Disney's new live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast does the 26-year-old cartoon classic justice, delivering stunning theatrics and animations while upping the humor. The film, now in theaters, stars Harry Potter's Emma Watson as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast. In the classic fairytale, a sorceress uses magic to transform an arrogant prince into a monster.
Belle, a beautiful and intelligent woman from a nearby village, unexpectedly falls in love with the Beast after being held captive in his enchanted castle. Inside the bizarre fortress, several pieces of furniture and other household items literally come to life. Lumière the candelabra, Cogsworth the clock, Mrs. Potts, Chip the teacup and all the other non-human characters from the original film appear in the remake. With the help of new CGI technology, these animated characters look livelier than ever in the new movie. In fact, the visual effects in general were arguably the most impressive feat of the film.
Disney also upped the diversity of the cast compared to the 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast. While the original film features overwhelmingly white cartoon characters, the cast of the live-action remake includes several people of color. The movie also features Disney’s first live-action interracial kiss. A piano named Cadenza (Stanley Tucci) and a wardrobe named Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) smooch after transforming back into their human forms.
The film will also feature the first openly gay character in Disney history. A goofy and highly entertaining character named LeFou (played by Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in Frozen) is not shy about his fondness for Gaston, the story's villain played by Luke Evans, star of Clash of the Titans. In an interview with Attitude magazine, film director Bill Condon said, "LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston."
Romantic fairytales may not be for everyone, but Disney did such a phenomenal job with this retelling of Beauty and the Beast that it's definitely worth checking out. With its stellar performances, impressive visual effects and steady stream of side-splitting humor, the film does not fall short on entertainment. And with almost every aspect of the 1991 film preserved in the story, this remake is sure to have Disney fans feeling nostalgic.