Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast roars into theaters this weekend, and from everything we’ve seen and heard, it’s going to be a massive success. But how is the film? Did the animated feature need to be remade? We have a few items for you in this column including our review and some interesting things Disney has put out recently regarding Beauty and the Beast.



OUR REVIEW OF DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Last weekend we had the opportunity to screen the brand new live action Beauty and the Beast at the gorgeous El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.  We probably share your concern that Disney would somehow screw up the nearly perfect animated film from 1991. Cogsworth’s own words:

“If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it.”

But we are happy to report that this film, while faithful to the Disney classic, enhances and expands on the story and didn’t ruin our memories of the original. This film stands on its own and will hopefully spark renewed interest in the animated 90’s version as well.

Because it’s live action and longer than the original film, there was time to develop the backstories of both Belle and the Beast in this production. What happened to Belle’s mom? Why is the beast such a jerk? Those questions are mostly answered in this film, and it’s something that helps explain what they share in common and why they fall for each other.

The film is also a visual treat. Most of it appears to be well crafted CGI, so it’s practically an animated film. But it all feels real in a fantasy sort of way. Belle’s village is so cute that it just begs to become a theme park land. Beast’s castle is every bit as ornate and gorgeous as you could dream of, but which would just be too expensive to build as an actual set. So, for this film, the CGI mostly works.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect film. While the old songs you love are included here, and mostly mimic the way you remember them, there are also some new songs which just don’t seem to fit. The new numbers are interesting and would likely go over well in a different film, but they just don’t have the same clever lyrics and sound as the Howard Ashman and Alan Menken originals. Additionally, Emma Watson, who quite capably portrays Belle, isn’t really a singer. To compensate, they’ve auto-tuned her songs so the notes will sound correct. But that also makes her sound a bit robotic and not at all as melodic as the other numbers in the film.

Another quirk of the film is the CGI. While most of it is quite astounding, as mentioned above, the animation of the Beast’s movements seemed oddly out of sync with physics. When he jumps, runs, or walks, it just doesn’t seem real and often times feel like it has been sped up. However, his facial expressions are flawless, and that allows us to forgive the strangeness of his overall movements. There are some quirks with a few of the other CGI characters in the film, but I don’t want to overemphasize this point as it really isn’t core to how you are likely to feel about the totality of this feature.

In the end, the film will be judged on the rich story it tells, the beautiful acting, the wonderful music, and the tender heartstrings it pulls. I’m a crusty old critic, and even I spent the last 40 minutes of the movie in tears. I didn’t want to stop clapping at the end of the film and I knew immediately that I was watching new Disney history being made.

Don’t be scared away by this “Live Action” update to an animation classic, it’s truly beautiful inside and out.

“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” – Narrator


TOUCHING FAN VIDEO

Here’s something worth watching folks. Lance Horsley clearly loves his daughter, and he’s produced a cover of Tale As Old As Time which he sings with his adorable (or should I say adoraBELLE) daughter Amoré. I don’t share many fan videos, but this one touched my heart and fit the theme of today’s column perfectly.

PANDORA JEWELRY LAUNCHES NEW BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JEWELRY

Because no big Disney film goes without new merchandise partnerships these days, PANDORA (the charm bracelet company which has taken the Disney parks by storm) is releasing a new line of charms in the parks and in their stores everywhere.

The three new hand-finished pieces include Belle’s Radiant Rose charm, Mrs. Potts & Chip charm and Beauty and the Beast bangle.

In addition, PANDORA Jewelry will be selling a Disney Beauty and the Beast gift set in-stores only. The gift set will include the Mrs. Potts & Chip charm, the dazzling Belle Dress dangle and the Belle Enchanted Rose charm. With every in-store gift set purchase, consumers will receive a special gift with purchase to commemorate the new film, including the Disney Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and custom limited edition lithograph design. PANDORA invites you to shop this exclusive offer while supplies last.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST INVITATIONS

Punchbowl.com has unveiled a free online invitation for Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! This is the newest addition to The Disney Online Invitation Collection which launched in 2014. The invitation is a  great way for Disney fans to invite friends to see the film together.

Anyone who sends one of the new Beauty and the Beast invitations to four or more friends between March 5 – 27th is eligible to win a $50 gift card to cover all their movie popcorn and snacks. You can check out the promotion details here: https://www.punchbowl.com/p/magic-movie-giveaway.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST DIGITAL CONTENT

Disney is releasing new Beauty and the Beast-themed update across its digital offerings. You’ll find the Beauty and the Beast characters in some of Disney’s most popular apps, including:

  • Disney Crossy Road: Beauty and the Beast figurines and worlds inspired by the highly-anticipated live-action film launch in the game.
  • Disney Story Central: Beauty and the Beast enchants the largest collection of Disney stories with new tales, including The Enchantment, World of Reading: Beauty and the Beast, and more.
  • Disney Emoji Blitz: New Beauty and the Beast Item Cards will be added, featuring Belle’s Cottage, The Beast’s Magic Mirror, Belle’s Fountain, and more. Beauty and the Beast emojis inspired by the animated classic will also be added, including Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts.
  • Disney Jigsaw – March 17: A new Beauty and the Beast puzzle pack is now available.
  • Color by Disney: New Beauty and the Beast coloring pages invite artists to bring the enchanted tale to life.
Color by Disney

 

  • Disney Stickers: Beauty and the Beast pack is also available on the App Store for iMessage. Featuring a new art style and popular phrases, including “Beast Mode,” and “It’s Lit,”
  • A standalone Beauty and the Beast mobile game is also in development and expected to launch this summer.

PHOTOS FROM THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST PREMIERE

Finally, let’s take a look at the red carpet from the world premiere of Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on March 2nd. Keep your eyes open for some of our MicePals.

Actors Dan Stevens and Emma Watson  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Actors Luke Evans, Josh Gad and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (L-R bottom) Director Bill Condon, Actors Dan Stevens, Emma Watson, Audra McDonald and Composer Alan Menken (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Celine Dion arrives (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Luke Evans and Josh Gad perform on the red carpet! (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Josh Gad and Javier Bardem (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Co-Screenwriter Stephen Chbosky, Co-producer Greg Yolen, Producer Todd Lieberman, Producer David Hoberman, actors Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Walt Disney Studios President Alan Bergman, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, Sean Bailey, President, Marketing, The Walt Disney Studios, Ricky Strauss and Executive Vice President of Production, The Walt Disney Studios, Tendo Nagenda (L-R bottom) Music producer Matt Sullivan, Director Bill Condon, Singer Celine Dion, actors Dan Stevens, Emma Watson, Composer Alan Menken, actors Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Josh Gad and guests – You’ll see a few MiceChatters in this shot!! (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

Let us know what you think of the film after you see it.

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Dusty is the founder and CEO of MiceChat.com. When he's not visiting theme parks and writing, editing or speaking about Disney and theme parks worldwide, Dusty stays busy as the Executive Director of both the Walt Disney Birthplace AND the Dick Van Dyke Foundation. He also runs O-Zell Soda (the company originally operated by Walt Disney's father and at which Walt once worked). If you've got news or photos to share with the MiceChat community, or would like to book Dusty for an upcoming event, please contact [email protected]