March 17, 2017: “Beauty and the Beast”

“Beauty and the Beast”

Release Date: March 17, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG (for some action, violence, peril, and frightening images).

The success of Disney’s live-action film, “Beauty and the Beast,” is so very well deserved, as this motion

picture is cinemagic. It is that rare treat of a film that combines a wonderful story, inspired casting,

memorable music, beautiful cinematography, and spectacular effects that had me enjoying every frame.

For those concerned that this version would not live up to the standards set by its 1991 predecessor,

which was the first animated feature to earn a Best Picture Academy Award nomination, in some ways

this telling exceeds expectations.

Emma Watson (Belle) is simply enchanting, and Dan Stevens (Beast/Prince) is very convincing, giving

depth and poignancy to the character. The supporting players, from Kevin Kline (Maurice) to Josh Gad

(Le Fou), are also thoroughly enjoyable.

Director Bill Condon knows a thing or two about movie musicals (“Dreamgirls” and “Chicago”), and he

has put those significant talents to work here. The film also benefits greatly from a wonderful score that

includes songs from the animated feature, as well as four new songs written for this version by

composer Alan Menken.

“Beauty and the Beast” may be a “tale as old as time,” but it still tugs at the heart strings.