Beauty and the Beast (2017) Review

Disney have converted their 1991 classic animation into a live-action, visual wonder. 


Since French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont wrote Beauty and the Beast, it has been made for TV and the cinema on numerous occasions, with slight differences. In 1961, the beast was a prince who turned into a werewolf each night. The 1987 TV series starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton and executively produced by Game of Thrones‘ George R. R. Martin was hit and miss.

But nothing beat the 1991 Disney animation, of which this new live-action remake is based upon. It was the first animation to ever be nominated for an Oscar best picture and won. No pressure then.

The trailer for this new film mirror imaged that of the old shot by shot. If you are hoping for that throughout the movie, then you’re in for a treat.

Beauty and the Beast follows in the footsteps of Cinderella (2015) and The Jungle Book (2016) as another classic animation that’s been re-worked in a modern-day way.

Bill Condon’s adaptation, starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as The Beast/The Prince is a visual wonder, but the film itself isn’t without minor flaws.

With the running time for Condon’s musical, romantic, fantasy  film being 45 minutes longer than the animated version, it was going to be interesting how they filled the extra space.

In some places it worked. The prologue at the start of the film helped audiences understand the origins of the curse in greater detail. A look into Belle’s life back in Paris added to her and her father’s story arc.

But in other places it didn’t, most notably the additional music. The extra songs composed by Alan Menken seemed a little unnecessary. The music from the 1991 hit made the film unique and captured audiences, there was little need for any more.

We were also left to admire Tobias Schliessler’s cinematography a little too long. The first act ultimately dragged out far more than one would like. Yes it’s a castle, but we don’t need to spend almost 45 minutes exploring it.

Saying that, the casting could not have been better picked.

Watson charms as the farm girl looking for a way out of her boring life in Villeneuve, and Stevens produces a stellar display as the Beast looking for love to break his dreadful curse.

Ewan McGregor is almost unrecognisable as Lumière but steals the show with his wit and determination. Sir Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson are also excellent as Cogsworth and Mrs Potts respectively.

Kevin Kline (Pink Panther) as Maurice is the typical father figure you’d expect him to be- caring, noble and overprotective. Luke Evans (The Hobbit) is a perfectly sinister Gaston, wishing for Belle’s hand in marriage.

Josh Gad’s LeFou has caused plenty of controversy in the build-up to the films release, but he is as flamboyant as one hopes him to be. The ‘Openly-Gay’ moment in the movie’s climatic scene shouldn’t really have sparked so much aggravation. Why can’t two guys have a dance together?

Also, the CGI of the famous talking furniture and crockery is again another example of just how far technology has come in the last few years. Go back a decade, and some would have said it would have been very tricky to convert this film into a live-action movie.

If only the film wasn’t as long then we would’ve been onto a winner. If grown adults were struggling towards the end, imagine the children who this film is most certainly aimed for trying to keep up.

(PG, 129 minutes) 



MLS Daily: Minnesota United taught harsh lesson in Portland after 2017 MLS curtain-raiser.

No one said it was going to be easy. 

Minnesota United and Atlanta United are both in their maiden MLS campaigns this year, with the former taking centre stage last night against 2015 MLS Champions Portland Timbers.

However it was to be a tough first night for Adrian Heath’s side, who for all their possession, crashed to a 5-1 defeat at Providence Park.

Lawrence Olum scored the first goal of the 2017 MLS season before braces from midfielder Diego Valeri and striker Fanendo Adi made the scoreline convincing. Christian Ramirez netted Minnesota’s first ever goal in America’s top division, but it would turn out to be just a consolation.

Minnesota were very much in the game for 80 minutes, until three quick-fire goals sunk the hearts of the travelling fans.

Adi, whose two goals came in stoppage time at the end of the second half to kill off any Minnesota fightback, told Portland after the game: “I knew I was always going to score.

“I have been working hard in training and I feel confident in front of goal.

“It’s an amazing result. They are an excellent new team and we are very happy to come out with the victory.”

