Beauty and the Beast

The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much I love the original Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 classic animated film has my favorite Disney princess Belle, but only recently have I begun to regard it as possibly my favorite Disney film. Which is why when they first announced the live action remake almost two maybe three years ago, I was absolutely thrilled. I marked March 2017 in my calendar and waited years for this film which has now finally arrived. So much waiting may have heightened my expectations just a bit as I began to feel a bit apprehensive about seeing the film and feeling underwhelmed. I have to say though, I had a magical and fun time watching Beauty and the Beast and I am sure audience everywhere will too.

Adapted from the 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of intelligent and beautiful Belle (Emma Watson) who is taken prisoner in the enchanted castle of a fearsome Beast (Dan Stevens). Though at first at odds, Belle learns to look beyond the Beast’s monstrous exterior and into the kind heart and soul of the prince inside.

Beauty and the Beast was able to achieve a delicate balance between old and new. While many of the scenes and even lines are directly from the animated film, Beauty and the Beast also incorporated new elements into the story. I personally did not have a problem with the heavy reliance from the source material as I feel the live action remake was made to be faithful to the story and paid excellent homage to the original film. While a bit jarring at times, the new additions to the story brought nice depth to the characters in a novel yet familiar way.

The casting is what this film got right from the very beginning and as a result the performances were all fantastic. Emma Watson was the perfect Belle! I cannot imagine anyone else in the role as she harnessed both the inner beauty and the strength needed to play her character. My only disappointment is that I feel Watson could have brought more emotion to the table during some scenes, especially during the magical “Be Our Guest” number. This girl was just casually smiling like it was another Tuesday! Nevertheless she was great and I found her singing to be refreshing as well. Dan Stevens surprised me as the beast! He remarkably was able to let his character’s tormented yet loving emotions shine through all the CGI. His passion for Belle was absolutely palpable and electric during the Beast’s new and original ballad “Evermore”, a highlight of the film for me personally.

The supporting cast was flawless as well. Luke Evans simply was Gaston! I loved his confident performance as well his on-screen partnership with Josh Gad’s LeFou. While it sometimes felt like I was just watching Josh Gad, well be Josh Gad, he nevertheless brought great humor and surprising heart to his role. I cannot praise the enchanted castle objects enough as well! Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, all wonderful performances that stuck true to their characters.

One of my main concerns for the film before I watched it was the CGI aspect. I had no idea how to visualize all the enchanted characters in a live-action form and was worried the film would come off as coated or even fake. However, I found the CGI to be well done with the Beast and the castle’s many enchanted objects. The sets and visuals in the film were gorgeous! There were times when I felt the film to have an almost awkward feel but I honestly believe it was just trying to get its footing. It is no easy task to bring such a beloved story to the big screen in such a grand way.

Fans of the original animated film may not embrace the new look to the film as well as the additions to the story, but I urge them to keep in mind that it is a remake. It stays faithful but also offers something new to audiences. I went in simply wanting to have a good time and I did! Many times I found myself smiling from ear to ear. From Belle singing on the French country hillside, to the fabulous “Be Our Guest” number, to Belle and the Beast’s first dance, the film reminded me of why I loved the original Beauty and the Beast so much. Children and adults alike are sure to enjoy the film with its blend of romance, adventure, magic, and heart. I bid you to give into the charms of Beauty and the Beast and of course, be our guest!

ALL IN ALL: While staying true to the story and offering new elements and depth, Beauty and the Beast is an enjoyable and magical film with great performances and visuals sure to delight audiences.

Beauty and the Beast 5/5 Ticket Stubs

EDIT: After enjoying this film so much, I decided to go back and watch it again in theaters, this time in IMAX (which is totally worth it by the way). I realized once again that I simply love this movie so much that in an unprecedented move on Ticket Stub Love, I am changing my rating from 4.5 ticket stubs to 5! It’s hard to explain my reasoning, but essentially there was nothing I did not like in this film. I believe the emotions and the experience the film gave me deems it worthy of a full rating!

Director: Bill Condon

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Kevin Kline

Run Time: 2hr 10 min, rated PG

Year: 2017

 

 

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Frozen

Okay so while many of us here on the East Coast have been snowed in by this huge blizzard, I decided to review a movie with a title very appropriate for the occasion: Frozen! When I think of Disney movies, I automatically think of Disney’s Renaissance era: 1989-1999 that included classics such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, etc. Disney movies have been declining lately so I was genuinely surprised to hear some critics comparing Frozen to the studio’s past glory. I saw the movie and you know, I might just agree with that but with some reserves.

Frozen tells the story of fearless and optimistic princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) who teams up with rugged mountain-man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his pet reindeer, and a cheery but hapless snowman (Josh Gad) to find her estranged sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

Gosh I loved this movie. Honestly, nothing negative to say! I thought the voices were great, the visuals stunning, and the musical numbers were fantastic! I downloaded the whole album and cannot stop listening to it. Finger’s crossed for the film’s most acclaimed song “Let It Go” to win the Oscar for Best Original Song! The last Disney film of this kind that I can really think of is Tangled, and while I really enjoyed it, I don’t really remember any of the songs. For me, I can remember Frozen‘s songs as easily as I can for some classics like Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, which is why I’m guessing most critics are comparing the film to those of the past (get to that later).  The themes in the film are excellent as well. Sisterhood, trust, and finding the right person are all explored and very refreshing when compared to some previous princess movies. Frozen isn’t cliché and it really does have you guessing till the end, with delicious plot twists and surprises. The characters (especially Olaf) were so lovable too!

Despite how awesome Frozen was, I don’t think it should be categorized with the Disney classics. For one thing, those are classics and made a while ago. Frozen has the same story and song quality, but it is primarily done with CGI rather than traditional hand-drawn animation. However, Frozen is one of the best recent Disney films and I definitely see it as a sign of Pixar’s decline. The last films Pixar released were Monster’s University in 2013 and Brave in 2012, both pretty average and nowhere near the greatness of its past films like Up and Toy Story. Frozen is really driving the Disney Revival.

I recommend Frozen for everyone: young and old alike. It’s got comedy,romance, heart; a cool (haha) treat for anyone to watch!

ALL IN ALL: Frozen is an awesome film filled with music and fun for the whole family, a great addition to Disney’s impressive collection.

image from: http://media.comicbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Frozen-movie-poster.jpg