Disney's Beauty and the Beast

(Walt Disney)

 

When a young woman stumbles across a forgotten castle, she encounters a beast longing for love.

 

Rated PG, for some action violence, peril and frightening images.

Genre: Fantasy

Viewer Appeal: Families, Children of all ages

 

Beauty and the Beast is a unique story among fairy tales. Yes it's a love story, but it's more than that. It's also a story about friendship, loyalty, and discovering who you are. Beauty and the Beast is also unique in that the remake follows the original very closely. Lines are similar, the songs are familiar, and the characters are well-known.

 

Director Bill Condon took on a huge task in remaking the much beloved 1991 animated version which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. Everything is as big as you could imagine. The Beast's (Dan Stevens) castle is immense with sprawling lawns that are desolate and covered in snow during the curse, but lush and green afterward. Yet, it's the characters inside the castle that are as surprising as they are famous. It's not until the end that viewers realize they've been watching/hearing Ewan McGregor as Lumiere,  Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. And while they don't make the movie, they are excellent supports for  Emma Watson in her sweet portrayal of Belle.

 

As most remakes change the original story, I was pleasantly surprised at how closely this followed the animated version, and how well certain sequences were made.  In particular the song, “Be Our Guest.” Condon was able to produce a version that rivals the animation, with plates flying through the air, feather dusters performing synchronized swimming, and champagne glasses overflowing in a beautiful sequence. He really left nothing out.

 

Including the characters in Belle's village. Gaston (Luke Evans) is proud and arrogant as ever, as he attempts to win Belle's heart, while LeFou (Josh Gad) is hilariously trying to keep Gaston happy. Belle's relationship with her father, Maruice (Kevin Kline), is sweet and, possibly, a little more precious than in the animated version, as we get more information on Belle's mother.

 

While some will love this movie and go back for more, this is clearly not a movie for everyone. If musicals (and listening to those around you sing) isn't your cup of tea, this is going to be a movie you'll want to skip. But I think Beauty and the Beast has a place in the hearts of many, and many home theaters will be full of happy parents and children sharing a piece of their past.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray edition of Beauty and the Beast include: 

  • Enchanted Table Read – Join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more.

  • A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic.

  • The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast” – Emma Watson introduces several of the talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.

  • Making a Moment with Celine Dion – Celine Dion shares what it’s like to sing “How Does a Moment Last Forever” – and be a part of the legacy of “Beauty and the Beast.”

  • From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – See what goes into making some of the best-known moments from “Beauty and the Beast.”

    • “Belle” -- Filmmakers and cast reveal how it felt to shoot this memorable scene.

    • “Be Our Guest” -- Discover all that went into creating this epic, primarily virtual performance.

    • “Gaston” -- Join the cast for rehearsals and filming of this rousing, high-energy number.

    • “Beauty and the Beast” -- You’re invited on set for the filming of this beloved, classic scene.

  • Deleted Scenes

    • Introduction by Director Bill Condon -- Director Bill Condon presents a collection of scenes that, for one reason or another, ended up on the cutting-room floor.

    • Gaston Courts Belle -- Pleased with himself after settling a disturbance with the townspeople, a triumphant Gaston attempts to woo Belle.

    • Bread and Jam for Agathe -- On her morning market rounds, Belle stops by to see Agathe, the village beggar woman.

    • Storming the Ice Gates -- The angry mob of villagers, led by Gaston, overwhelms the castle’s defenses.

    • Lumière Torches LeFou -- As the fight rages around them, LeFou scuffles with Plumette … until he experiences a sudden, extremely heated interruption.

    • Monsieur Toilette -- LeFou escapes from the brawl into a small room, where he's startled by a castle resident.

    • Cogsworth Rescues Lumière -- When Clothilde the fishmonger threatens Lumière, Cogsworth leaps into the fray.

    • Treacle the Lasses -- Three village lasses chase Chip and Froufrou – Madame Garderobe’s dog-turned-footstool – into the kitchen, where a surprise awaits.

    • LeFou and Monsieur Toilette Reunite -- After the spell is broken and the castle residents are returned to human form, LeFou and his new acquaintance meet again.

  • Extended Song: “Days in the Sun” – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, introduced by director Bill Condon.

  • “Beauty and the Beast” Music Video – Award-winning artists Ariana Grande and John Legend perform a moving version of this iconic song.

  • Making the Music Video – Go on set to capture the magic as it happens in Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” music video.

  • Disney Song Selection – Jump directly to all your favorite songs and sing along with the movie.

    • “Belle”

    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Music Box)

    • “Belle” (Reprise)

    • “Gaston”

    • “Be Our Guest”

    • “Days in the Sun”

    • “Something There”

    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Montmartre)

    • “Beauty and the Beast”

    • “Evermore”

    • “The Mob Sing”

    • “Beauty and the Beast” (Finale)

 

Let's Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• While Gaston is clearly an exaggeration in arrogance and pride, why are people drawn to those like him?

 

• Belle's father told her many things about her mother, but never told her what happened to her. Why do you think this is?

 

• Belle is not like other girls. She's more interested in reading and dreaming about other places than fashion or finding a husband. How does this make her more attractive?

 

--JW

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