Beauty And The Beast

"Excellent"

Beauty And The Beast Review


This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to give the story a photo-realistic sheen. The addition of more songs makes it feel much more like a big movie musical. And the use of real actors adds quite a lot of detail and subtext in the character interaction. But basically, this is still the same romantic fairy tale: lovely to look as it makes the audience swoon and sigh.

It's set in a French village, where Belle (Emma Watson) is looked at with suspicion by her neighbours for her empowered-female ways, reading books, expressing her opinions and running the farm where she lives with her single dad Maurice (Kevin Kline). It's no wonder that the vain soldier Gaston (Luke Evans) pursues her, since she's the only girl who isn't chasing him. Then one day Maurice and Belle have a fateful encounter with a castle hidden in a deep woods under a curse. Imprisoned by its beastly master (Dan Stevens), Belle befriends the staff, who have been transformed into household objects like a lampstand (Ewan McGregor), clock (Ian McKellen), teapot (Emma Thompson), harpsichord (Stanley Tucci) and feather duster (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). All of them conspire to help Belle fall in love with the Beast, which would break the spell.

Director Bill Condon (who made Dreamgirls and the final Twilight movies) makes the most of the live-action cast, allowing them to stir all kinds of undercurrents into their roles, which adds weight and interest to the rather predictable storyline. The film still looks largely animated thanks to an extensive use of digital backgrounds and characters, but the actors add an earthy tone that breaks the surface, bringing in some more textured emotions and sharper humour. The whole cast is excellent, with particular scene-stealing energy coming from Evans and Josh Gad (as his super-faithful sidekick LeFou), who are both funny and villainous at the same time. And Kline is also a standout for a surprisingly thoughtful performance.

Of course, Watson and Stevens (even under all of that digital fur) make for a lovely central couple. And the A-list vocal cast adds plenty of spice along the way, despite jarring accents in the case of McGregor's comedy French and Thompson's broad Cockney. Thankfully, Condon and Watson let the girl-power theme gurgle quietly in the background, making the point without ever shouting it. And there's a clever political touch in the villagers' rush to paranoid judgement about a perceived threat they haven't bothered to understand. But at the centre, this is a sweeping romantic fantasy that still has the power win over even the harshest critics in the audience.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Beauty & The Beast:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Monday 13th March 2017

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Mandeville Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Todd Lieberman

Starring: as Belle, as Beast / Prince Adam, as Gaston, as Lumiere, as Cogsworth, as Mrs. Potts, as LeFou, as Plumette, as Cadenza, as Maurice, as Agathe, as Wardrobe, Nathan Mack as Chip, Adrian Schiller as Monsieur D'Arque, Sonoya Mizuno as Debutante, Nicole O'Neill as Debutante, as The King, Zoe Rainey as Belle's Mother, Harriet Jones as The Queen

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