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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a heart warming fairytale


Fairytales rarely go old, because people will always want to watch archetypes unfolding before their eyes like distant memories from a past life. Beauty and the Beast is one of those stories that some of us match with some memory from childhood, although its layers of meanings are more likely to reach our psyche now, than when we were ten.

The newest and most liberal remake of the tale stars Harry Potter's Emma Watson where she puts a lot of her matured talent to good use. Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, God and Monsters), the live-action project stirred all sorts of reactions from the press, but all in all, we've thoroughly enjoyed watching it, although I'm not so sure about the 3D thing, as the technology has yet to evolve to the point where I don't leave the theater with a headache. The casting crew includes Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Dan Stevens, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci and many more.


"But the core of the story is blissfully intact. It’s fitting, for a tale about gradually discovering inner beauty, that the Beast is tricky to know at first: withheld from our sympathy, hard to recognise as Stevens through the digital fur.

Scene by scene, the film takes its time with him, and we get the hang of the character at the same pace that Belle does. Once he’s belting out baritone laments from the blackened eyries of his home, we’ve understood his soul.

Emma Watson isn’t a flawless Belle. However overawed the character should be by her surroundings, there’s a lack of confidence in her gait – she sometimes seems to be hitting marks obediently rather than owning each moment. But she’s good: that girl-next-door winsomeness and a sweet, clear singing voice see her through. [...] Condon has done virtually everything in his power to make this film work, down to a sugar-rush finale which makes the star cameos pay off like bonus punchlines – or those “very special guest” appearances for 10 seconds at the end of a panto." (Telegraph)

"To say that the latest Disney production, “Beauty and the Beast,” is offering something brand-new would be wide of the mark. A scholarly paper published last year presented “phylogenetic analyses” of famous folktales, assessed “the posterior probability of ancestral states,” and estimated that the origins of “Beauty and the Beast” date back to “between 2500 and 6000 years ago.” All of which means that Disney’s costume designers had ample opportunity to prepare themselves, and no excuse for not getting that butter-yellow ball gown just right.

This year’s version of the legend, directed by Bill Condon, is deeply in debt to Disney’s previous effort, which came out in 1991 and became the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Condon’s movie is a live-action affair, stuffed with real actors, although in many cases the reality is stretched and squeezed beyond recognition. If you cast Ewan McGregor as Lumière, a manservant who has been transformed into a talking candelabra, and whom we don’t see in the flesh—heavily wigged—until the final scene, how far have you actually strayed beyond the cartoon? Disney is set on submitting its famous features to this brand of reboot (we have already had “The Jungle Book,” and “Dumbo” awaits), but, given the congestion of special effects involved, the action is scarcely live. It’s in limbo." (The New Yorker)

"A gay character (played by Josh Gad) is introduced and Belle (Emma Watson) gets an injection of feminist sass. Unfortunately, Gad’s character LeFou is hardly the celebration of diversity one would hope for – he’s a prancing rainbow flag of a sidekick, defined by the comic potential of his sexuality rather than just his sexuality. And Belle, with her skirt tucked into her bloomers and her sniffy disdain for the “provincial life”, might be a feminist but she’s also kind of a dick.

Bill Condon’s revamp of the material goes all out on spectacle. And, with its flourishes, curlicues and gilt – so much gilt! – the film is undeniably arresting. But there’s a point where the design goes from ornate to needlessly overbearing. And the swoops and dives of the camera are every bit as extravagant as the look of the film. " (The Guardian)

Watch the trailer below:

Tags:   news, recommendation, Beauty and the Beast, film news

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