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Friday, March 31, 2017

Just Been To See... Beauty And The Beast!

Public Domain image
It was the second last night of term. I only have one class today. I decided to spoil myself with an evening at the movies, and this one has had good reviews. Not that bad ones would stop me - I have seen both the original animated feature and the stage show in Melbourne, with Hugh Jackman as the repulsive Gaston, before he became famous outside of Australia. In that one, the role of Lumiere, the maitre d' with the French accent was played by Bert Newton, a local TV personality. 

Anyway, the live action Beauty was as good as the others. I like that they have been developing this over the years, pretty much the way Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was changed every time it was re-done. It's been a while since I saw the other versions, but I believe there were three extra songs.

I've been reading online about the original animated version, which was deliberately written as a Broadway musical with animation, so I guess when it became a stage show, it worked as a musical, though the actors in the roles of the household objects had to put up with very uncomfortable costumes! Lumiere, the candelabra, had to hold up both arms. Mrs Potts, the housekeeper turned into a teapot, had to hold up one arm. 

Fortunately, that wasn't an issue with the live action film, in which there were CGI household items. There were some impressive big-name actors cast in the roles of the household objects. Ewan McGregor as Lumiere - I didn't know he could sing! The great Ian McKellen, Gandalf himself, as Cogswell, the clock. Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts! The animated version was played by the voice of Angela Lansbury, who had, after all, done Mame on Broadway. 

Who would have thought the bushy-haired eleven year old playing Hermione Granger would grow into such a stunning young woman? I think Emma Watson has a fine career ahead of her. 

Kevin Kline was playing Maurice, the heroine's father. I have loved his acting ever since he did a wonderful Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream

By the way, I loved the way Belle and the Beast bonded over books, beginning with a quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream. And I really loved the Beast sneering over Belle's enthusiasm for Romeo And Juliet. "I might have known!" he snaps. Of course, he would see it as Shakespeare for teenagers(which it is, in a way). 

There were some in-jokes, such as naming the village Villeneuve after the woman who wrote a version of "La Belle Et La Bête". 

The eighteenth century costumes were beautiful, though I'm glad the restored Beast was no longer wearing make-up! 

But given it was set in mid-eighteenth century France I kind of spoiled it for myself by imagining that Belle and her prince might live long enough to see the Revolution and have to flee to England with children and grandchildren to escape the guillotine... 

Oh, I'm dreadful! 

Anyway, it was a gorgeous film with amazing SFX, delightful acting and beautiful landscape. I found myself humming along with the songs and dancing out of the cinema on my way to the team stop. I'm thinking I'll take Mum this week. 


Lexa Cain said...

I've heard nothing but good about this movie. I'm so glad you enjoyed it; it sounds like it'll be fun for your mother too. (Funny about Belle and Gaston escaping the guillotine. My next novel has some Revolution escapees hiding in the modern Paris Catacombs! lol)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, Mum enjoys musicals, I think she will like this one. Actually, Gaston is the bad guy, but now you mention it, the Beast is about the only character whose name we never find out. Even the fairy is living in the village, known to everyone as Agathe!

Sue said...

Nice review! It was just what I needed, watching this delightful film one night at home. I'm going to follow your blog by email. Best way to keep up to date. Thanks for including a link when you visited my blog!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Sue! I hope you enjoy my blog. I post regularly, though I should add, most of my posts are about books.