How many times have we seen this gargantuan heartfelt epic romance take shape? Every era has its own version of Beauty and the Beast, a fairy tale that had once originated in the beautiful mind of Gabrielle -Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Over the years we saw its retelling, we saw it getting hammered in the form of TV series, animated movies and what not. The fairy tale would never fail to surprise as long as there is that tinge of magic in it to support it, thoughtful verses that send us brooding and music that aggrandizes prospering love. Fortunately Bill Condon‘s Beauty and the Beast movie retains all these elements.
Theme and Cast of Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is a theatrical feat that gambols along with its extraordinary music. Yes, it’s a musical and I think only an alluring musical could do a gorgeous fairy tale like that justice. On one side of the ring we have the gorgeous beauty Belle, who Emma Watson wears quite beautifully making it her very own persona. On the other side of the ring is none other than the cursed Beast, who by the way is a softie trapped in a monstrous body played by Dan Stevens. He could have really used a little less CGI, or a better one, now that we have already boldly ventured into that territory.
Not to forget the very handsome Luke Evans who is as perfect, confident and rad with his dialogues, er, songs as he looks in reality. Casting for Gaston happened perfectly there. We have LeFou done by Josh Gad who is one of the most entertaining dimwits in the movie. He alleviates perversion with his outlook.
While this might have been like an umpteenth adaptation, I liked Beauty and the Beast for its hard-hitting veracity. The fact that it stuck to reflect things as they are or are supposed to be in real life, is something that connected with me the most. It is a satire on human perception, of how things work around a town that scoffs at a person who thinks differently. It is a parable that reflects how mob works, that how easy it is to egg them with a cunning spark.
The opening scene that showcases Belle’s obsession with the books, and how everyone in town sees education as a curse goes on to mock ignorant societal elements who want to churn the world their way. While at one end Belle is ahead of her time clearly seeing through it all, the insular mob in her little village wants her to follow its footsteps. People don’t like different and that’s what they hate about Belle.
Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big.
Whilst Belle is busy trying to find a world that isn’t as insolent as the one she is living in, she seems to have come to terms with it, and found the perfect abode in her books. She is thriving in a world that doesn’t get her. I guess a lot of us can relate to her in that aspect.
It takes our protagonist a curse to make him realize that materialism wanes. That whatever we judge based on the way it looks or appears is a curse per se because beauty is always hidden.
He fell into despair and lost all hope, for who could ever learn to love a beast?
Gaston, au contraire, is braided just the opposite. He is an irritable narcissist who can’t see beyond the material world that engulfs him. Him talking to the mirror carving a living satire with remarks like,
No one deserves you, but at least your children will be beautiful.
Goes on to show how he is full of it. He is a paragon of beauty and strength, which are things that the world is quick to judge you by. They think exactly what he thinks of him, and fail to see what’s underneath his veil.
That salient materialism is in the punitive action of the beast too. When he punishes Maurice, Belle’s father, for life, for merely picking a flower.
He means forever. Apparently that’s what happens around here if you pick a flower.
People are so full of it that they are quick to deliver judgments. There is hatred in the heart of the beast and hatred is one of the primal causes of things that affect one’s judgment. He has punished a man with a life sentence for just picking a flower! His world’s no different from the one that we live in. The flower was dear to him, and that was it – Reason enough for him to punish and have his revenge.
You can’t judge people by who their father is, can you?
In a way the movie elicits a satire out of human perception, emotions and judgments.
Love Takes Time
People don’t fall in love in a moment. That too when there’s a ghastly creature involved; You can’t fall in love with him in a snap of a finger. You have to be around, spend ample time around someone that looks different to truly understand him, to even venture that lane.
She had seen that there was no love in his heart.
Overlooking everything takes time, and that’s what the movie sells. Belle spends ample time with the Beast enough to understand him, to accept him despite that apparent skewed image of his. Love was gradual and it was very much relatable unlike some Hollywood muck we come across every once in a while.
Then it teaches us how clingy never works with people. If we truly love someone we have to give them space. That’s what Beast does when he lets Belle return to her village. He couldn’t have possibly asked her to stay, and wished to earn her trust.
Can anybody be happy if they aren’t free?
You can order Beauty and the Beast movie here:
Issues with the Movie
If you are thinking, by now, the movie was outright impeccable, I would have to sadly add: No. There were plenty of drawbacks in Beauty and the Beast. The first and foremost being the fact that you could feel the contrivance knocking at the big screen at every juncture. Emotions were often absent. Behind that awful CGI you couldn’t see Dan Stevens reacting the way he should have. Despite how committed Emma Watson appeared in her role, Dan felt quite the opposite. He didn’t quite fit the bill, and would often get carried away with animation.
Their chemistry wasn’t quite right either. Didn’t evoke a keen sense of longing when they weren’t together, didn’t draw out emotions when there timing was right. Everything seemed placed awkwardly like marionettes. With Lumiere taking most of the screen time , and some zany bits loosely hanging around in every scene, the movie takes away its requisite seriousness.
You must forgive first impressions.
Climax has been bluntly filled with a tasteless flavour. It rushes in eventually as if all we wanted to see was the revived cast heading into another ball. Questionable editing there! People who like to have proper focus in their movies, it’s clearly not for them.
Then you can’t really overlook how the movie doesn’t project the enchantress properly as well. She walks in at a time when she was needed as if she was supposed to be there. No character build up, nothing. She was a mere needle in the haystack.
The Final Verdict
People who are averse to musicals might not enjoy all that singing. But those who love musicals are going to love this beautiful flick. Pay attention to what the characters have to say through apparent metaphors, and you might even enjoy the musical more than anything.
Different timbres and tempo and the deafening music in the flick is something that makes the movie an enjoyable hoot. It is as loud as it is supposed to be. We can’t thank the composers Alan Menken and Howard Ashman enough for that.
Gaston stands out, hands down, as one of the finest antagonists, and something that you might remember the movie by. As far as feelings and emotions were concerned the movie failed to induce that.
You can check out the trailer of the flick here: