Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Hattie Morahan, Haydn Gwynne, Gerard Horan, Ray Fearon, Ewan McGregor, Ian Mckellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Cadenza, Clive Rowe, Adrian Schiller.
Heralded as one of the great Disney classics of all time, Beauty and the Beast is a scintillating tale of compassion over anger, of love over objectivity and quite rightly has become engrained in the heart of those who have taken its message of purity and simplicity against force and prejudice to its true place in the psyche; love conquers all they say and yet sometimes love is not quite enough to warrant taking a much loved animated film and turning into a live action feature, sometimes love just isn’t enough.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and the superb Luke Evans, the film can easily divide, the evidence for that is up on the screen as some of the singing, the vocalisation, has been arguably tweaked, taken through machines to make it appear natural and fresh and yet it can be heard suspiciously mechanic.
To do this in any film is surely to commit some kind of heresy and yet it appears more and more, it is up there with overdubbing and painting the true voice out of cinematic history and yet it continues unabated and heralded as an art form in itself. It also detracts from the more splendid scenes that the film has to offer, the joyous tavern scene in which Luke Evans and Josh Gad excel marvellously, the heroic nature of the Beast shining through when confronted by the white wolves and the beautiful dinner table scene in which Ewan McGregor as Lumière is simply on top form; all of these moments cancel out the more lacking in substance and the feeling of the insincere attachments in which the film eventually still comes up unfortunately short of being a true musical great.
Beauty and the Beast is a film of two opposing factions, the sweet and the natural allusion to the story’s great heritage in literature and the mechanical that seems to sweep in at various points, a film in which comes out on in the positive for its embracing of the first openly gay character in a Disney film and the majority of the production numbers that make the scenes entertaining and full of joy. Beauty and the Beast is a fun ride but with one or more unedifying divergences.
Ian D. Hall