FILM REVIEW | BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

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By Lina Bujupi

 

Disney’s newest adaptation is the well-known story of Beauty and the Beast. With its much loved characters like Belle (Emma Watson), the Beast (Dan Stevens) and Gaston (Luke Evans), direction by Bill Condon, and the screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, it is not a disappointment to audiences. The film provides a warm-hearted interpretation of the classic, and is a pleasurable viewing experience.

 

Beauty and the Beast – an old French fairytale from the 1700s – is a tale loved by millions: a reluctant and proud beast, trapped in a curse by an enchantress with a single red rose, falls in love with Belle, a strong, young lady who shows him how to love and breaks the curse.

 

The new adaptation has a standout cast. Harry Potter’s Emma Watson is a tremendously perfect fit. Her acting provided a fresh take on the much loved Disney princess. She portrays Belle as strong, loving and definitely beautiful. And who knew that Watson could sing? She is a delight and is a great presence on the screen. The role was meant for her.

 

Additionally, Dan Stevens portrays a clever, stubborn and charming Beast. His voice, which emulated the 1991 Beast, had a great tone and execution. The digitalised Beast isn’t overwhelmed with CGI animation, which would have been distracting for viewers. He was visually alluring alongside Belle, and, after being transformed to a man, the two made a dynamic duo. Yet Stevens’ performance was lacking in portraying the true essence of the classic Beast.

 

However, the standout performance belongs to Luke Evans, who plays Gaston. He combines charm and menace to portray an enemy in Gaston. The casting director made an excellent choice in choosing Evans to play the nemesis; another actor wouldn’t have portrayed the role as accurately. Evans uses his good looks, as well as a great singing voice, to illuminate Gaston’s handsome, but cruel character.

 

In addition, the supporting actors were outstanding. Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), and Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts) all brought the household items to life. With similar dialogue, plot and character relations to the original flick, the cast was spectacular.

 

The film’s adaptation stays true and pays homage to the 1991 original. The story is the same, but with a few tweaks in the new release. Accompanying the original score of the film, two new songs were added to the film. This aided the overall feel of the adaptation, as the additional songs portrayed the Beast’s solo as being even more so vulnerable when Belle leaves. This showed a deeper sensitive side, as the Beast’s own song, I’m sure, melted the hearts of the people in the cinema.

 

A low point of Beauty and the Beast, however, is its costume design. Belle’s blue dress is tatty and ugly in the remake. There could have been several choices for the costuming. Belle’s iconic yellow ball gown dress is also underwhelming. More elegant costume design would blow away the many young wannabe princesses who will watch this adaptation.

 

Moreover, the new story elements to the overall plot do not aid such a classic. The Beast takes Belle to her home town of Paris with the help of a magic book that the Enchantress had given him. The Beast tells the audience what it does as a play-by-play, but the audience can figure it out themselves, which was not necessary. Along with that, some of the screen time is blurry. As the camera spins around the iconic library scene, the camera is blurry which could make viewers think, was it meant to be in 3D? It was a distraction and did not look good.

 

All in all, Beauty and the Beast is definitely one of Disney’s most renowned and classic tales, and will remain so. The new adaptation will have the songs playing over, again and again, and will definitely be remembered by viewers.

 

 

 

Lina Bujupi is a professional writing student at Victoria University, and enjoys reading just as much as writing, accompanied by a great cup of tea.

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