We got a sneak peek of the new live-action film Beauty and the Beast, which opens in theaters this Friday, so we could give you the inside scoop.
Beauty and the Beast is a beautifully made film that stays true to the original animated movie, while adding some backstory about Belle’s mom and the Beast’s childhood. Much of the audience in the theater found themselves clapping after some of the musical numbers; you almost felt like you were watching a live play.
Although it’s rated PG, this movie is not for young audiences. My six year old, who usually isn’t afraid of anything, closed her eyes during some parts of the movie. The Beast is scary for about the first third of the movie, with his fangs and ferocious attitude, until he starts having a change of heart. There are also some frightening wolves that appear a couple times and an intense fight scene with guns. I would recommend that kids be at least 8 or 9 before seeing this movie.
The sets and scenery were amazing. I read about the architecture and interior design for the movie because I thought it was magical and copied some of the press release below if you are interested:
The art department spent months researching period architecture and interior design to create the look of the Prince/Beast’s castle. In the end, it was a combina on of different architectural styles, but the majority was French Rococo, a style prevalent in 1740s France used in the design of such notable structures as the Palace of Versailles. “Rococo was a French design style where the mo f was quite extreme,” says Greenwood. “It was a very short- lived design theme because it was so intense and excessive and very expensive, but it did have a big impact on the overall visual look of our film.”
One significant difference between this castle and the castle from the animated film is its evolving look. Greenwood explains, “The castle in the animated film does not change over the course of the story, but because we’re working within a live-action format we were able to show the castle reacting to the effects of the spell as time goes by. With Rococo, everything is very exuberant, but also very organic, and what we wanted to convey in our designs was it slowly growing and stretching – post enchantment – which is reflected in the castle’s frost, topiaries, architecture and plaster moldings.”
The castle’s ballroom is another massive set. The floor is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is based on a pa ern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau in the Czech Republic.
Also included are ten glass chandeliers – each measuring 14 feet x 7 feet – which are based on actual chandeliers from Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.
Belle’s bedroom, like the ballroom, is located in the benevolent enchantment area of the castle and is designed to appeal to every li le girl as the ideal fairy tale bedroom. The west wing, where the Beast o en retreats, is the epicenter of the enchantment and is designed in Italian baroque, which is more sinister and dark in appearance.
The castle’s library is based on the design of a celebrated library in Portugal and is a key se ng and relevant to an important theme in the story: the thirst for knowledge and the vital role books play in feeding the imagina on. The floor is made from approximately 2,000 square feet of faux marble and features thousands of books which were created especially for the produc on.
The enchanted forest that surrounds the Beast’s castle was built on stage H, the largest stage at Shepperton, measuring 9,600 square feet. The forest, which took 15 weeks to complete, includes real trees, hedges, a frozen lake, a set of 29-foot high ice gates and approximately 20,000 icicles.
There have been countless articles about the gay characters in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, so I’m not going to add to that pile. I will say that I did not feel that the movie was inappropriate. It did not raise questions for my kids or start any kind of discussions about homosexuality. I actually don’t think it was obvious enough to them, so for us it was a non-issue.
I also want to mention that we saw this movie at the AMC Navy Pier IMAX. The screen is enormous, which made us feel like we were in the movie. To be honest, it never occurred to me to see a movie while at Navy Pier, but it’s something for the bucket list! Before the movie we were able to enjoy the new seesaw art installation outside. Check out Kidlist on Instagram to see the video.
Official Movie Synopsis:
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.