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(Copyright: Walt Disney
Studios Motion Pictures,
the film publisher
or graphic artist.)
Written By: Scott Gunnion
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films
Director: Bill Condon
Producers: David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman
Scriptwriters: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos
Main Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson
Released: March 17 2017
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Beauty And The Beast arrived upon us burdened with high expectations. It came shackled with the intimidating legacy of the original that came before it, whilst also afflicted with the immense pressure to convert animated greatness into something credible and magical at the same time.
Apparently, Emma Watson turned down La La Land before signing on to star as Belle; allegedly, she wanted La La Land to be filmed in England. Instead, she opted for this. Good decision, whether it be intentional or not.
The film allowed Emma Watson to finally abandon the shadow of Harry Potter, cast aside its legacy and establish herself as an actress in her own right. The film was so good that it made you forget all about Watson’s well-documented pretentious posturing concerning feminism and everything else, something that has no doubt been holding back her career progression.
At times, the film felt like a word-for-word reproduction of Disney’s animated original, yet it somehow managed to add an extra half-hour to the running time. So surely it can’t have just been a word-for-word remake, though at times it certainly did seem like one. It’s interesting that Kevin Kline’s Maurice didn’t have a musical moment, considering his musical background with two Tonys to his name.
The golden moment was the Gaston musical number involving Gaston, Le Fou and the villagers in full swing. It was an epic moment; a musical at its best. Another musical moment – “Be Our Guest”- felt like, as I said earlier, a word-for-word reproduction of its counterpart scene in the Disney original. A disappointment, though visually impressive.
The much-speculated ‘gay moment’ turned out to be overblown. Yes, Le Fou was obviously in awe of Gaston, though this could quite easily have been misconstrued as admiration as opposed to unrequited lust and desire. No doubt, it will have gone unnoticed by the legions of young cinemagoers who absorbed the movie and enjoyed it in whole. There is a moment towards the end where Le Fou dances with a man, and this too is underwhelming and overblown. Much ado about nothing.
To those who bigged it up, I say: stop trying to politicise Disney!
Despite these criticisms, the movie in whole was visually impressive and delightful. In fact, it was magical. The cinema was rammed with children and adults in equal measure, which speaks to its universal appeal. No doubt, there is a Golden Globe for Best Picture in either the Musical or Comedy category pending.
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding