I was able to attend an early screening of Beauty and the Beast, the latest live-action musical from Disney. No compensation beyond the screening ticket were received. All photos, clips and movie information is courtesy of Disney. All opinions are my own. Beauty and the Beast is in theaters everywhere on March 17, 2017. #BeOurGuest #BeautyAndTheBeast
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I was in high school when the animated Beauty and the Beast came out, and it instantly became one of my favorite animated movies ever. When I became a mom in 1996, Beauty and the Beast was one of the first VHS movies that I added to our collection. In fact, I still have my original VHS copy of the movie!
I was thrilled when I found out that Disney was making a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and based on the previous live-action versions, I knew it would be fabulous.
Beauty and the Beast is everything I hoped it would be and MORE.
Did you know that the animated “Beauty and the Beast” was the first animated feature to receive an Academy Award multitude of other awards? I expect no less for the newest live-action version of Beauty and the Beast!
5 Things I Loved about Beauty and the Beast
Belle is a strong, intelligent, and kind female lead. She leaves a powerful message that girls can be smart and different; that they can think on their own; that they can be loyal and brave; that they don’t need a prince to come “rescue” them. And as always with this particular story, Belle proves that beauty comes from within. The most important beauty is not the outward appearance, but the way we are on the inside.
The live-action version stays very true to the animated movie. The entire movie felt familiar, with the same characters and scenes and songs….but MORE. Whenever a beloved, familiar movie is remade, I worry that they’ll change too much, but this remake was just right. One minor change that I noticed was that Belle’s father was not an inventor like he was in the animated movie. Instead, he was an artist, and Belle was the one inventing things. What a cool addition!
The costumes and scenery are spectacular. Wow! There was an incredible amount of care and detail that went into the costumes and sets of Beauty and the Beast. I got lost in the ornate details and would love to watch the movie again just to appreciate the visual masterpiece that it is.
The story is set in a specific time and place – mid-18th century France – as opposed to an undated alternate fairy tale universe, and while each department’s work was influenced, in part, by the 1991 animated film, the sets, props, costumes and hair and make-up were authentic to 18th century life in France. Since the story is, in fact, a fairy tale, there was some freedom to visually interpret the period so as to provide a somewhat original look.
“The goal isn’t to have the audience think, ‘That looks just like the castle in the animated film,’” says Greenwood. “Instead, you want the audience to feel that this is, in fact, the Beast’s castle, because every detail faithfully supports the story they know and love.”
New music and old favorites. I have always loved the music from Beauty and the Beast, and I thought that the new additions fit perfectly into the story and added to the depth of character and story line. As is the case in all of the best musicals, the story was enhanced by the songs. I can’t wait to get to know the new soundtrack (you can download it on Amazon now…and I highly recommend previewing some of the songs, like my new favorite “How Does A Moment Last Forever.”).
In addition to building upon the story from the animated classic, director Bill Condon believed that, musically, the story could move in a slightly more realistic direction, either by finding interesting variations on the existing songs or with the addition of new songs. Songs help tell a story and elevate its emotional content, while at the same time helping push the story forward.
“At the end of a song, you should feel as though you’ve arrived somewhere different from where you started,” explains Condon. “Otherwise it feels
like the story just stops.”
This version goes deeper into the characters. I felt like I understood Belle and the Beast and how their relationship developed so much better than I ever did from the animated version. The characters had a wonderful depth.
Director Bill Condon said, “Dan brings such warmth and nuance to the character and was able to evoke all of the pain and the humanity that was still there and give a powerful performance, which is told predominantly through his eyes and voice. It was really quite astonishing.”
One more note, regarding the hyped-up “gay scene” in the media. LeFou and Gaston are the same characters with the same relationship as in the animated movie. Nothing shocking happens. Le Fou obviously worships Gaston (as he does in the animated movie) but he doesn’t DO anything in this movie that I would feel uncomfortable having young children watch.
The final word: I LOVED it! Go see it. Take your entire family. You won’t regret it (but you WILL regret it if you don’t see it).
About Beauty and the Beast
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s live-action adaptation “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.
The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a. with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
Beauty and the Beast Filmmaking Facts
- Over 8,700 candles (or 104,400 inches of wax) were used as set decoration during production.
- The ballroom floor in the Beast’s castle is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is based on a pattern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau, Germany. The 10 glass chandeliers in the ballroom – each measuring 14 feet by 7 feet – are based on actual chandeliers from Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.
- Approximately 1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production for use as research or set decoration.
- The enchanted forest which surrounds the Beast’s castle and features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake and 20,000 icicles, took 15 weeks to complete.
- Approximately 180 feet of feather light satin organza was used to create Belle’s yellow dress. The dress, which required 3,000 feet of thread and took over 12,000 hours to create, was accentuated with 2,160 Swarovski crystals.
- During production, the costume department challenged itself to design and create ethical and sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics (meaning the use of organic materials from suppliers that pay their employees a fair wage and are considerate of the environment), which they achieved.
- Working in tandem with Eco Age and the Green Carpet Challenge, the department used natural and low impact dyes, carefully disposing of any waste water, and printed with traditional wood blocks.
- A production crew comprised of more than 1,000 people worked around the clock to design, build and decorate the film’s mammoth sets.
Philippe, Belle (Emma Watson) and Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) horse, is played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis.
- Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through.
- Froufrou, the dog belonging to Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), is played by Gizmo, a rescue from one of the U.K.’s oldest and most famous animal rescue centers.
- The coat of arms in the Beast’s castle is a lion and a boar with a WD anagram (the WD is meant to represent a fictional character, William Devereaux, but could also stand for Walt Disney).
- Some of the original lyrics written by Howard Ashman for the songs “Gaston” and “Beauty and the Beast” that were not used in the animated film have been added to the live-action adaptation.
- The lend-a-hand lights on the terrace and staircase in the Beast’s castle and the rose colonnade on the castle grounds are an homage to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Avant Garde film, “La Belle et le Bête, which was a source of inspiration for Bill Condon.
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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST opens in theatres everywhere on March 17th!
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