On Sunday, GG and I caught the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This film is rated PG in Singapore which meant she could not see it with her friends. But honestly, I really didn’t the big deal about it being PG as the theatre was filled with young children and their parents, many much younger than GG!
Emma Watson was aptly cast as the bookish, but brave Belle while the actor who played the Beast, Dan Stevens only showed his true self at the very end, was scary initially as the beast and one who got our sympathy as the movie moved along. Luke Evan’s Gaston was also spot on as the slightly slimy and pretentious character he was.
The film is pretty true to the animated version and those who’ve seen it will follow the movie. I loved the songs and GG hummed along with the soundtrack. The film is longer than the typical Hollywood movie with a running time of 129 minutes. It also gives a bit of the backstory about why the Beast behaved the way he did in the beginning (when he gets cursed) as well as a bit of Belle’s background, especially about her dead mother. These scenes, which are experienced by Belle with the Beast show us and Belle his soft side and are probably instrumental in getting her to fall in love with him.
As to the other cast, my favourite of the household help was Lumiere, Beast’s butler who turned into a candlestick voiced and enacted by Ewan McGregor. The interplay between him and the majordomo turned clock Cogsworth played by Ian McKellen was lovely to watch as was the romance between Lumiere and Plumette, the housemaid played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who had been turned into a feather duster. I also loved how Mrs Potts (Emma Thompson) and Chip (Nathan Mack) were interpreted, and would have loved to have more scenes between the two. Another interesting character was Gaston’s sidekick LeFou who was played quite flamboyantly by Josh Gad. He was an out and out closet case, corrupt and utterly devoted to Gaston, but who in the finale changes sides and moves to the side of the good.
I also liked that throughout the film, there was a lot of racial diversity, but I’d image that in the 16th century France where the film is set, especially in the small village of Villeneuve where Belle lives and the nearby castle of the Beast, you would not expect to see this kind of racial diversity.
On to the elephant in the room, the overtly gay scene which everyone was talking about. Because of this scene and perhaps one more somewhere in the middle of the film, Malaysia has postponed the release of this film indefinitely. Both the scenes were, according to me, not worth the hype it generated. Agreed that this is a children’s film, but the violence where the Beast fends off the wolves and also when the villagers come to kill the beast and ransack the castle would probably be more frightening to children than these scenes. These were literally blink and miss scenes and I seriously doubt any child in the theatre (and there were plenty the day we saw the film) would have even realised what was happening in that fraction of a second.
So there you have it, a film which is surely worth the ticket price (plus the popcorn you will inevitably buy). Please do go and see it if you haven’t yet. If you have, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
Here are some trailers from the film for those who haven’t seen it yet.