Beauty And The Beast


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Beauty and the Beast
"You see the money on the screen, which is good, but not the love"

Broadway musicals do not adapt easily to the screen. This sounds like one although it is based on the Disney animated feature film (1991) with added songs by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

There are Busby Berkeley numbers and ballroom scenes of infinite splendor, a chocolate box of visual delights, but in the end it comes down to the girl and the creature. Do they hang? Do they sprinkle stardust on your hope buds? Do they tap your toes and warm your heart?

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This is not a love-by-numbers-weep-if-you-want-to romance. It's a live action carbon copy of the cartoon, complete with talking clock, dancing candelabra and fussy tea cup with cheeky son Chip.

Belle (Emma Watson) lives with her dad (Kevin Kline) who makes beautiful objects for sale in the market. She is the prettiest and nicest girl in their French village where the local Lothario (Luke Evans) fancies her rotten and assumes she will feel the same about him since he is arrogant and handsome, forceful and rich.

Guess what? She doesn't.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the county, a prince (Dan Stevens) who has grown so selfish and spoiled that his good looks and social position don't hack it anymore, is cursed by a feisty fairy to become hideous like a wolf in devil's clothing. The land he possesses remains forever winter, Narnia style, and he is doomed to shuffle about in a state of inglorious depression.

Belle arrives unannounced on a white horse looking for her dad and the creature/Beast incarcerates her for trespassing. Between then and the finale on the battlements they learn to like each other. The plot is too perforated with holes to rate as a Kleenex contender and too soft on the emotions to overcome dialogue such as "When we touched she did not shudder at my paw."

The effects are as you would expect in these days of CGI ascendancy. The music floods your senses and the songs float past like the bodies of dead dogs. You see the money on the screen, which is good, but not the love.

There is one exception, however, too memorable to miss. Emma Watson is the incarnation of Julie Andrews. Her presence lightens the darkness.

"Can anyone be happy if they are not free?" With a kiss the creature turns.

Ding dong Belle!

Reviewed on: 16 Mar 2017
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Live action version of the Disney animated fairy tale in which a spoilt prince is turned into a beast and a pretty girl from the village proves that looks aren't everything
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Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Haydn Gwynne, Gerard Horan, Ray Fearon, voices of Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci

Year: 2017

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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