Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.
The suite played when Belle is first taken to her bedroom is "Home", a song from the Broadway play that she sings in this scene. See more »
The movie is set in France and all the characters are supposed to be speaking French (replaced by English in the film), but for reasons unknown Lumière speaks with a heavy French accent - and he's the only character to do so. See more »
I was really looking forward to this film. Not only has Disney recently made excellent live-action versions of their animated masterpieces (Jungle Book, Cinderella), but the cast alone (Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline) already seemed to make this one a sure hit. Well, not so much as it turns out.
Some of the animation is fantastic, but because characters like Cogsworth (the clock), Lumière (the candelabra) and Chip (the little tea cup) now look "realistic", they lose a lot of their animated predecessors' charm and actually even look kind of creepy at times. And ironically - unlike in the animated original - in this new realistic version they only have very limited facial expressions (which is a creative decision I can't for the life of me understand).
Even when it works: there can be too much of a good thing. The film is overstuffed with lush production design and cgi (which is often weirdly artificial looking though) but sadly lacking in charm and genuine emotion. If this were a music album, I'd say it is "over-produced" and in need of more soul and swing. The great voice talent in some cases actually seems wasted, because it drowns in a sea of visual effects that numbs all senses. The most crucial thing that didn't work for me, though, is the Beast. He just never looks convincing. The eyes somehow don't look like real eyes and they're always slightly off.
On the positive side, I really liked Gaston, and the actor who played him, Luke Evans, actually gave the perhaps most energized performance of all. Kevin Kline as Belle's father has little to do but to look fatherly and old, but he makes the most of his part. Speaking of Belle, now that I've seen the film, I think her role was miscast. I think someone like Rachel McAdams would actually have been a more natural, lively and perhaps a bit more feisty Belle than Emma Watson.
If you love the original, you might want to give this one a pass, it's really not that good (although at least the songs were OK). Also, I'd think twice before bringing small children; without cute animated faces, all those "realistic" looking creatures and devices can be rather frightening for a child.
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