Belle (Emma Watson) has recently found herself in a new French village with her father (Kevin Kline), where every day is like the one before. Bored with her mundane life and the library full of books she’s read time and time again, Belle pines for adventures like the ones in her books.
While most the townsfolk find her peculiar, Belle’s beauty plants her in the blinkers of town hunk Gaston (Luke Evans), who is determined to marry her. Aided by his trusty companion Le Fou (the loveable Josh Gad), Gaston makes it his mission to woo Belle and win her favour – but of course, she’s far from interested.
When Belle’s father finds himself lost in the woods, his only hope is to seek refuge in a nearby castle, which just so happens to be home to a cursed Beast (Dan Stevens). Belle goes to rescue him, and, well, you know the rest…
Beauty and the Beast is the latest Disney animated classic to be revisited as a live-action feature. Once you get past the rather unsettling anthropomorphised furniture, this is a thoroughly delightful reimagination featuring all the songs from the 1991 original, plus a few new ones thrown in. And the choreography is remarkable – we recommend paying special attention to Gaston.
Emma Watson is magical as Belle – helped largely by her similar role as Hermione, we assume – and Luke Evans is a suitably distasteful Gaston. Dan Stevens portrays a sheltered Beast, whom we end up caring more for than we did in the animated version, and the furniture suite (notably Ewan McGregor as Lumiere and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, both spectacularly funny) completes a dream cast.
Some may be overwhelmed by the amount of live-action reissues on the way from the Mouse House, but this is one that’s not to be missed. In many regards director Bill Condon improves upon the already fantastic original, giving us something there that wasn’t there before.
In cinemas: March 23, 2017
Starring: Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens
Directed by: Bill Condon