Monday, 5 June 2017

Popcorn & Coffee: Disney's Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray Review

Disney Home Entertainment; PG; 129 minutes
Arriving tomorrow on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment is this year's smash-hit Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, the film stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-raw, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen.

Based on the Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name (which was based on eighteenth-century fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont), Beauty and the Beast centers on a cold-hearted prince (played by Dan Stevens), who is cursed by an enchantress. The curse turns him into a monstrous beast and also turns all of his servants into household items. The enchantress puts a spell on one single rose. Unless the princes finds true love before the rose's last petal falls, he will become a monster forever.

Years later, a widow father named Maurice (played by Kevin Kline), gets lost in the woods and stumbles upon the Beast's castle, where he comes upon a rose garden. After attempting to steal a rose to bring back home for his daughter, Belle (played by Emma Watson), the Beast catches Maurice and tosses him into a dungeon.

After finding her father's horse, Belle goes out to look for him, and she too stumbles upon the castle, where she makes a deal with the Beast to take her father's place in exchange for his release.

While the Beast has no other intention than to just keep her imprisoned, his servants have other plans for her. They are hoping that Belle is the one who will help break the Beast's curse, thus turning them all back into their human forms.

The bonus features on the Blu-ray and Digital HD includes:

  • Enchanted Table Read – Join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more.

  • A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic.
  • The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast” – Emma Watson introduces several of the talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.
  • Making a Moment with Celine Dion – Celine Dion shares what it’s like to sing “How Does a Moment Last Forever” – and be a part of the legacy of “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – See what goes into making some of the best-known moments from “Beauty and the Beast.”
    • “Belle” -- Filmmakers and cast reveal how it felt to shoot this memorable scene.
    • “Be Our Guest” -- Discover all that went into creating this epic, primarily virtual performance.
    • “Gaston” -- Join the cast for rehearsals and filming of this rousing, high-energy number.
    • “Beauty and the Beast” -- You’re invited on set for the filming of this beloved, classic scene.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Introduction by Director Bill Condon -- Director Bill Condon presents a collection of scenes that, for one reason or another, ended up on the cutting-room floor.
    • Gaston Courts Belle -- Pleased with himself after settling a disturbance with the townspeople, a triumphant Gaston attempts to woo Belle.
    • Bread and Jam for Agathe -- On her morning market rounds, Belle stops by to see Agathe, the village beggar woman.
    • Storming the Ice Gates -- The angry mob of villagers, led by Gaston, overwhelms the castle’s defenses.
    • Lumière Torches LeFou -- As the fight rages around them, LeFou scuffles with Plumette … until he experiences a sudden, extremely heated interruption.
    • Monsieur Toilette -- LeFou escapes from the brawl into a small room, where he's startled by a castle resident.
    • Cogsworth Rescues Lumière -- When Clothilde the fishmonger threatens Lumière, Cogsworth leaps into the fray.
    • Treacle the Lasses -- Three village lasses chase Chip and Froufrou – Madame Garderobe’s dog-turned-footstool – into the kitchen, where a surprise awaits.
    • LeFou and Monsieur Toilette Reunite -- After the spell is broken and the castle residents are returned to human form, LeFou and his new acquaintance meet again.
  • Extended Song: “Days in the Sun” – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, introduced by director Bill Condon.
  • “Beauty and the Beast” Music Video – Award-winning artists Ariana Grande and John Legend perform a moving version of this iconic song.
  • Making the Music Video – Go on set to capture the magic as it happens in Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” music video.
  • Disney Song Selection – Jump directly to all your favorite songs and sing along with the movie.
    • “Belle”
    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Music Box)
    • “Belle” (Reprise)
    • “Gaston” “Be Our Guest”
    • “Days in the Sun” “Something There”
    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Montmartre)
    • “Beauty and the Beast”
    • “Evermore”
    • “The Mob Sing”
    • “Beauty and the Beast” (Finale)

Final Thoughts: Being fond of the original animated classic (you can read my review for it here), I wasn't very thrilled when I saw the advertisements for this year's live musical version. Nevertheless, I thought I would at least watch it when it landed on Blu-ray.

The film basically goes by the 1991's story, but with a few added side-plots, scenes, and extended songs. While the film is likeable, there was just something a bit off with it for me. For starters the CGI effects for the Beast are horrible. Why does he have goat horns growing out of his head? The character seemed to be watered down, as he isn't as menacing as he was in the cartoon. The villain Gaston (played by Luke Evans) is too likeable in this version and never really feels like a true villain.

At 129 minutes, the film feels way too long. Several of the new songs, which I'm guessing are from the Broadway musical, feel a bit clunky and could have been left on the cutting room floor. The subplot about Belle's mother should have been edited out, as it adds nothing new to the film.

As for the acting, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens both give great performances. Actually, the entire casts does a good job in their roles. The only actor I didn't care for was Josh Gad, who overacted as Gaston's sidekick LeFou.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is an alright adaptation of the classic animated film that will probably appeal to young viewers, especially girls. Adults who grew up watching the original might be disappointed with the unnecessary changes. For the film itself, I'm giving it a 3 out of 5 rating, but since the Blu-ray is loaded with special features and extras, I'm rating it 4 out of 5. 

*I received a complimentary Blu-ray from the Disney Home Entertainment. All opinions are my own.

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