Fantastical love stories have always been appealing to members of various generations, and their live-action versions generally bring a much different sentiment due to their human characters alone.

Beauty And The Beast Blu-Ray Review

Director Bill Condon’s adaptation of the classic Disney fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is one that demonstrates it is very true to the original animated film in many senses, although it does not present significantly more flair or panache than the 1991 movie.

The story of course follows a young woman named Belle (Emma Watson) who is held hostage by a reclusive beast (Dan Stevens) inside his castle after the beast initially keeps her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) as a prisoner. Upon spending time in captivity with the beast, Belle gradually learns to look past the monster’s atrocious exterior and dissevers the kind prince that lies beneath. An eccentric but lovable group of ornaments, furniture and other household items — the former servants of the castle who were turned into objects following a spell — help Belle grow closer to her captor.

The costumes — both those made of vibrant colors and those of darker tones — represent one of the more beautiful aspects of the film, particularly Belle’s gold dress and the beast’s blue suit in the famous grand ballroom dance scene. The animation of the objects like Cogsworth the clock (voiced by Sir Ian McKellen) and the candelabra Lumiere (voiced by Ewan McGregor) is also quite impressive, and the dissonance between the different cast members’ voices ultimately gives the characters such a comedic feel that their interactions come off as a delight. McGregor’s accent for Lumiere is not quite French, which makes his voice performance indisputably hilarious.

The score and soundtrack — written by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice like they were in the original film — is just as euphonic, even though Miss Watson is not exactly the most prolific singer. Watson delivers a fine performance as the curious, courageous and free-spirited Belle, but her displays of emotion occasionally pass as awkward or forced.

Luke Evans is brilliant as the incredibly conceited, macho-man villain Gaston, a hunter. Evans struts about the town and fawns over himself in a way that is even more chuckle-inducing than his character’s animated counterpart. Meanwhile, Josh Gad’s LeFou is exactly the bumbling and sycophantic side-kick he was devised as but with one slight twist: this version of LeFou portrays him as gay and possibly in love with Gaston, a controversy that drew uproar and even led some theaters in uber-conservative Alabama to prohibit any showings of the film. Gad plays LeFou with just the right mix of excessive subservience and outright fear.

This adaptation also introduces brand-new characters like Maestro Cadenza (voiced by Stanley Tucci), the beast’s court composer who has been transformed into a harpsichord. Cadenza is supposedly the husband of Madame de Garderobe (voiced by Audra McDonald), an opera singer who was turned into a wardrobe by the curse.

Blu-ray bonus extras include a table read with the full cast (a read that includes the musical numbers with complete dancing), the making of the film, and a featurette entitled “The Women Behind Beauty and the Beast,” which shows Emma Watson and the many other talented women (both cast and crew) involved in the production of the film explaining how they helped bring the classic story to the big screen.

The bonus features also include a music video for the movie’s theme song, “Beauty and the Beast,” as performed by pop stars Ariana Grande and John Legend. Grande and Legend’s mellifluous voices coalesce to form a fantastic version of the tune, whose background musical arrangements seem to remain very similar to those of the original film’s theme song.

Overall, this adaptation brings almost as much joy as the original film, even though the magic that made the 1991 version so brilliant is not quite as powerful the second time around.

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