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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Movies » Review: Beauty and the Beast is better off left unwatched

Review: Beauty and the Beast is better off left unwatched

By Paloma Sharma/
November 14, 2014 10:18 IST
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Movie poster of The Beauty And The BeastA classic case of bad editing and worse dialouge, Beauty and the Beast certainly is not a children's film, says Paloma Sharma.

Based on the original story by Gabrielle -- Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve -- French director Christophe Gans' take on the fairy tale comes loaded with elaborate sets, bad dubbing and two great actors who take up the challenge of being mediocre.

*WARNING: Long, primarily pointless plot set up ahead*

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived The Prince (Vincent Cassel) who went about his princely business of hunting, making and breaking promises to his wife, the Princess (Yvonne Catterfeld), and just looking rugged/scruffy in general.

The Prince's favourite pass time was hunting a golden deer, which he went out to indulge in ever so often because hey, if your kingdom's going to get cursed anyway, why even bother to administrate?

The Princess grew tired of his hobby and asked him not to hunt the deer anymore, which he agreed to do if she gave him a son.

(No, we're not in rural Haryana. Trust me, I checked.)

The Princess did get preggers eventually but hubby dearest went ahead and hunted the deer anyway, predictably activating the curse anyway.

In the present day, Belle (Léa Seydoux) and her family are forced to move to the countryside after her father, a wealthy merchant, loses his ships in a storm.

While Belle's two sisters and three brothers are busy feeling sorry for themselves, sympathy for them probably won't come so easy to those who belong to formerly colonised nations, seeing how the cargo on that ship was probably looted from one of us.

Belle, being the perfect daughter that she is, silently resigns herself to her fate and takes to country life.

However, it soon turns out that the ships aren't really lost at all and that they could be rich again.

Overjoyed at the news, Belle's father (André Dussollier) and oldest brother Maxime (Nicholas Gobs) head out to the port city where they previously resided only to find out that they aren't really rich again due to some technicalities and that Maxime is indebted to a local thug, Perducas (Eduardo Noreiga ).

Maxime gets lost and his father narrowly escapes Perducas and his men, riding blindly into the frozen woods where his horse stumbles and falls.

Forced to seek shelter, he enters the Beast's castle where he finds all the things on the shopping list that his children had given to him. All things, except Belle's rose.

The widowed merchant heads out with the riches when he chances upon several roses in the garden but as soon as he picks one, a badly animated CGI beast pounces on him.

The Beast allows the merchant to return to his family for a day, threatening to kill his family if he doesn't return.

When Belle learns of this, she goes to the Beast's castle in place of her father and ends up as his prisoner.

*End of long, primarily pointless plot set up*


Beauty and the Beast takes more time to establish the premise than an Ashutosh Gowarikar film takes to end.

Set in a universe that is probably the lovechild of Katrina's Choc On advertisement and those insipid 3D animated Barbie movies, Beauty and the Beast is all silk, velvet and jewels with insignificant things like subplots and emotions thrown into the mix.

Although the film is visually appealing and features some beautiful shots, Gans seems to have paid more attention to the computer generated landscapes than to character development.

Beauty and the Beast is crammed with so many more characters than were needed that some of them come off as mere props. The storyline gets insanely jumbled and slips out of Gans' hands quickly.

While I'm a bit of a sucker for reimagined fairy tales, it is important to remember that a new version of a story isn't always a progressive version.

As if it wasn't enough that the original version, which was written some time in the 1700s, was riddled with questionable gender politics, Beauty and the Beast (2014) only makes things worse.

Léa Seydoux, of Blue is the Warmest Colour fame, runs around trees and explores the ruins of the castle in cleavage revealing gowns while Vincent Cassel, in his beastly form, tries to grunt his way into her heart (unsuccessfully).

A classic case of bad editing and worse dialouge, Beauty and the Beast certainly is not a children's film.

Riddled with sexual situations that would give adults nightmare, this fairy tale is better left unwatched.

Rediff Rating: 

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Paloma Sharma/ in Mumbai