The world of fairytales is back! Emma Watson, the ‘Hermoine Granger’ of Hollywood is back and boy, has she done well.
Recently, we read that the actor had turned down a role in La La Land for Beauty and the Beast. She was called a fool. People literally laughed at her misfortune, but Watson has taken the box office by storm.
The film is a visual treat and Emma Watson is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this tale.
The film is an adaptation of the classic fairytale The Beauty and The Beast by author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The story follows a selfish, hard-skinned prince who is cursed by a beautiful enchantress after he turns a beggar woman (She is actually the enchantress herself) away because her appearance.
She transforms the prince into a hideous beast. She gives him a rose and tells him that he’ll remain cursed unless he learns to love someone and earns her love in return by the time the last petal falls.
Whether or not the beast is able to break the curse forms the crux of the story.
Emma Watson comes out all guns blazing. She forms the heart of the film. Dan Stevens as the prince/beast is no less convincing. Emma Watson’s ‘beauty’ and the ‘Beast’ in Dan Stevens light up the film.
A sense of vulnerability is what was required to play Belle and Watson seems to have nailed it.
Dan Stevens as the hard-hearted prince was as ruthless as one can imagine. The way Stevens has gone about his ‘beastly’ business is commendable. Luke Evans as Gaston, the arrogant hunter does a great job as well. One can clearly see drops of arrogance and selfishness dripping from his forehead.
I too, like many of you, already know the story, the basic plotline and the conclusion as well. The newness lies in the way the entire story has been presented.
The songs fit in perfectly and complement the entire setup. The way this story has been weaved together with all its visual elements is something which stands out.
Both Belle as well as her father Maurice (played by Kevin Kline) have been given short back-stories, that though unnecessary, end up adding a lot of richness to the film.
The set expertly showcases 18th century France, the costumes are pleasing to the eye.
The story lacks pace in the first half.. The second half is full of ups and downs. The film lacks depth, but contains innocence.
The story has been read and heard a thousand times, but again, truth be told, the visual representation of the story contains freshness.
Alan Menken has composed the music for the film. Songs and musical sequences complement the entire setup with utmost ease.
Music isn’t only pleasing to the ears, but also symbolizes varying moods and situations. Menken’s compositions are a joy to listen to. You tend to lose yourself whenever the music plays.
Full marks to Menken for coming out with such a rich and brilliant album. Songs act as the soul of this tale and make you laugh, make you cry and make you giggle.
Director Bill Condon has gone about his job with utmost sincerity and honesty. He chose to play around with characters and has been successful in creating a fairytale world to quite an extent. The story has been put together piece by piece. We all stand to learn the art of refreshingly narrating a story that has already been told a thousand times from Condon. To top it all, Condon infuses impetus into the story through some intelligent ‘additions’.
The Beauty and The Beast has always occupied a special place in my heart ever since I was a little boy. It taught me to look beyond physical appearances. The whole idea of falling in love with a human and not his or her looks is something that has always stayed with me.
The film, with all its visual elements and VFX technology takes us back in time. You can’t find faults with this one. You’ll enjoy it no matter how old you are.
Overall rating: ****/5
Photos courtesy Disney Movies