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Beauty and the Beast

In this era, there are remakes, sequels and re-boots galore. Several films have had multiple versions of their stories made over the decades. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is one that has seen many adaptations. Some have been amazing while others have withered. The 1991 Walt Disney animated version was a huge success leading to a popular stage version. Now comes the live-action movie update with all the bells and whistles only Disney can provide. It’s a gorgeous looking production with stirring music that successfully captures the timelessness of its classic tale.

When her father is captured and held captive in a sinister-looking castle, Belle (Emma Watson) tries to find a way to free him. She decides to trade her life for his, a pact she makes with the castle’s owner, the Beast (Dan Stevens). An ugly monster on the surface, underneath, as Belle discovers, is someone full of genuine heart. Becoming enchanted with the magical beings within the castle, she defends the beast against determined hunter Gaston (Luke Evans). Hoping the beast’s true nature emerges for all to see, Belle races against the clock to ensure this happens.

From its opening moments, you can tell ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a lavish production. No expense has been spared to bring the tale to life. It certainly looks sumptuous, with elegant costuming, visual design and well written music. These elements are meant to entrance viewers into its magical world. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ revels in its slick professionalism, with its glossy veneer hiding its messages of being an outsider and accepting the person inside ourselves. Although it wasn’t created by Disney, the story is well suited to the company who has traded on its family friendly ideal.

Director Bill Condon directs with panache despite the cartoonish characters seen. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is very much a feel-good piece with wicked villains and virtuous heroes. Watson does well as the latter with Evans cutting a dashing figure in the former. The only genuine let-down is the rendering of the beast with less than credible CGI. This takes away a little from the romance between him and Belle, even if it is handled well. The songs are suitably hum-able and the imaginative creativity gone into presenting this for big-screen entertainment noticeable.

Although this is yet another version of an oft-told tale, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ offers a megabuck spectacle worth seeing. It makes you more appreciative effort has gone into crafting something visually appealing. Its sense of enchanting wonder is intact that would have made Walt Disney proud.

Rating out of 10: 7

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