Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriters: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Director of Photography: Tobias A. Schliessler
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans
Synopsis: After discovering that her father has been held captive by a monster, a strong-willed young woman volunteers to replace him but as tensions diminish between prisoner and captor she finds herself falling in love with the brute whose appearance is the result of a tragic curse.
Beauty and the Beast Review:
Not quite up to the standard of last year’s exceptionally well made adaptation of “The Jungle Book” but still another notable live-action remake from Walt Disney Pictures, “Beauty and the Beast” continues the studio’s trend of upgrading a whole list of previously unfilmable characters into computer-rendered personalities who come to life alongside tangible film stars while voiced by a host of A-List talent. Held together by the wonderful Emma Watson who couldn’t be more perfectly cast in the role of a strong-minded yet compassionate woman, the movie is greatly strengthened by Watson’s clear adoration for Belle as the classic story falls into place with the actress’s unequivocal blessing.
Despite a few remarkable casting decisions, including Luke Evan’s uncanny performance as Gaston, the film misses the mark with its secondary lead role as Dan Stevens feels terribly miscast alongside his on-screen lover, botching his solo track and providing the drab personality behind an underwhelmingly computer-heavy version of the iconic Beast. Luckily there are numerous distractions on hand as Ewan McGregor’s charming interpretation of the Casanova of candelabras provides the heart and soul of the other half of the production, later channelling his musical talents in a reshot version of ‘Be Our Guest’ in a sequence that somehow makes up for a lack of animated flair by relying on the vocal talents of the classically trained “Moulin Rouge!” star.
While McGregor steals the vaudeville spotlight with a noticeably human rendering of the delightful Lumière, his presence never feels like quite enough to account for yet another unnecessary remake on Disney’s ever-expanding list of repackaged classics. Redundant yet utterly exquisite, “Beauty and the Beast” puts its shot-for-shot iconography and remade musical numbers to good use but there’s only so much that a sprawling romantic epic can do before the enchantment behind its singalong sequences evaporate to reveal something ugly and broken within the Hollywood of today, even if it still manages rather effortlessly to dance its way into our forgiving hearts.