Stars: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Mack, Hattie Morahan.
Director: Bill Condon
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky
I am finding it impossible to remove myself enough away from these Disney classics to appreciate these Live-actions for what they are; a fun way to relive and reignite what makes the originals so damned good. However here I am again kind of wishing that I just plugged in the original 1991 animation and simply sing along. But what I really like about this new version is the added padding around the central story, so the new makes up for the retread of the old.
Gaston is one of the more iconic villains in the Disney back catalogue and Luke Evans certainly does not let him down in any way. With Josh Gad as his sidekick they bring to life these cartoon characters with joy and originality, a vibrance that lifts this film every time they are on the screen. Kevin Klines' turn as crazy old Maurice is also a nice little added extra of character that is exciting to watch.
However this abundance of smart characterisation stops there which why oh why must it. Listen I love Emma Watson but she really does very little in her role as Belle; she looks around, moves across the screen, delivers her lines, sings the tunes, and then does not much else. The same goes for Dan Stevens' Beast. These characters have so much to give in the original but Bill Condon seems to rely too heavily of this fact and just lets them disappear within the frame along with their storylines. His framing feels wooden like he is too scared to move the camera or actors so much that Watson's movements feel staged rather than natural. There is one moment that she is fighting back a wolf and there seems to be no force behind her stride or swing.
I will leave my final judgement to my next viewing because I am sure there is a better film waiting for me after this viewing as I scrutinised it while watching instead of simply enjoying.