Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans
Making remakes of their own classics seems to be the challenge which top guns at Disney have set for themselves. Last year they took the legendary “Jungle Book” to new heights of supremacy and this year, they have set themselves up for the herculean task of reviving what has been one of the most mystifying fairy tale of recent ages. The unlikely and spell-breaking romance between a hideous Beast and the delicately beautiful “Belle” has always been the most interesting of the classic tales.
The Trailers raised the bar of expectations quite high and though it seemed impossible to surpass the animated version of the same tale (1991) with this latest version with live action, yet Disney has been successful in casting the spell with a precious combination of enhanced ferocity and deeper tenderness.
As it turns out, the live action allows all those emotions and expressions which were reluctant to skim through the rigidity of animation. This latest take on the tale is a rich cluster of varied emotions supremely decorated with highly efficient CGI.
I had my apprehensions regarding selection of Emma Watson to play the part, as somehow or other I couldn’t trust the wizardly Hermoine Granger of Harry Potter’s Universe to portray the sensitivities which have always been the hallmark of Belle’s character. Emma actually gives a severely convincing call for all doubters like myself with a performance which is not only convincing but gives a new respect to the character. Her delicate features and a sensitive portrayal combine effectively to make a place in your heart. What stands out for me in Emma’s portrayal of Belle, is degree of perfection to which she uses her eyes. Innocence; Amazement; Worry and Affection … she shows it all with those beautiful eyes.
Dan Steven’s effectiveness as the Beast might hide behind the brilliance of the Make-up artist and CGI experts. But fact remains, that Dan talks, walks, and emotes perfectly for the Beast. It takes some time to be familiar with the unconventional look given to the Beast, but once you get comfortable with the look, you can’t help but to marvel the work behind the look of this kindhearted prince gone under a spell for becoming selfish and inconsiderate. The final transformation taken by the best is the peak of CGI wizardry. VERY EFFECTIVE.
There are only two interconnected aspects of the movie where the feeling of “something missing” bothered me. One of these was the selection of Luke Evans as Gaston and the shallowness of his character. Extremely one dimensional character who was meant to provoke viewers to despise him, but as far as I am concerned, I was not even bothered about him.
The second area which could’ve been more effective was the lack of insight we got in the village life. It started off beautifully with Belle being portrayed as a girl ahead of her times in a small village with small minds. But the focus too quickly shifted to the Beast’s Castle. I would’ve preferred an addition of 10 minutes or so to know a few of the village characters which later on were projected as somehow significant towards the end.
The above mentioned end up being insignificantly minor glitches within the overall scheme of things.It is a comprehensive package as a whole and the dual icing on the cake is the majestic combination of Extraordinary Music (both background and songs) and the overall Texture of the Castle and the life within.
These two positives are actually so strong that you don’t feel like bothering about any other logical or technical glitches. Among music, the enhanced reproduction of the title track is a masterstroke as it soars your spirits to where you want to be while watching this beautiful tale.
Disney proves yet again why it has been enjoying a monopolistic supremacy when it comes to making movies on classic tales. Doesn’t matter if its an original or a remake, Disney knows how to justify and glorify the characters and magical tales we all have grown with. The best thing about “Beauty and the Beast” live action remake is the retention of its original theme. With help of brilliant CGI and Music, this turns out be yet another classical remake of a Classic.
Me and many of my generation have never been out of the spell we went under when we heard the tale or read the book in our childhood. But this latest adaptation of the tale by Disney, actually re-casts the spell and sucks us into the magical world where Beauty turns Beasts into adorable creatures.