We all know the story, A prince is cursed to become a beast after insulting a witch. He must fall in love and have a lady fall in love with him before the last petal of a magical rose falls. Years pass and the town people have forgotten the prince and his staff (because....magic) and they fear the beast will never find the woman for him. Enter Belle, a bookish woman labelled as strange by the town folk and the obsession of Gaston, a bullish solider who is the accompanied by his trusty admirer Lefou. When her father is travelling he find himself in the middle of nowhere, chased by wolves where he races into the grounds of the Beasts castle. Hunting down her father Belle finds him held prisoner by the beast. Belle trades places with her reluctant father as the Beasts prisoner, a becomes the castles 'guest'. The magical furniture come alive, there is a lot of singing and dancing and a beauty falls in love with a beast. It's like a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome with dancing silverware!
The negatives first, I was not a fan of Emma Watson as Belle, the whole opening song in the town was nowhere near as catchy as the original film. There was just something that didn't sit right with me and I can't put my finger on it. Watson looks the part, she looks like a good take on the Belle character but as the film progressed she was just the same one tone throughout. There were a few new songs hidden in here as well that didn't really add much to the film as a whole and I hated Emma Thompson was Mrs Potts, a terrible example of casting a big name for the sake of it. She is no Angela Lansbury I can tell you that much.
On the positive side I thought Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Gaston and Lefou made this film for me, this was perfect casting for these roles. Josh Gad payed the gay tone (something which was made way too much a a deal about in the media) spot on, he was just as clingy as the orginal animated version, and Luke Evans is the perfect Gaston. Visually the film is breathtaking, and it does bring the animation to life. The additions to the story, for example the castle crumbling away with each petal, the fact the The Beast doesn't need teaching to be human again work very well, and the score is beautiful. The cast for the most part did a great job, especially having to live up to such high expectations. This almost got a 4 star from me, but as whole it was missing a few things for me personally. A good family watch this Easter.