Beauty and the Beast (2017)

By Livia Peterson

Disney is enchanted with remaking the classic animated movies into the nostalgic live action films.  The live action remakes initially provide magical bliss and the allure a.k.a. the Disney touch is steadily disappearing as of late. So much freaking nostalgia – almost too much that it becomes the curse – for better and for worse. The latest reimagining “Beauty and the Beast” almost emerges as the beast. Yet, the adequate charm remains afloat and saves the day.
 
Based on the 1991 film of the same name by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, Belle (the utterly exquisite Emma Watson) and the Beast (the equally brilliant Dan Stevens) fall in love. The Beast is selfish and hence, the Enchantress/Agathe (the underused Hattie Morahan) commences the spell – the Prince is the Beast and the castle servants are antiques, wardrobe, and feather duster. Meanwhile, Gaston (the mediocre Luke Evans) flirts with Belle and consistently fails and LeFou (the understated Josh Gad) is the hilarious sidekick.
 
Disney understands how to tap into the zeitgeist and produce timeless films, regardless of your age. Despite the familiar and predictable narrative – old as time, “Beauty and the Beast” provides stunning production and costume design and irresistible tunes. “Be Our Guest” and “Tale As Old As Time” are easily the highlights and evoke the most nostalgia. The conclusion may allow you to sob once or twice. It’s so darn bittersweet. Nonetheless, the film’s definite meaning is obvious – do not judge folks based on the appearance and genuine love exists with time (slow, fast, whatever the heart desires).
 
Despite the evident shortcomings, “Beauty and the Beast” sublimely tugs the heartstrings. Be our guest, indeed. B

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