The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers
It's a tale as old as time—kidding! For anyone who hasn't seen the animated version (How do you people exist?): the Beast (Dan Stevens) used to be a prince but was cursed by an enchantress for being cold-hearted. To break the spell, he has to genuinely fall in love with someone—and get her to love him back! He has until the last petal of an enchanted rose falls, but having a love life is difficult when you look like THAT.
Enter Belle (Emma Watson), a provincial girl who is shunned by her fellow villagers for being 'different' aka being a bookworm. The village hottie Gaston (Luke Evans) is an idiot and wants her to be his wife. Belle's father Maurice (Kevin Kline) stumbles upon the Beast's castle and is taken prisoner, so Belle gives up her freedom in exchange for her father's release. Together, Belle and the Beast learn that physical appearances are a shallow way of judging people (yes, there's a moral to the story!). Meanwhile, Maurice returns to the village and asks for help in freeing his daughter. Uh-oh, what happens now?
The Short, Honest Plot
A small-town girl is living in a lonely world. She hates the village hottie, but the feeling is not mutual (unfortunately). When she rescues Papa, she meets a Beast. Except village hottie is more beastly than Mr. non-human prince. AND said prince has a library. What's a girl to do?
The Main Actors And Where You Last Saw Them
1. Emma Watson as Belle
Although many will remember her as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series, Emma has starred in several Hollywood movies since then, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), The Bling Ring (2013), Noah (2014), and Regression (2015).
2. Dan Stevens as The Beast
Perhaps most known for playing Matthew Crawley in the tv series Downton Abbey, Dan has also appeared in 2014's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb alongside Ben Stiller, and in 2015's American thriller Criminal Activities alongside John Travolta.
3. Luke Evans as Gaston
Luke's most recent role was that of Scott Hipwell opposite Emily Blunt in 2016's thriller The Girl on the Train. His previous movie roles include Bard from The Hobbit trilogy, Dracula in 2014's Dracula Untold, and Aramis in 2011's The Three Musketeers alongside Orlando Bloom and Logan Lerman.
4. Josh Gad as LeFou
Despite having appeared as Steve Wozniak in 2013's Jobs, Josh is best known for voicing the character Olaf in Disney's Frozen. He has also voiced Bailey, Ellie, Tino and Buddy in 2017's A Dog's Purpose, Chuck in 2016's The Angry Birds Movie, and Louis in 2012's Ice Age: Continental Drift.
5. Kevin Kline as Maurice
A film and stage actor and singer, this is the third Disney film for Kevin, who plays Belle's father Maurice. He gave voice to Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and its sequel, and the brunette con artist Tulio in The Road to El Dorado (2000). Kevin also portrayed Chief Inspector Dreyfus in 2006's The Pink Panther.
6. Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth
With a career spanning over five decades, Sir Ian McKellen is perhaps best known for two roles: the wizard Gandalf in director Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and the mutant Magneto in The X-Men movie film series.
7. Ewan McGregor as Lumière
The Scottish actor is widely known for playing poet Christian in 2001's Moulin Rouge!. He also portrayed young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999–2005), and voiced the lead character in 2005's animated movie Valiant.
8. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts
Emma has appeared in over 40 films during her career. She has starred opposite Alan Rickman in three of her most famous roles: Elinor Dashwood in 1995's Sense and Sensibility, professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter series, and Karen in 2003's Love Actually. She also starred in 2005's Nanny McPhee, and voiced Queen Elinor in 2012's Brave.
9. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette
A British stage and film actress, Gugu earned critical acclaim for her performances in 2013's British period drama Belle and 2014's romantic drama Beyond the Lights.
10. Stanley Tucci as Cadenza
Cosmo girls might recognize Stanley as editor Nigel from 2006's The Devil Wears Prada, or host Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games trilogy.
11. Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe
Audra has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor, and is the only person to win all four acting categories. She's known for playing Dr. Naomi Bennett in both Grey's Anatomy and its spin-off Private Practice.
Did You Know?
1. Ryan Gosling was offered the role of the Beast, but turned it down to appear in La La Land (2016) instead. Emma Watson was offered the lead role in La La Land, but turned down that film to star in this one.
