Over the years, Disney has revived many of those classic tales and given it the modern touch. Disney has already given us live-action versions of animated films like ALICE IN THE WONDERLAND, CINDERELLA, SLEEPING BEAUTY and THE JUNGLE BOOK in recent years and some of them have even broken many box office records. What happens when you recreate one of the oldest tales like BEAUTY AND THE BEAST? Is it something relatable in the year 2017? Do people resonate with the characters and story? Let’s analyze.
As said in the film, the tale is as old as time, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is a story about a beautiful girl named Belle (Emma Watson) who lives in a small provincial town in France where she is different from the crowd, a well-read girl in the 18th century which is an odd thing for many people. An arrogant hunter Gaston (Luke Evans) has unrequited feelings for Belle and is actively seeking her hand in marriage. Belle wants to be more than just a woman who wants to be married and has babies. Her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), is an artist, a tinkerer and a man who believes his daughter is more than just a normal girl. While this is the story of a small village, there lives a Beast (Dan Stevens) in a castle which has been forgotten by many. The reason is that there lived an arrogant prince who was cursed to take on a hideous form by an enchantress until he can get someone to fall in love with him. When her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) steals a rose from a secret castle of the Beast (Dan Stevens) for his daughter Belle, Belle comes for his rescue and selflessly volunteers to become the prisoner so that her father can walk free. This begins the tale of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
It’s impossible to think about this story with mentioning the integral characters- the staff in the Beast’s castle who have all been transformed into household items by the curse. The fan favourites Lumiere the candelabra (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth the mantel clock (Ian McKellen) lighten up this enchanting tale. Mrs Potts the teapot (Emma Thompson) and her teacup son Chip (Nathan Mack) are equally good. Disney’s biggest risk till date as to be with Josh Gad’s character LeFou, a gay character in the film. Keeping in the mind of today’s times, Josh Gad’s character is more about inclusiveness.
Legendary music composer Alan Menken has created four new songs for this remake but has also retained the iconic songs from the original including the opening number ‘Belle’, ‘Gaston’, the raucous ‘Be Our Guest’ and the magical title track ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which has been sung by Emma Thompson. Emma Watson truly surprises the audience with her musical skills whereas Luke Evans follows his theatrical background to carry the songs. ‘Evermore’ is a soaring ballad performed by Dan Stevens as the Beast.
The visual effects are beyond mesmerizing in the film especially the castle and the Beast. Director Bill Condon has made this remake larger than life. What’s missing is the story about the enchantress who casts a spell on the Beast could have been explored more. Bill Condon takes the classic tale and brings it to the audience with a modern flourish.
In the year 1991, the original BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was a landmark film, which went on to become one of the biggest box office successes. The animated adaptation had also become the first animated feature to be nominated for the Best Picture back when the Oscars category only had five nominations and the Best Animated Feature category did not exist.
Disney’s new live-action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is more than just a recreated and a refreshed version of the world’s most endearing love story of Belle and the Beast. It is simple story told in the most magical way and mostly won’t really disappoint the fans. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST may be ‘a tale is as old as time’, it surely is mesmerizing in this era as well.
Overall, at the Indian box-office, the film will mainly appeal to a younger audience segment, as the film sticks to the original story. The visuals and the 3D effects are mesmerizing. The film is a good one-time watch for the classic Disney movie fans.
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