Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Age Restriction: PG V
Runtime: 2hrs 3min
Release date: 13 April 2017
Disney's live-action remakes based on their animated classics catalogue continues to rake in millions for the studio; and it was only a matter of time before the Mouse House attempted to bring a "tale as Old as Time" into the fold.
The first animated film to ever receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination; Disney readapts their beloved 1991 classic into glorious live-action – and the Mouse House wants everything in tip-top shape.
Instead of adopting a few elements from the original, then adding something fresh into the mix like they did with The Jungle Book remake last year; Beauty and the Beast is an exact carbon copy of the 1991 original.
While there are a few new elements added to prolong the narrative; it's simply minor and won't do much to differentiate the film.
Does the carbon copy element make or break the film? Both – as the Beauty and the Beast remake is as sentimental as it's unoriginal.
Incorporating practically 99% of the elements from the 1991 classic, (including its story, music, characters, setting and even dialogue at times) make for a thoroughly entertaining, nostalgic ride.
However; the use of an existing (or identical) concept makes it a little frustrating, as it feels like you're watching the same movie from 1991 despite an all-new cast, crew, prolonged runtime and format (live-action instead of animation).
Speaking of the cast, Disney has gathered a talented a-list ensemble including the likes of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
If you are familiar with the original classic, then you'll know how the story goes. An enchantress places a curse on a castle turning its prince into a hideous Beast (Stevens); and his servants into animate objects who can move, talk and sing.
Cut to a quiet French village where Belle (Watson) – an intelligent and unconventional small-town girl – dreams of something far beyond her quiet little village.
Things change when Belle's father, Maurice (Kline) ends up missing. His daughter eventually tracks him down to a dark castle owned by the above-mentioned Beast.
Belle's life changes forever when she makes the ultimate sacrifice: switching places with her father to become the Beast's prisoner for all eternity.
However, the two soon develop a romantic attachment; with the Beast's object-turned servants hoping it would break the curse before the last petal falls off the glass-covered red rose.
One element that differentiates the remake from the original is that the Beast is given in-depth character background, while LeFou (Gad) and Maurice are nicely fleshed out. There's even a mini subplot explaining the absence of Belle's mother.
The rest of the characters – like the original – are well developed, and the cast brings them to life wonderfully.
Watson finally gets her much-deserved lead role, proving that she can successfully carry a film as its main anchor. The actress has always been excellent in playing smart and strong-willed characters; and because she's perfectly suited to the role of Belle, Watson ultimately nails it.
While she can't come close to topping the high-pitched vocals of Paige O'Hara (the original voice of Belle), Watson still manages to deliver a top-notch singing voice that will impress.
The rest of the cast are extraordinary as well; with standout performances from Gad, Thompson, Evans, McGregor and McKellen.
Possibly the film's biggest highlight is its lavish costumes and eye-catching set-design, which break new ground visually – despite a few replications from the animated original.
The classic musical numbers and the iconic score from Alan Menken translate into live-action exceptionally, with a few new songs that are a welcome addition.
Verdict: Due to it being a carbon copy to one of the greatest films ever made, the Beauty and the Beast remake is pure nostalgic Disney magic. The only downside is that it fails to deliver something fresh, ultimately preventing the 2017 film from achieving that classic status the original is so renowned for.