2. Sir Ian McKellen originally turned down the voice of Cogsworth in the original Beauty and the Beast.
3. Alan Menken, who scored the original Beauty and the Beast in 1991, returned to score this live-action adaptation.
4. Director Bill Condon had actors sing The Lion King (1994)'s "Hakuna Matata" at the auditions to measure their singing voices. This was how he chose the final cast for this film.
5. This is the second time Josh Gad has played a Disney sidekick. He previously voiced the snowman Olaf in Frozen (2013).
6. Kevin Kline, who plays Belle's father Maurice, previously voiced Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and its sequel. In fact, the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, both of whom also directed the original Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast (1991).
7. Emma Watson and Emma Thompson previously worked together in the Harry Potter franchise. Thompson played Divination professor Sybill Trelawney.
8. Luke Evans (Gaston) and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth) previously worked together in The Hobbit trilogy. Evans was Bard, and McKellen was Gandalf.
9. Mrs. Potts in this film is Emma Thompson's third voice-acting role in a Disney film. The other two were Captain Amelia in the traditionally animated film Treasure Planet (2002) and Queen Elinor in Pixar's Brave (2012).
10. This is the fifth Disney live-action fairy tale themed musical, after Cinderella (2015), Enchanted (2007), Into the Woods (2014), and Mary Poppins (1964).
11. During the ballroom scene, Emma Watson had a hard time not looking at her feet, because Dan Stevens was wearing steel toed shoes, and she was afraid he would step on her.
What I Think:
Growing up I was obsessed with everything Disney (I still am, TBH). I watched all the movies on VHS and memorized all the songs. I was happy to rewatch even the lesser-known films, like 1940's Fantasia, 1985's The Black Cauldron, or 2001's Atlantis: the Lost Empire. With all the hype surrounding the live-action Beauty and the Beast, I was afraid it wouldn't live up to my (admittedly-high) expectations.
I WAS WRONG.
From the opening scene I was drawn in—the effects are spectacular (just wait until the "Be Our Guest" scene!), the acting is on point, and Emma's singing was surprisingly good, at least to my untrained ears. The chemistry between Belle and her Beast was evident from the very beginning, although I have to say that Josh Gad's LeFou definitely stole the show. Some people may complain that Disney should come up with more original stories—if this movie is the beginning of a series of live-action remakes, I say keep up the amazing work!
Here are some of the thoughts I had while watching:
"That makeup look doesn't work for you, prince pre-Beast."
"How cute, you can hear Emma's English accent when she sings!"
"Gaston is so full of himself."
"What IS wrong with teaching a child to read?!"
"What accent is Lumiere supposed to have? He sounds French in some parts, but Spanish in others. Even Russian!"
"Gaston is so full of himself."
"I need to learn this dance for my wedding. THOSE TURNS. THAT LIFT."
"OMG the Beast's song when Belle leaves is so painful/beautiful. It's called 'Evermore?!'" ~*ugly cries*~
"UGH, listen to LeFou, Gaston. PLEASE."
"Fine, DON'T listen to LeFou. You deserve what's coming to ya, Gaston."
"KISSSSSS." ~*fangirl squeals*~
"Does everyone (whether royal or commoner) just learn this dance at birth? Sign me up for some classes, please!"
I'd Recommend It To:
Disney fans. The end.
Kidding aside, Disney animated films are perfect for crappy nights when you just want some junk food and a happy ending. Despite its darker tones (Gaston is less of a fool and more of a cunning evil villain), Beauty and the Beast is no different. I invite both fans of the original film and cynics alike to the cinemas this week. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there! It's definitely worth watching. Multiple times. Just keep it on repeat.
Be prepared to annoy everyone by singing "Evermore"—it's already replaced Moana's "How Far I'll Go" in my heart (and Spotify playlist).
To find out more about the film, buy a copy of Beauty and the Beast Official Movie Magazine. It has loads of interviews with the stars and behind-the-scenes movie trivia, like how nervous Emma Watson was when doing the ballroom dance scene! (We never would’ve guessed!) The magazine is out in newsstands now for just P150.
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