Defender Olum added: “To win the way we won in front of the home crowd is an incredible feeling.

Timbers head coach Caleb Porter believed the score did not justify the performance of Minnesota.

“They are a good side (Minnesota). They will beat teams this year,” he admitted.

“The way we managed to control those last 10 minutes after conceding shows that this group can be scary going forward when they want to be.

“The back four did well to manage their counter-attacking style so overall it was a good game from us.”


Heath, who used to play for Everton, told Minnesota after the game: “When I look at our long periods of possession, that gives me a little bit of optimism as well, that we can actually keep the ball with the players we’ve got on the team.

“Their goals were at really crucial times, every time we felt we were just creeping back into the game then, we had another one against us.

“I thought we started a little apprehensive but we grew into the game in the first half. Second half, I thought we started to impose ourselves a little bit. Somebody just said we had the most possession this evening, which surprised me, but I thought we were in the game.

“We played against a really good team, but at the 82nd minute, it’s still 2-1 and we’re looking more likely at that stage. To finish the game with 5 goals against is a little bit of a poor reflection of the evening.”

Watch out for Justin Thomas in 2017.

The 23-year old has already won two PGA Tour events this season and looks ready to take centre stage at the majors. 

Justin Thomas is relatively unknown to golf fans in Europe who don’t necessarily follow the PGA Tour.

But it won’t be too long until the 23-year old from Kentucky becomes the subject of every conversation.

It’s only be a matter of time before the American will be competing for major championships. When you watch him, a younger Jordan Spieth will instantly pop into your mind. The one who rose through the rankings at a ferocious pace a few years back before winning the Masters and US Open in 2015.

Thomas has the whole package in terms of a modern-day golfer. He can whack the ball off the tee for more than 300 yards- which is a must these days if you want to win one of these events- and an impressive short game which coincides perfectly with his driving ability.

The young prodigy is also very sensible when selecting his shots. Along with his caddie, the 23-year old always thinks about the environment around him. He thinks about the wind speed, surrounding rough, water hazards, bunkers and how the ball will react on the green.

He also takes into consideration his physiological state. His adrenaline to succeed plays a key factor on the young man’s decision making. This is what makes him so good, and it is why he is winning tournaments.

His win on Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Kapalua comes after he retained the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last October.

Thomas’s win last weekend also moved him up to 12th in the world rankings.

The impressive start to the season sees him second in the early Fedex Cup standings, just 36 points behind Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

Thomas was unlucky to miss out at last year’s Ryder Cup, but the young prodigy will certainly be one of the first players on Team USA for this year’s Presidents Cup, which takes place at the Liberty National in New Jersey in late September.

Some have called for him to be paired with long-term friend Spieth in that competition, should both be fit and selected. That friendship could be tested though in the four majors which precede the Presidents Cup.

Spieth’s two major titles in 2015 have spurned Thomas on even more recently to improve his game, resulting in three PGA Tour titles within the last 15 months.

Although its been a short career thus far, the 23-year old looks more than ready to win his maiden major.

The Masters is the first to arrive in April, and the Tournament of Champions winner will no doubt be suited to the famous Augusta golf course with its slick fairways and greens.

His consistency levels over the four-day events are phenomenal. If he is playing well in the opening round, he will more than likely play well all weekend.

One things for certain, the PGA Tour is a gruelling 10 month slog in which keeping your performance above average is becoming increasingly difficult. At some point, Thomas will find himself struggling to make cuts consistently.

That will be a true sign of whether or not he is major championship worthy. Can he climb out of a hole should one appear beneath him. We have seen past champions sail into the distance after winning one. Just look at Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Graeme McDowell.

But Thomas is still a baby compared to other players in the field. He has a lot still to learn before he reaches his peak. There is no doubt in my mind that this man will go on to win multiple major championships.

The 23-year old is back in action this weekend alongside Matsuyama, Spieth and Olympic champion Justin Rose at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii.