AND THE BEAST (director:
Bill Condon; screenwriters: based on the tale
Barbot de Villeneuve/ Stephen Chbosky/Evan Spiliotopoulos;
cinematographer: Tobias Schliessler; editor: Virginia
Katz; music: Matt Sullivan; cast: Emma Watson (Belle), Dan
Stevens (Beast), Luke
Josh Gad (LeFou), Ewan McGregor
(Lumiere), Stanley Tucci (Maestro Cadenza), Ian
McKellen (Cogsworth) Kevin Kline (Maurice), Audra
McDonald (Wardrobe), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Feather-Duster), Hattie Morahan
(Enchantress); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: PG; producers:
David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman;
Walt Disney Pictures ;2017)
|"Overlong, garish, and hammy."
by Dennis Schwartz
Condon ("Kinsey"/"Gods and Monsters")
directs this Disney musical and fairy-tale
love story, a live–action version of the
1991 classic that he converts into a modern-day
CGI effects and gender twisting film. Besides not
being a compelling watch, it's overlong, garish, and
hammy. The 1991 one was the first animated feature to
win an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. This one is
based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie
Leprince de Beaumont in 1756.
It was originally written by French novelist
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. The
bland script is by Stephen Chbosky and Evan
Spiliotopoulos. All the music from the 1991 version is
prelude, the prince (Dan
Stevens) is the nasty,
selfish, hedonistic, and partying only with the
beautiful people cad. The prince is living in
an opulent enchanted castle in the woods, and is
concerned only with his good looks and how people he
associates with look. During a storm he refuses
shelter to an old and ugly woman (Hattie Morahan),
who offers him a perfect rose as a present. She in
turn casts a spell that turns him into a bison-looking
beast who can turn human again only once he learns how
to love and be loved. That curse also goes for his
servants. They include the candlestick Lumière (Ewan
McGregor), the clock Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), the
wardrobe (Audra McDonald), the feather-duster
(Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the piano (Stanley
Tucci), and the teapot Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson).
They talk and sing like humans, but unless the master
of the house overcomes the curse they no longer will
be seen as humans.
peaceful but backward tiny French village, Maurice
(Kevin Kline) is the inventor widowed (it's never
explained what happened to his wife) father of the
bookworm and beauty Belle (Emma Watson).
On her birthday, Maurice goes into the woods to look
for a rose his daughter requests. He's attacked by
wolves and finds shelter in a dark abandoned castle he
stumbles upon. But is caged as a prisoner when he
steals a rose and is given a life sentence by the
beast. When Belle comes to rescue her father on his
returning horse, she gets her father released by
agreeing to take his place.
the father returns to the village for help, he gets
the vain suitor Belle can't stand, the boorish army
captain Gaston (Luke Evans) and his comic relief gay
sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad), to rescue Belle. But the
rescue is botched, as Gaston shows his evil face and
handles everything wrong.
hostage scenario is loaded with potentially risky
psychosexual subtexts. But have no fear, everything is
sanitized and after some time in captivity Belle
begins to find things she has in common with her
captor and begins to find things he possesses inwardly
that she could love. The beast this time is an avid
reader and when she's granted access to his vast
library her heart begins to melt for him as a
Even the film's centerpiece Busby Berkeley-inspired rendition of "Be Our Guest," is out-charmed by the low-budget animated version, which was done for far less than this was for $160 million.
gold-standard for Beauty and the Beast films is the
groundbreaking 1946 Jean Cocteau film.
REVIEWED ON 3/19/2017 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