You would be surprised by how many of my male friends asked me in recent months, "Hey, is it weird if I want to go see Beauty and the Beast?" And every time I'd reply with, "No, because I want to see it, too." Granted, it wasn't the most anticipated movie release of 2017 for me. Hell, I wouldn't have even made a conscious effort to go see it unless I had a reason to. Well, I ended up going to see it the day of its release with my family (more specifically for my younger sister) and actually thoroughly enjoyed it.
Don't get me wrong, though, don't feel you absolutely need to see this movie with a family member or even your significant other. It's just a good movie in general. Now, does it measure up to original? Of course not, but that was never the intent. I usually don't have faith that animated movies will be done right when they become live action, but Beauty in the Beast proved me wrong in that respect. Then again, I initially assumed it would be worth seeing and it met my expectations.
I was actually surprised the movie was over two hours in length simply because I didn't think it would translate as well to live action, but then again, I probably should have figured that. If they told the story just how it was in the original, it would have ran way short, but similar to just about every other animated movie turned into live action, the base of the story is slightly changed. The key word there is "slightly" because the basic plot of Beauty and the Beast is essentially the same, as is the magic of it. That would have been a major criticism of mine had it been changed considerably.
Part of what made the original so exceptional and critically-acclaimed was its amazing soundtrack, and the live action version doesn't disappoint in that respect, either. All of the original tunes are included and are performed wonderfully, so the soundtrack alone is worth seeing this movie for. This movie is virtually a musical, and while that may not sound appealing to some, this film should be the exception for how it is executed.
Even as a 21-year-old, I never felt the musical performances or the movie itself were catering to a young audience, and that was what was key. This is not a "kids movie" by any stretch, despite the Disney label, but it is appropriate for all ages because there's very little violence and everything is enjoyable but not to the point where I felt it was being dumbed down or insulting the intelligence of older audience members.
I also must mention how perfectly cast Emma Watson was in the role of Belle. She not only did she look the part but she has that innocent, wholesome aura about her that makes her likable. I wasn't familiar with anyone else in the film, but everyone played their roles well, and I especially enjoyed Luke Evans as Gaston. Speaking of whom, Gaston is such a classic character in the annals of Disney's villainous history that he needed to be done properly, and I thought they did right by Gaston in this movie by how he came across and the small touches he added to it as well.
Finally, Josh Gad did a hell of a job as LeFou, and of all the minor changes made to the plot of Beauty and the Beast, I really liked how he was made out to be likable throughout the film, showing remorse for his evil actions alongside Gaston. My only complaint was that it was only after Gaston showed he didn't care for him during one of the final scenes that he turned to the "good side," and he never sought vengeance after that. He just helps out the inanimate objects fight back against the villagers and that's about it.
Nevertheless, 2017's adaption of Beauty in the Beast gets a big thumbs up from me. The original I don't think will ever be topped, but this was an excellent effort. Besides, as a standalone movie, it was a real treat and a lighthearted film everyone can enjoy. Why bother comparing it to the original, anyway? There's a ton of quality movies out at the moment, but I have the feeling Beauty in the Beast will be in theaters for a while, so seek it out when you can.
Should you see this movie? Yes.