Friday, 17 March 2017

Disney Beauty And The Beast Live Action Film Review

Once Upon A Time, May 23 to be exact, Disney released a teaser trailer for their big new 2017 film. Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon. And today it opened. Everyone knows the tale as old as time. Long ago in a castle in deepest France, (Disney imagined beautiful Chambord in the Loire Valley) lives a handsome Prince.

But the arrogant, vain young prince, played by Dan Stevens, at a ball one evening, refuses to help a beggar woman, played by Hattie Morahan, who offers a rose as payment. Except she is no ordinary beggar, but a beautiful enchantress with an enchanted rose. She casts a spell on the prince and the castle servants. He becomes a hideous beast and they become objets d'art and various household implements. The spell will only be broken when a girl falls in love with him as the beast. And he with her. She leaves the rose and an enchanted mirror as a reminder. And if he hasn't found love by the time the last petal falls. They will forever remain as they are; whether beast or clock. Time will forget the castle and its inhabitants.

Many years later in a small provincial village we meet Belle, played by Emma Watson. With her head always in a book she's not like the rest of the villagers. But she is beautiful. And Gaston, the local heartthrob played by Luke Evans, is smitten. Except Belle doesn't want to be his wife. Might he not try elsewhere, Gaston's wingman LeFoy, played by Josh Gad, helpfully suggests.

Belle's father, played by Kevin Kline, off to market one day, promises to bring her a rose when he returns. But he gets hopelessly lost in a forest when it snows: in June. Managing to escape wolves he finds a castle deep in snow. And although there appears to be no-one home, he warms himself by the fire and a meal is laid out for him. Little boy Chip cannot help revealing himself. And the talking cup sends Maurice fleeing for the exit. In the castle gardens are beautiful roses, and remembering Belle's request for a rose, he takes one as he leaves. At which point the Beast arrives and Philippe the horse gallops home alone to Belle.

A worried Belle then arrives at the castle on Philippe to look for her father. Lumière and Cogsworth, played by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen wonder if she is The One....

I loved the film. I saw it in 3D and like Frozen the snow effect was beautiful. But dodge the plates! The set design was lovely with the castle very beautifully dressed. And the gorgeous costumes by Jacqueline Durran, as she discusses above, were all carefully thought out for the characters. Belle's blue outfit has pockets big enough to carry books and the skirt is hitched one side so she can ride. The famous yellow ballgown was covered in Swarovski crystals and magical golden trim.

The big musical numbers are sumptuous spectacles. With the special effects team going to town with 'Be Our Guest', to create a Folies Bergère style production with Lumière (totally at home!), and Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Plumette, the stars. With beautiful choreography on the film by Anthony Van Laast.

The whole talented cast were terrific and the singing was very good. Difficult at times to remember you are actually watching a film. The musical numbers were spot on.

A gorgeous production. Every little girl will love it and us older girls can just get carried away in the magical Once Upon A Time of our childhood.

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