As the story goes Emma Watson did not appear in La La Land because she was too demanding, insisted that production be moved to London for her scenes ultimately being too overbearing for the films produces to work with. Ms. Watson cleared up the narrative in a recent interview. She had committed to Beauty and the Beast before the La La Land offer, had horse training, dancing and three months of signing classes ahead of her. She just did not have enough time. Ms. Watson ability as Belle riding the white stallion Pierre is central to two key sequences in the film so her proficiency on the horse went to the heart of her credibility in the role.
The live action edition of Beauty and The Beast works very well. The movement and depth of character displayed by the cursed inhabitants bring the Beast's castle to life despite the dreary, dusty cavernous sections and rooms. The choreography of the antiques is riveting along with their gestures and different features that give an outline of their former human forms.
Belle is always happy and inquisitive in her small French provincial town. She loves to read going everyday to the small library with their limited amount of books. Belle sees reading as a chance to escape to faraway lands. She is different from the other townsfolk especially the other young woman as she does not fawn over sought after bachelor Gaston (Luke Evans). When the family horse Pierre returns without her her dad Maurice (Kevin Kline) his annual trip to the City Belle directs the stallion to bring her to him finding the Beast's castle then taking his place to set him free.
The set decorators and art departments led by Katie Spencer and James Foster are key in bringing the small French town and the Beast's castle to life. The costume design skills of Jacqueline Durran are the third prong of the key elements to bring the audience firmly into the mid 1800's. The design of the beasts castle stands out amongst all of the setting in the piece. The contrasts of the warm and inviting east wing to the cold and desolate west wing to the constant winter setting due to the curse placed by the Enchantress.
Stephen Chobosky and Evan Spiliotopolos screen writing stays faithful to the original tale. There are some changes most notable the different presentation of LeFou (Josh Gad). The other change is the three new songs Evermore sung by Dan Stevens as the Beast, A wonderfully touching How Does This Moment Last Forever performed by Kevin Kline as Belle's loving protectful dad. Emma Watson voices the third new one Days In The Sun and a retake on the timeless Beauty and the Beast title song.
Emma Watson leads the cast as the strong and Independent Belle. Dan Stevens shows great range in the physically challenging role of the beast. Luke Stevens makes the narcissistic self centered braggart Gaston his own. The afore mentioned role of LeFou gives Josh Gad plenty to do in a large supporting roles.
Beauty and The Beast is a timely well produced and presented update to the iconic 1991 animated film helmed by director Bill Condon. The production features plenty of the elements of the original with the correct mix of modern updates to make the production fresh. A well know cast display their finely tuned singing chops backed by superior set, costume and choreography making it a film that I can highly recommend.
**** Out of 4.
Beauty and the Beast | Bill Condon | U.S.A. | 2017 | 129 Minutes.
Tags: Disney, Fairy Tale, France, Remake, Provincial, Paris, Musical, Rose, Plague, Romance,