when she said, "Childhood love is a helluva drug."

I've heard some people critique the movie for being a near shot-for-shot remake of the animated version, but that didn't bother me one bit. (See: My long-held love for the original.) I love how the various scenes, characters and costumes are brought to life with updates that made them feel more real and less cartoony. I also really enjoyed the new parts, from the backstory about Belle's mother to the Beast's solo song as Belle leaves the castle to rescue Maurice. (This seems to be an unpopular opinion, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .) I thought the casting was excellent, and was surprised at how much I liked both Emma Watson and Dan Stevens' voices. (The latter was largely edited to sound more "beastly," but again—it worked well for me.)

I am always down for Ewan MacGregor in a a singing role, and wish there'd been more of an opportunity for him to showcase his talents. (He's got a killer voice.) Luke Evans as Gaston was spot on, and I appreciate Le Fou's character growth; instead of being the flat, jokey sidekick, he actually had quite a bit of depth.

And I can't even explain how amazing it was to see the Beast's transformation from beast back to man. Dan looked exactly like the animated version, right down to the terrible hair and hilarious manpris.

I do have to nitpick a couple of things, though. One: The Growl. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. That was awkwardly unnecessary. (But I'm totally #TeamBeard.) And two: I find it somewhat odd how the servants reacted to Beast's imprisonment of Belle. The live-action versions of the characters seemed much more inclined to excuse his behavior, while the animated versions only let him go so far. 

I highly recommend seeing this movie, especially if you're a life-long fan like me.

Check it out:

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