Before I start this long post where I will gush about my love for this movie, there is one thing I want to say: I LOVED IT SO MUCH. MY HEART IS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE. I CRIED HAPPY TEARS AND I AM NOT EVEN ASHAMED ABOUT IT.
Now, on to the more serious business about this review. I will talk about different aspects, so I can show you all the reasons why I love this movie more than almost anything else in the world. If you want to go into this movie without knowing anything, please skip this post :)
The moment I heard the beginning tunes of the movie, I had shivers. I'm so happy that they kept true to most of the prologue from the animated movie – but what made me even happier is the fact they included more background story. I LOVED the scene that shows off how prosperous and arrogant the Prince lives before he is punished by the Enchantress. I LOVED how they included her more into the story and how she sets everything in motion. The Prologues is tied into a deeper story about the Prince when we see a flashback to his younger self. I thought it was brilliantly done and it gave the Beast more depth as a character. It also takes away some of the questions the animated movie raised.
I would say that the songs always have been the Heart of the movie. They say so much about every character, from Belle's longing to adventure to Gaston's amount of self-love. And Oh My God, did they blow me away with these songs. All the original songs are there and the new songs they included? Absolutely my favorites ones of all time. I can't pick one I loved the most, but Evermore by the Beast has to be one of the best they have added. I never realized I missed a song by the Beast so much until now. Also, Days in the Sun beats Human Again. Goosebumps every time I hear it and How does a moment last forever destroyed me.
I don't think I could have asked for a better suited cast. Every character is simply brilliant and exactly how I imagined them. Okay, Lumière's French accent might have been a little rusty at times, but Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (hunk Gaston), Josh Grad (Lefou) and Belle (Emma Watson) stole the show. One thing I always find really important is the Beast's voice and Dan NAILED it. Such a warm voice. Luke pulled off the whole crazy-obsessed guy vibes (and damn, he is gorgeous) without making him look like a card board villain. Emma's personality fit so well with Belle, it didn't even feel like she was acting, and her voice wasn't too bad in the songs. Josh was fantastic and his chemistry with Luke made Gaston's song better than the one in the animated version. It's a shame that they skipped the 'covered in hair' part.
The castle was gorgeous. All the characters like Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Pott were beautiful and I loved the Victorian touch. The Beast was done so well and they really made his blue eyes stand out. He was so detailed and real looking. I recently read the Special edition from Entertainment Weekly where they talked about all the work that went into the CGI. How Dan had to shoot his scenes twice; once walking around with a grey suit on stilts, the second time only his face to really capture his emotions - and it shows!
1. Lefou. I know there was a lot of discussion around his character, but wasn't it obvious already that his character was gay? I mean, look at his admiration for Gaston and how he accepts everything he does. The fact that they put more emphasis on this was the best. I also think they did a great job with his portrayal, especially when he starts to question Gaston's methods. He (and Luke) really gave the movie that something special, with their comical touch.
2. The Enchantress. Like I mentioned in the Prologue, she plays a bigger role now and that was a good move. I've always wondered if she would stick around to see if the Beast was able to change and now we get those answers. The fact that they gave the Beast more background story; sublime choice.
3. Gaston. They changed some of the scenes between him and Belle, which worked quite well. I did miss their talk about her book and how she could read anything with no pictures in it, but I'm happy they changed the scene where he is thrown into the puddle of mud. I don't think that would work with a live version. A lot of people talk about the fact that the Beast was punished, but Gaston never was; and I wonder how they can think like that. Gaston was set on marrying Belle, a person who would never marry him, and in the end he died because of it. How is that not punishment? He could have changed, but instead he was consumed by this obsession with 'conquering' Belle, and it was the end of him. LeFou changed before it was too late for him.
4. The book that lets you travel to another world. It was the perfect way to show what happened to Belle's mother and why they are so different from the rest of the town. They were outsiders from a big city with less small-minded people. That's probably why Belle does read - and why people don't accept it when she is teaching another girl how to read.
There wasn't anything I didn't love. I'm sorry for overusing all these words to show my excitement, but the fact that Disney delivered again makes my heart happy. Seeing my all time favorite fairytale and animated Disney movie coming alive like this is all I could have wished for.