Not having seen the Animated Feature, you can’t have any expectation, apprehensions or excitement for the Live Action version. Don’t know if it’s a curse or jinx, Live Actions of beloved classic animation (except Jungle Book) always fail. Such is the case of Beauty and The Beast; with latent romance and chemistry between Belle and the Beast, childish execution and melodramatic performance, this movie is only made for children.
The Story and Screenplay
Rushing a movie to end within 2 hrs always take a toll on the execution. The main characters of the movie hardly get any time to bond or portray any transition whatsoever. They are doing their part for the sake of just following the story; the soul and heart seems missing due to the overflow of musicals and quick pacing. Also there’s an unnecessary gay character, which goes on to show how Hollywood is incapable of showing diversity where it counts, diversity is there just for the heck of it.
The movie starts with the arrogant and self consumed prince being cursed by a witch who was seeking help from him, but was belligerently denied. The Prince is cursed to transform into a beast and stay in that form until he finds someone who reciprocates his love.
In silence and hiding the angry and impatient Prince awaits someone who would love him back despite his beastly attire. Until one day a beautiful woman named Belle comes thundering into his castle to free her captive father. The Prince now has to cajole this supposedly destined woman to free himself from the curse.
With an abrupt pace the movie keeps flowing without caring to let the audience attach with characters; despite of that it is expected from the movie to have a justified ending that we already know. But all we get is a rushed third act.
The Story as we’ve heard it has the potential to be blissful, melancholically sound and cheerful. But just for the sake of telling the story we were deprived from any shock and awe possible. Characters when making immense sacrifices or holding their ground always seem really casual about it.
The dilemma, the irony is almost invisible in a movie which potentially has abundant of everything. As I haven’t seen the animated version of the movie I had no standard criteria set for the Live Action version hence giving it all the advantages to make a great first impression; which it in a way has made.
Talking about the portrayal, Emma Watson is the perfect fit for Belle if only looks and persona is to be considered. Emma seems to be lacking the true depth and aura of Belle which was evident from the stories we’ve heard. A scene where splendid play of emotion is required is sobbingly deprived from believable sentiments.
Luke Evans playing the cocky Gaston did what he could to make the character as hateful and funny as possible; but you can also witness his unnatural acting in various scenes of the movie. But the Beast played by Dan Stevens is flawless, however I’m not sure whom should I appreciate for such performance Dan himself or the VFX production team who excerpted the best for the Beast.
If you somehow successfully ignore the acting and execution you will have a great time gazing at the visual effects of the movie. With 26% more image in IMAX screenings, Beauty and the Beast is a jewel to the eyes. It has astounding cinematography, 3D depth and effects (which I usually hate) are beyond amaze.
The musicals and other set pieces are beautifully shot and post produced making you admire the screen every time a supposedly divine scenery is presented. The special delight of the movie is one of the musical that happens when the cursed objects in the castle dance and invite Belle for dinner.