Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Disney’s New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Shines

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" is in theaters now. Copyright Walt Disney Motion Pictures

I’ll be honest, I did not enjoy Disney’s live action remake of “Cinderella.” That added to the reviews I saw on TV yesterday and this morning, made me apprehensive about seeing “Beauty and the Beast.” Boy were those reviews wrong, I loved it! Everyone else in the packed theater did too – we laughed, we cried, and we applauded at the end.

Let’s address the focus of the less than stellar reviews: the two leads Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Yes, their singing was underwhelming, yes, Emma Watson’s voice is small, and was highly Auto-Tuned, but it didn’t ruin it for me. They gave engaging performances, and I truly cared for these characters.

Now, as for the other performances, they couldn’t have been better. Luke Evans almost stole the show as Gaston. He gave a terrific musical performance, and he was funny, vile, and evil – a great villain. Also of special note was the wonderful Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. This is only the second musical the Oscar winning actress/writer has done since her professional career took off back in the 1980s, and I can’t imagine why. And what can I say about four-time Tony award winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe? She’s one of the greatest musical theater performers of all time. Her voice is beautiful, rich, resonant, and luscious, and she gets to use her upper register which is sparkling and full of color.

Director Bill Condon, and his production team have created a visual feast. This movie is stunning, with vibrant colors, and gorgeous sets and vistas. Real love was put into this enchanting tale of fairy. I can’t say enough good things about the acting, directing, visual effects, design, music, 3D effects, and cinematography.

Verdict: Fairytastic! 5 out of 5 stars. Get to the theater and see “Beauty and the Beast;” you’ll be so happy you did. Click here to visit the official “Beauty and the Beast” Facebook page, and here for the official website.  

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