It was with great anticipation that my daughter and I went to see the latest Disney interpretation of the Beauty and the Beast. My daughter’s year had done it as their end-of-primary-school play, so we both knew all the songs off by heart and are really fond of the story. We are both also big Hermoine fans so were keen to see how Emma Watson coped with a more grown up role. Could she sing? Could she dance? Horse ride? Was it worth turning down La La Land so she could learn these skills? All these questions needed to be answered. So after school on Monday we dragged my reluctant son into the car with us and headed to the Olympic Cinema, which is quite frankly the nicest cinema in town!
The film is beautifully shot and staged. The Beast’s castle truly is a Disney castle. The song and dance routines are great – although I found the opening dance sequence when the Beast was still a spoilt prince rather odd… why did he need to dance with that many women? However it was truly live animation, and in some parts the line between live action and animation/cartoon was brilliantly blurred – particularly in the Be Our Guest musical number.
As far as the characters went – the casting was OK. What can I say about Emma Watson? She can sing. She can dance. She is unfortunately a little wooden as an adult actress – and it just felt like you were watching a Hermoine as a grown up, which I guess is what she is. I loved the banter between Gaston and LeFou, however LeFou being gay was completely missed by my kids. They couldn’t believe it when I told them it had been banned in Malaysia where gay sex is illegal. The whole hype about the first official out Disney character was a slight exaggeration methinks. We also found the other main character (animated objects aside) Kevin Kline as Belle’s dad to be rather annoying.
Overall we enjoyed the movie – even my little boy raised a smile or two, as they definitely threw in a few more grown up jokes for the older child and adult. The ending was emotional, shocking and well orchestrated, however what on earth was Belle’s beard comment and the prince’s roar at the end all about? Totally ridiculous – I can’t believe it wasn’t left on the cutting floor! Also on a shallower level the prince wasn’t tasty enough, and that is a cross generational opinion!