“Wasting in my lonely tower, waiting by an open door…I’ll fool myself, she’ll walk right in and be with me FOR EVERMOREEEEEEEE!!!!”
If you don’t know what song I’m referring to, then you need to get your sweet little tush over to see the new Beauty and the Beast, IMMEDIATELY. IMMEDIATELY.
Y’alllllll, this truly is what dreams are made of. And no, in no such manner am I sponsored to say any of this and I’m sure as hell that no one paid me to go see the movie and review it, but being the obsessed fan that I am, I knew that as soon as I saw it, I’d have to share with all of you just how incredible it was!
Like with all things, there will be haters: “Dan Stevens was hotter as the Beast than a human”, perhaps…or, “Emma Watson should have been dubbed with a more classically trained singer”, or even, “Wait, Le Fou is gay?!” and blah, blah, blahhhhh.
I feel as though in this day and age, literally everyone goes into something new expecting to hate it and end up hating it or finding offence in it somehow. But I have to say, if you’re hating on the new Beauty and the Beast, then there is quite possibly something the matter with your eyes…or your ears…or your heart…or your brain…but I digress.
Granted, you’re probably saying to yourself: “This bitch clearly LOVES Beauty and the Beast and she’s clearly super biased.”
But, my loves, for argument’s sake, I shall try and remain as objective as I possibly can.
Oh, and there will be ***SPOILERS*** from this point on. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Tale as Old as Time
STYLE AND AESTHETIC
To begin, I want to take away the dialogue and the singing and the story and pause to reflect on how gorgeous and seamless the animation was. Emma basically had to act next to a non-Beastlike Dan Stevens in a green suit and even dance with him and you couldn’t even tell that the Beast had been CGI’d in. It looked flawless. And the little town, full of little people, waking up to say, “BONJOUR!” looked realistic and on par with how it was animated in the cartoon. The Babettes and the ensemble, all the costumes, the sets, the props…everything was on point and it made it very believable. Also, in regards to the main characters clothes (i.e. Belle, Gaston, Le Fou, the Beast [though animated], Maurice, etc.), or shall I say, all the “human” actors, were very spot on and even updated in a manner that did not detract from the story. For example, Belle’s outfits were given a more edgy, independent vibe with pants underneath her dress. Too cool.
Also, the animation in regards for the enchanted characters (i.e. Lumiere, Cogsworth, etc.), the animation used to bring them to life truly did just that. At no point in the movie was I like, “Hey, he’s not real. He’s a talking candleabra. He’s been CGI’d the fuck up.” It was almost too realistic. It was wild. I loved it.
CARTOON PLOT VS. LIVE-ACTION PLOT
For the most part, they were very in tune with each other, not deviating too far from the middle ground. However, I have to say that the live-action version had more elements that gave light and substance to the characters. For example, Belle in the live-action was not only just a bookish, smart girl, she was also wickedly sharp, more scientifically inclined, and not afraid to try and educate the illiterate young girls in the town. I loved how much more headstrong she was, yet gentle as well, and I think Emma Watson nailed it.
Also, having Gaston be a war-hero gave his character more depth than just a love-stricken, hot-headed fool. I think it made him a little more human and because of it, because of feeling the admiration and respect from the townspeople who looked up to him, explained and added to just how egotistical and how impulsive he truly was.
But my favorite addition of all was giving the Beast a PERSONALITY. Granted, and don’t shake your head at the screen, that in the cartoon version, obviously we can sense the change in him and watch as he softens and becomes more man than beast as he falls for Belle. But in the live-action, he makes jokes, he rolls his eyes at Romeo and Juliet and makes Belle laugh. He’s so much more aware of her feelings and comes to truly understand and love her when he shows her the enchanted book and allows her to take him to the home of her childhood.
And speaking of that scene, I loved how Belle’s connection with her mother almost paralleled the Beast’s with his; however, I loved how the differences in the father’s parenting affected both children (i.e. Belle’s father sheltered her a bit but made her feel secure and worthy of love versus the Beast’s father who warped him into the selfish and entitled creature he was before becoming the beast). I loved how, in a social sense, it goes to show how important both parents are when it comes to their children’s development into young men and women.
Holyyyyyyyyyy balllzzzzzzzz, I’ve had “Evermore” on repeat since Thursday night after seeing the 9:45pm premiere show!!! Jesus, they really drove home the Beast’s character development with this song and gave the live-action Beast the heart and the emotional capability to share how he truly felt after letting Belle go.
