For weeks I’ve been quietly obsessing over the new Beauty and the Beast film while the rest of South Africa patiently waits for it to be released. Finally the time has come; and tickets are very quickly being booked in anticipation for one of the most iconic Disney fairy tales brought to life. I’m so excited!!! In fact, I plan to watch it again with my husband as soon as it hits our local cinema because it was THAT good.
When I went to the pre-screening in April with a couple girlfriends, I left the cinema feeling very nostalgic, emotional and completely blown away. I immediately got the album, and the beautiful music is the sole reason for my cell phone’s battery being in a permanent state of depletion. I even resorted to begging Penguin Random House South Africa to send me a review copy of the new book that was written from the film – A big thank you to them for kindly sending me the book.
Since the film is due to be released tomorrow, and I managed to keep myself distracted with the book, I thought it’s by time that I post my review of Beauty and the Beast! Please be warned, this may contain some ranting, virtual screaming and loads of fangirl moments!
As a girl, I was always drawn to Belle more so than any of the other Disney princesses. I admired her strength and courage, and of course I shared a love for reading with her too. So when the news broke that our beloved fairy tale will be brought to life, and Emma Watson would be casted as Belle, I was delighted – I honestly could not think of a better actress to fill the role. Other than that I had no interest in learning anything about the film until I watched it, because I was still in doubt as to whether the remaking would live up to the original animated film, since so many remakes just didn’t meet my expectations. As a result I’ve become quite cynical about remakes, and I happen to know that there are many others out there who feel the same way.
With Beauty and the Beast however, my expectations were not only met – it far surpassed what I had anticipated. I was reminded of ACOMAF and how difficult it was for me to move on from that world. I searched for every interview I could find on YouTube and marveled at the pure talent that produced this modern re-imagining for our generation that would be appreciated by generations to come.
What really struck me with this new version of an old tale was the diversity. It was a film that could’ve so easily kept to the original representation. But the way it broke away from that conservative, restricted version really made this fairy tale all the more special. I felt drawn to the story a thousand fold because of these elements of diversity; such as the cast, interracial couples and even an arc for LeFou that tied up the whole story beautifully.
Speaking of LeFou, I loved how his character took on a whole new dimension as the plot progressed; with more depth and substance. In fact, all the secondary characters got their stories told and they were absolutely crucial to the overall retelling. Each and every personality brought a new meaning to the tale, adding humour, sweet moments and even a touch of sadness when the time called for such. It all came together in an explosion of music, action and romance that left me in a daze weeks after I walked out the cinema doors.
Apart from the unbelievably talented cast, the pitch perfect musical numbers and the goose bump inducing scenes we all remember from the original film – LIBRARY SCENE!!!! – I loved that the new adaption finally filled the plot holes. A lot was answered in the movie, and if you read the book you get a complete picture of everything that takes place. We learn what the characters felt and thought, and what lead them to behaving the way they did, which somehow managed to draw me even deeper into the fantastical world of all things beautiful and beastly. But I have to admit; the book is just not able to stand on its own because a lot of the key factors that makes the film so special to me were excluded.
In this very rare case of book/film show downs, I have to side with the movie – it was 100% pure perfection. And if you haven’t seen it yet then I envy you a little bit because you are going to be wowed!
*Thank you Penguin Random House South Africa for sending me this review copy*