“Beast” Good Entertainment or Just Palatable?

On a cold snowy day in March, in our search to find a film that was low on violence and high on happy values, we came upon “Beauty and the Beast,” and so, may I add, did a lot of other folks.gallery-1478512906-beauty-and-the-beast-movie

(digitalspy.com) This is a wildly over- produced live action-plus-animation addition to the Disney folio, based on its earlier all animated 1991 film. It has several decent songs by Alan Menken in a big score and some nice dances between candelabra and the duster. dancing teapotsThe setting seems to be  some presumably French town long ago when everything was pretty and clean. I’m not sure where that would be exactly but the women wore dirndls.town

(hellogiggles.com) The Prince is played by Dan Stevens, who escaped from the last three years of “Downton Abbey” where, to his disgust, he played an almost impossibly handsome Matthew Crawley. He apparently will now only accept acting roles that hide his manly beauty and if you can make the audience love you as the Beast, that’s good work. Only later, do we catch a glimpse of him looking like Matthew, possibly longing for a nice hairy costume.prince(newsday)

Emma Watson plays Belle but without significant flair; she doesn’t catch our heart as Belle should but she has no problem with the floating staircases as she met many of them in the Harry Potter films as Hermione.hermione(celebritymozo.com)

The best part of this film is the great Disney animation of tables, armoires, pianos, clocks transformed from their past lives as the Prince’s former staff members. Here there is truly magic, reminding me of the great classics like the glorious “Cinderella” mice(pinterest.com) combined with the scary living furniture in Ravel’s “L’Enfant and les Sortileges, ” designed by David Hockney.hockney-david-1937-united-king-1-the-nightingale-and-l-enfant-2829716-500-500-2829716(artvalue.com)

This movie is great for children of course and there were plenty of adults there as well, passing the time as we were. Rory pronounced it “palatable” for adults. Seeing it in IMAX is pretty amazing; I prefer it to the 3D version which requires glasses.

Just a word about “La Belle et La Bete,” the 1946 Jean Cocteau classic fairy tale. From the moment of the opening, where we see the louche but gorgeous Jean Marais, to his transformation into a wonderful prince, wejean gabinare enchanted. Who could forget the moving arms holding candelabra that show Belle the way,candelabra or her incantation to her horse, “Va ou je vais, Magnifique–va, va, va.”  horseBut that’s another story and if you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your list. You will be carried away.

In the meantime, in a snowstorm, or if you are in need of some fantasy, it’s perfectly all right to see “Beauty.” We did and it wasn’t too bad.


#beauty and the beast

#La Belle et La Bete

#Jean Cocteau



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