Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast - Movie Review

Desi Rating: 3/5 Stars
Directed by: Bill Condon
Screenplay by: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Produced by: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian Mckellen

Bill Codon’s Beauty and the Beast is an unadulterated live action rendition of 1991 Disney’s Academy Award nominated classic. Who doesn’t know and love these Disney classics. Disney stories are always simple with a strong message and this one is no different.

Beauty and the Beast teaches us, that, compassion, humanity and a good heart are the main criteria to define a
person’s beauty rather than good looks and attractive physical appearance.
Story revolves around three main characters Beast, Belle and Gaston. Beast used to be an arrogant prince and his arrogance lead him to be cursed by an enchantress. Only the true love can break the spell but for that Beast needs to learn compassion and make someone fall in love with him for his inner beauty. Belle on the other hand is young beautiful women who looks at things beyond their physical appearance and believes there is more to life than this simple provincial routine life. Gaston on the other hand is a narcissistic former soldier turned hunter who is hell bent on making Belle his trophy wife. For next 129 minutes, we see these characters dance, sing, romance and fight, with Belle eventually falling in love with Beast and curse being lifted.
When adapting a classic screenplay/storyline gets very limited scope for change, audience pretty much has the idea what will happen in the film and expects/like it that way, that is why in such cases film maker’s sole focus is on enhancement of how it happens. This is exactly where Bill Codon excels, he has kept every element same as 1991 classic yet his direction presents them in a very refreshing manner. Middle act required a tighter screenplay to keep the momentum intact but first and last act covers for this nicely.
Music composition along with choreography is done exceptionally well. Especially I enjoyed the tap dance moment in the Gaston song but the romantic Academy Award winning ballet “Beauty and the Beast” is the highlight of the film. In their iconic yellow dress and blue suit Belle and Beast together create one of the most romantic cinematic experience. By the time this song came on screen, I had stopped viewing him as an ugly beast and for me realization of this fact made it the best part of the film. To achieve such a connection with the audience, deserves a special applause.
All the actors/singers have performed with perfection. Luke Evans portrayal of Gaston stands out the most, his narcissism and self-love literally echoes from the cinema screen. Emma Watson as Belle is believable and I am not sure how to rate Dan Stevens as Beast but use of a CGI Beast face over an actual human in a body suit works for the screen and blends well with Dan’s vocal expressions. Rest of the cast has big names like Ewan McGregor and Ian Mckellen and they do live up to expectation.
An unfinished version of original classic was first screened at the New York Film Festival on Sept 29 1991 and received 10-minute-long standing ovation from the film festival audience. So, the question arrives, is this rendition of the classic equally good? Unfortunately, for me no.
Apart from slow middle act as mentioned earlier, I have problem with the CGI characterization of Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts. If you see the actual cartoon characters they have very prominent features that help elaborate their personalities on screen. I believe makers have taken away the necessary screen presence from them while confining to the norms of live action genre. They do look like actual objects but that also makes it very hard at times for viewers to follow the character’s facial expressions with the voice.
End Fight Sequence is done brilliantly and is great on its own, but when compared with the original doesn’t reach the required high note and leaves audience unsatisfied.
Bill Codon’s rendition is a visual treat and If you loved the 1991 classic, then you will enjoy this one too.
I was only 6 years old when the first one came out and watching it again made me relive my childhood memories I go with 3 stars.


  1. Thank you for the review. Your reviews are always accurate

  2. I give this review 5 stars :)

  3. Thank you for the review...will give this movie a try