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Beauty and the Beast Review (2017) | An Exhilarating Musical to Revive the Age Old Fairy Tale

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.

still of luke evans as gaston in beauty and the beast

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.

Voices of Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere were done beautifully by the likes of Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Ewan McGregor. Stanley Tucci hid under the veil of Maestro Cadenza pretty good.

Mocking Society

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.

Materialistic Judgments

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.

still of Belle and Beast in Beauty and the Beast

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.

image of lumiere and cogsworth in beauty and the beast

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:

Spotlight Review (2015)

An eye-opener! Spotlight throws spotlight on the ugly side of faith. An issue lodged so profusely in the streams of religion that it goes either unnoticed or remains unlit. Plot: A team of reporters work conscientiously to bring child abuse by priests into the forefront by illuminating the dark hollows of the ugly tactics of the church.

The movie addresses the issue slyly and then dives into it fully fledged owing to the inclusion of a new concerned editor Marty Baron, played superbly by Liev Schreiber whose words make a difference and reignite the died out flame of Walter Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton) who along with his meticulous and diligent team rush in to address the elephant in the room. Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) are both outstanding. They look forever engaged in their pursuit, whilst Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes can’t be ignored. Mark gets into the skin of Mike and creates a new persona altogether, an earnest committed fella who would stop at nothing to nail the molesters. It is almost as he disappears into that stream of acting. Watch him lose it like a maniac!

There are other brilliant characters in the movie that can’t be left uncredited owing to their enthralling acting. Like that of John Slattery as Ben Bradlee, Jr. who fits into the bossy shoes pretty great. Also, Billy Crudup, Stanley Tucci and Jamey Sheridan who were all mesmerizing in their little fleeting acts.

Screenplay of the movie is well written. Becomes very thoughtful at times. The work the people do in the flick will make you feel worthless. So, crucial bringing issues in the dark to the front page! They deserve an ovation.

“That’s why I never got married. I am too busy. What I do is too important.”

The aforementioned is said by Mitchell Garabedian played brilliantly by Stanley Tucci. You could almost read how concerned and thoughtful the guy is from his looks.

Spotlight comes up with a beautiful plot of mind-boggling revelations that will make you hate the religious conventions that hide the truth. It is a dead on collision between the media and the system, which remarkably addresses the church functioning snags. To say that the issue just circles around church would be an understatement. It is a global phenomena, something so ugly that it hardly makes news. This flick beats the odds to come up a victor. Kudos to the thoughtful media on this one!

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Spotlight begins with a hushed conversation and a free priest getting away with a horrendous crime. The prologue is reflective of how untouched and unscathed they feel under the aegis of their religious fallacy. How unfazed they feel around the law! Believing they are closer to God they could get away with anything! The perpetrator walks on to his car, escorted by a bigger authority from the Church as the helpless law (a policeman) watches their car drive through a mist of smoke into the oblivion.

It delves deep into some outstanding reporting too which is well captured by Tom McCarthy that shows us how extraordinary the efforts of Boston Globe reporters really were in bringing out the issue at hand into the limelight. The final result will gratify you and if you are the empathizing kind, you will feel the cold yet comforting gaze of justice from the end credits.

The world’s full of sexual predators. They could be masked as priests too. To look the other way is not the solution. If it is happening in your corridors, speak up. Crime’s after all a crime. Something needs to be done or the world will go blind.