In the musical adaptation, the Beast sings “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”, and “Evermore” is an echo of the song, but for the sake of the movie’s plot, just fits better into the tapestry of the movie in its entirety.
Also, “Days in the Sun” was a new addition and it’s an echo of “Human Again”, yet much more emotional and meaningful coming from Belle, the Beast, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, Plumette, Madame Garderobe, and Maestro Cadenza. And showing the Beast as a young boy singing to his dead mother stabbed me right in my already bleeding heart.
Goddammit, this movie really just speaks to me.
However, I want to address in this section two things:
- Dan Steven’s “Beast”-voice gives me chills and I can’t wait to Youtube more songs of him singing on the down-low at work and,
- Emma Watson-haters need to STFU.
Yes, I said it: haters, back off. Yes, they could have dubbed another singer in. Yes, they could have chosen a singer/actress. But NO ONE could have pulled off a more convincing and beautiful and accurate Belle than Emma Watson. Seeing how headstrong of a character Hermione was in the Harry Potter series, I had zero doubts that she would be perfect as Belle. And she slayyyyyyyyeeeeeddddddddd.
Now, was her voice perfect? No. Could you tell it was autotuned a bit? Yes. But please, PLEASE, tell me that every other singer out there other than Lady Gaga sings live and does a great job at doing it with no autotune sweeteners or delving into the power of a good lip-synch. Tell me, who could? I couldn’t, you couldn’t, but Emma Watson could. Katy Perry and Rihanna and Ariana Grande could. It’s a fact that 99% of singers now-a-days use some sort of assistance when it comes to singing live or singing in general. What makes Emma Watson and her performance any different? And although her voice may not have been the strongest or maybe you’re a fan of vibrato and Emma’s voice lacked it in many of the ending notes, there is no other actress in our day and age that could have pulled off the titular and hard shoes to fill character that is Belle.
And although her voice may not have been the strongest or maybe you’re a fan of vibrato and Emma’s voice lacked it in many of the ending notes, but there is no other actress in our day and age that could have pulled off the titular and hard shoes to fill character that is Belle. She is Belle and she carried the title and the character well. I was convinced. And I’m a huge fan; I wasn’t disappointed.
CHARACTERS AND CHEMISTRY
Well, the Beast and Belle and Gaston sizzled. You could feel the tension. You could laugh at the awkward beginnings of love between the Beast and Belle. You could giggle at Gaston’s failed attempts to woo and marry Belle. And on the flip side, your heart could hurt finding out about the Beast and Belle’s mothers, you could cry when you watched as the castle turned itself back into stone and Mrs. Potts back into a pot while searching for Chip and all that sad jazz. You could lose your breath and sob when Gaston shoots the Beast and as the Beast dies in Belle’s arms, sacrificing everything he is for the woman he loves. And tears would slide down your face as you watched the ending as everything falls gently and gracefully into place as the spell is broken. It was beautiful and believable and brilliant.
I have to say, though, that my favorite character interactions were between Gaston and Le Fou. As y’all know, Le Fou was outed in the live-action version before the movie was even released. And I have to beg the question: how did y’all not know?!
I mean, go back and watch the cartoon version. That’s all I have to say about that. And for those who were ambivalent or flat-out barbaric about banning their towns or children from seeing it, may I kindly remind you that the driving force behind the story was the love a woman had for a beast–an animal. Let that sink in before any of y’all begins to have an issue with a character’s preference of love.
All in all, as a writer and a lover of all things Beauty and the Beast-related, I was blow away and swept up into the magic of it all. They did a phenomenal job and infused and enriched the story with so many more layers that you would have to be doing a hell of a job forcing yourself to hate it than actually hating it. You just can’t. It’s a fact. 😉
At the end of the day, it’s a love story, and a damn good one at that.
And if you’re looking for another love story that will help you get your fix as you wait for the second showing of Beauty and the Beast to begin, then I suggest reading my novel, XXII. Trust me, it’s one hell of a ride, but again, the driving force behind it all is love, and what a force it is to be reckoned with.
For all things XXII and XXIII, click here to sign up and stay in the loop!
To purchase a paperback copy or Kindle-version of XXII, click here!
Follow this page, give me a follow on Instagram [@lovalenzaaa] or on Twitter [@life_withlauren], Facebook [www.facebook.com/lovalenza] or even on Snapchat, if that’s what you’re into [lauren_costa42]! Give me a shoutout and tweet me! Sign up for all the goodness that can and will be coming your way!!!