Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens in theaters on March 17th. After much anticipation, I attended an early screening and the movie did not disappoint. Beauty and the Beast is my most beloved Disney animation of all time and the live action version did the story justice. As soon as I walked out of the theater, I immediately wanted to see it again (and again and again lol). Good thing I have plans to take my 6 year old during opening weekend! Scroll down to see my movie review (no spoilers) and to find out what age I recommend for this movie.
ABOUT BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST FUN FACTS
- Over 8,700 candles (or 104,400 inches of wax) were used as set decoration during production.
- The ballroom floor in the Beast’s castle is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is
based on a pattern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau, Germany. The 10 glass
chandeliers in the ballroom – each measuring 14 feet by 7 feet – are based on actual chandeliers from
Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.
- Approximately 1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production for use as research or set
- The enchanted forest which surrounds the Beast’s castle and features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake
and 20,000 icicles, took 15 weeks to complete.
- Approximately 180 feet of feather light satin organza was used to create Belle’s yellow dress. The dress,
which required 3,000 feet of thread and took over 12,000 hours to create, was accentuated with 2,160
- During production, the costume department challenged itself to design and create ethical and
sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics (meaning the use of organic materials from suppliers
that pay their employees a fair wage and are considerate of the environment), which they achieved.
- Working in tandem with Eco Age and the Green Carpet Challenge, the department used natural and low
impact dyes, carefully disposing of any waste water, and printed with traditional wood blocks.
- A production crew comprised of more than 1,000 people worked around the clock to design, build and
decorate the film’s mammoth sets.
- Philippe, Belle (Emma Watson) and Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) horse, is played by three different horses, two
of which had to be painted on a daily basis.
- Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all
share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through.
- Froufrou, the dog belonging to Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley
Tucci), is played by Gizmo, a rescue from one of the U.K.’s oldest and most famous animal rescue
- The coat of arms in the Beast’s castle is a lion and a boar with a WD anagram (the WD is meant to
represent a fictional character, William Devereaux, but could also stand for Walt Disney).
- Some of the original lyrics written by Howard Ashman for the songs “Gaston” and “Beauty and the Beast”
that were not used in the animated film have been added to the live-action adaptation.
- The lend-a-hand lights on the terrace and staircase in the Beast’s castle and the rose colonnade on the
castle grounds are an homage to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Avant Garde film, “La Belle et le Bête, which was a
source of inspiration for Bill Condon.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST REVIEW
Disney did a wonderful job staying true to the original story, while giving it a little more depth. The cast, voices, animation, costumes and set design were all beautifully done. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect Belle than Emma Watson and Luke Evans stole the show in his role as Gaston! Josh Gad as Lefou was perfection and I only pictured him as Olaf once or twice (he was the voice for the happy snowman). Brace yourselves for my beloved Matthew Crawley, I mean Dan Stevens, transforming into the prince!
I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that I loved that Disney finally gave us the backstory of Belle’s mother and the Beast’s family. Thankfully, all the favorite original songs made the cut into the new rendition. A few new songs were also added to the mix, including a touching solo by the Beast. The film was slightly reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera for me, which I adore.
As for my favorite scene, I’ll always love the dance scene in cartoon, where Belle can be seen in her infamous yellow dress, and the live action version took my breath away. I also enjoyed Gaston signing the, appropriately titled, “Gaston” song in the pub! In a spitting match nobody spits like Gaston! The hilarious chemistry between Gaston and Lefou totally makes the movie. The “Be Our Guest” scene also doesn’t disappoint!
Many parents will be wondering what age is a good age for this movie. I’d say that if your child was okay with the original animation, they’ll likely be okay with the live action version. The parts that could be considered frightening remain the same – the wolves and the Beast losing his temper. My advice is that if your child is highly sensitive, screen the movie first. You’ll want to see it again anyway!
Click HERE to download the Belle and The Beast coloring sheet!
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