Disney has been doing live action adaptations of their animated classics for a few years now and they keep hitting them out of the park. From Maleficent to Cinderella to last year’s wonderful version of The Jungle Book, they have been taking films that are already beloved and making incredible live action retellings that have been giving new life to classic stories. Their latest endeavor is a live action version of one of their biggest hits of all time, Beauty and the Beast, available this month on Blu-ray and DVD.
Belle (Emma Watson) is a young woman living in a small French town. When her father goes missing on a trip, Belle finds him in the castle of a cantankerous beast (Dan Stevens) and offers to trade places with her father to free him. Now a captive in the castle, Belle slowly starts to realize the Beast may not be as horrible as he seems and actually has a dark secret that may endanger all of their lives.
Right now, in entertainment Disney can pretty much do no wrong. With their brilliant handling of the Marvel Universe and the Star Wars franchise, they are on top of the box office again and again. But when it comes to their own brands they are still one of the most consistent studios out there and these live action movies are proof of that. With so much competition in the animation arena, making these live action classics is a smart move. Beauty and the Beast may well be their best one yet. The casting is so perfect with Emma Watson doing a brilliant job and leading the fantastic cast including Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, a scene stealing Josh Gad, and the voices of Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Stanley Tucci. The production design is absolutely stunning and gorgeous and perfectly captures the world of the animated film. The songs are all there with a few new ones added and all the arrangements are memorable and well executed. Beauty and the Beast marks a new bar for Disney’s live action classics, it will be interesting to see what they do with the upcoming Mulan and The Lion King. Very highly recommended.