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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: Why Beauty And The Beast is a 5-star movie

Review: Why Beauty And The Beast is a 5-star movie

Last updated on: March 16, 2017 17:19 IST

A cinematic experience like this film doesn't come by too often, raves Kshamaya Daniel.

You may as well picture yourself on a rainy day, isolated in a cozy corner of the house, snuggled under a warm duvet, a cup of steaming coffee to sip on, with the Beauty And The Beast storybook open in front of you -- if possible, somebody on hand to turn your pages for you so that your own hands do not awkwardly hang out of the blanket (only my fellow bookworms will understand the struggle).

You may as well picture yourself watching the characters rise up from the pages: Belle, resplendent in her dazzling yellow gown, dancing hand-in-hand with the dapper-looking Beast, as Mrs Potts and Lumiere belt out 'songs as old as rhyme.'

You may as well picture yourself sitting there, slack-jawed, as this story impossibly, but surely, comes to life, because that's what will happen when you watch this movie.

I feel there are three aspects that were instrumental in giving Beauty And The Beast such a lifelike feeling: First class costumes, first class sets, first class actors. A Triple Threat.

The costumes are intricate and lavish right down to every tiny bow, button, frill and ruffle.

The sets were gorgeous. From wild, green countrysides to spectacular, snow white landscapes to majestic castles.

The characters, even when they were portrayed as pieces of furniture, looked stunning.

As I am unfamiliar with the Harry Potter movies, I was, at first, sceptical about the casting of Emma Watson as Belle because it reminded me of Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan in the Twilight movies and her expressionless acting.

But once you watch Beauty And The Beast,, Emma Watson surpasses all my expectations with her splendid performance.

The Beast is played by Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens, who looks even more dashing. He is supposed to be horribly unattractive but trust me, his blue eyes and awkward toothy smile will have you swooning.

Subtract the horns and shrink him a couple of inches and the 'Beast' could be compared to an adorable dog.

Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and Lumiere's (Ewan McGregor) antics and wit provide a charming contrast to Mrs Potts' (Emma Thompson) motherly character as she bosses over and takes care of everyone in the castle, along with her impish son, Chip (Nathan Mack).

The main antagonist is Gaston (Luke Evans), who just wants what he can't have and so, even though every other woman in the village drools over him, he is engaged in a never-ending quest to gain Belle's hand in marriage.

Belle has other plans because she knows she's destined to be more than Gaston's good little wife, thanks to her open-minded father Maurice (Kevin Kline), who instills in her that a woman is more than someone to press her husband's feet and provide him with dinner and endless children.

A special mention to LeFou (Josh Gad), Gaston's confused and goofy sidekick, who will go down in history as the first-ever homosexual character in a Disney film.

Disney has long since been criticised for its damsels in distress.

Cinderella was forced to clean the house until her Prince Charming came along and rescued her.

Ariel abandoned her family, gave up her voice and had to drastically change her body just to gain Prince Eric's attention, who then decided to marry her, solely because of her looks.

Snow White was so beautiful that her jealous stepmother wanted to kill her just so that she could be the most beautiful woman in the land; Snow White was helpless until her beauty attracted a prince who could protect her.

Disney movies brim with gender stereotypes and heterosexual relationships, with an absolute lack of same sex relationships. So it's refreshing to see a film like this one which marks Disney's slow but long journey to diversity.

The soundtrack is the same as the original version, although it does feature new covers by John Legend, Arianna Grande and Josh Groban, along with Celine Dion who performed a song for the original movie as well.

Bill Condon's direction and Tobias Schliessler's cinematography must be applauded, especially for making this fairy tale enjoyable for people of all ages.

Not much of the original story has been changed, and while that guarantees that the film will remain a classic, it might leave the more dubious thought if it was worth it.

As Beauty And The Beast ends, it leaves me with a satisfied feeling in my stomach, one that you get after finishing a remarkable movie or book.

A cinematic experience like this one doesn't come by too often.

Rediff Rating:

Kshamaya Daniel