★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
"You have to help me. You have to stand." That's a great quote from Emma Watson in Beauty & The Beast, an absolutely amazing remake of the classic Disney animated film. Watson plays Belle, an avid book reader living with her widowed father, Maurice (played by Kevin Kline) in the French village of Villeneuve. Gaston (played by Luke Evans), a former soldier, wants to marry Belle, but she is repulsed by him. One night, Maurice & his horse, Philippe, end up at a castle seeking refuge. Maurice is eventually imprisoned there by The Beast (played by Dan Stevens) as punishment for taking a rose from the garden. Belle eventually goes there & asks to be imprisoned in Maurice's place, to which The Beast agrees.
Belle is eventually met by some of the objects in the castle: Lumière (played by Ewan McGregor), a candelabra; Cogsworth (played by Ian McKellen), a shelf clock; Mrs. Potts (played by Emma Thompson), a teapot; Chip (played by Nathan Mack), Mrs. Potts's son & also a teapot; Maestro Cadenza (played by Stanley Tucci), a harpsichord; Madame de Garderobe (played by Audra McDonald), Maestro Cadenza's wife & a wardrobe; & Plumette (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Lumière's lover & a feather duster. They explain to Belle that they, along with The Beast, were transformed from humans into objects (or in The Beast's case, a beast) as punishment for not taking in a poor beggar from the cold. After The Beast (who was a prince) refused to let her in, the beggar transformed herself into a beautiful enchantress, who realized that The Beast was ignorant. She then transformed The Beast from a prince into a beast, & also turned the people who lived in the castle into objects. The enchantress also left an enchanted rose. To break the spell, The Beast must love someone & receive their love in return before the last petal of the rose falls. If that doesn't happen, he will remain a beast forever, & the objects will no longer be sentient & become regular objects.
Belle eventually grows to care for The Beast. But time is running out, & Gaston, along with his sidekick LeFou (played by Josh Gad), are planning to kill The Beast. Now, Belle must show her love for The Beast & stop Gaston from killing him.
The cast is amazing. Bill Condon's direction is amazing. The screenplay by Stephen Chbosky & Evan Spiliotopoulos is brilliant. The cinematography by Tobias Schliessler is breathtaking. The editing by Virginia Katz is excellent. The costume design by Jacqueline Durran is amazing. The production design by Sarah Greenwood is beautiful. The makeup & hairstyling is amazing. The film score by Alan Menken is amazing. And the visual effects are excellent. This is one of the best Disney live-action adaptations yet, & it actually improves on the animated masterpiece that it was adapted from.