Beauty and the beast

Australia, Release Date 23 March 2017

Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast's hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

Story

Review by Dwayne Lennox

When it was announced that Disney would remake its animated 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast as a live-action film, many fans of the film would have asked 'why?' Well, Disney can now give you a billion good reasons why.

The 2017 Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) has grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide since releasing in cinemas in March; audiences obviously connecting with the 'tale as old as time' of a young woman falling in love with a cursed prince.

The 1991 Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and as a subsequently successful Broadway musical, holds a special place in many people's hearts. And fans of either of those iterations of the story shouldn't be disappointed with Condon's version: an almost note-for-note remake of the animated film.

Our heroine, Belle (Emma Watson), doesn't have time for the trivial attentions of men, and certainly not local hero, Gaston (a vainglorious Luke Evans). She'd rather read books and study mechanics, like her clock-maker father, Maurice (Kevin Kline). That's why Belle thinks nothing of trading her freedom for his when, after taking refuge in a secluded castle, Maurice is imprisoned by the Beast (Dan Stevens); a Prince who, along with his house staff, was punished for his vanity and cruelty with eternal "ugliness". The only way to break the spell: true love, a mission impossible undertaken by dancing candelabra and a singing teapot.

Beauty and the Beast 2017 after credits hq

Perhaps that is why this version of Beauty and the Beast (and all the recent Disney animated-to-live action films) exists: because today's movie-making technology allows it to; CGI bringing to life all of the staff-turned-household objects that was once only possible in animation.

And the voice cast boasts some serious star wattage: Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Stanley Tucci (Maestro Cadenza), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette), and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth).

Watson, a limited actress though with a surprisingly good singing voice, makes for a headstrong Belle, while the make-up and CGI does most of the heavy lifting for Stevens' Beast (And yes, the Beast is far more attractive than the Prince in human form). Evans' Gaston is a particularly despicable form of male entitlement, and Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston's aide-de-camp, adds some comic touches (though the less said about the 'exclusively gay moment' the better).

Beauty and the Beast should delight fans of the 1991 film, as well as those who enjoy wholesome romances, elaborate production design, and musicals.

PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, we have 5 copies of Beauty and the Beast on DVD to be won. We also have a major prize pack, including a cap, key chain, notebook, candle holder, foldable mirror, tote bag, as well as a DVD copy of the film, for one lucky winner. To go in the draw, email us with your name and mailing details.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray and DVD June 14

Read more film reviews by Dwayne Lennox on his blog at: thelennoxfiles.blogspot.com.au

Cast & Characters

Emma Watson
Dan Stevens
Luke Evans
Kevin Kline
Josh Gad
Ewan McGregor
Stanley Tucci
Audra McDonald
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Ian McKellen
Emma Thompson

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