Saturday, March 18, 2017

Beauty and the Beast - The Beautiful Live Version of 1991 Disney's Classic Animated Movie

I have known about this movie going to play in Indonesia since early this year and my wife had been reminding me many times that we should watch this one when it premiered. Last week, we found out that the movie would be playing on 17 March onwards. It's a good thing that we already have the card that would allow us to buy the tickets online, so we were able to buy it since last week and chose our favorite seats in the nearest cinema from our home. After passing through some surprisingly heavy traffic, I reached the location almost at the start of the movie. Without further ado, let's continue with the movie.

Brief Story Line

In a small village in France, lived a young girl named Belle (Emma Watson - as Hermione in Harry Potter film series) who loved to read books and was being ridiculed by the village people for it. She lived with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline - A Fish Called Wanda, Definitely, Maybe etc) who was working as a music box inventor. The village's most famous bachelor Gaston (Luke Evans - Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit trilogy etc) was very much interested in marrying Belle as he believed she was the only one compatible with his handsome looks. He was always accompanied by his best friend/sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad - The Angry Birds and as Olaf in Frozen) who was very supportive of Gaston.

One night during a trip outside the village, Maurice was lost in the forest and somehow reached a castle hidden for many years due to a sorcerer's spell. He soon realized that some things were "alive" in the castle and wanted to run away, but he was captured by the castle's owner in the form of a wild beast (Dan Stephens - A Walk Among the Tombstones, Downton Abbey TV series etc).  Maurice's horse managed to get back to his house where Belle then rode on the horse to the castle. She managed to take her father's place to be put in the prison of the castle, while Maurice returned back to the village.

All the household things who were actually the house staff were trying to cheer Belle up. They all believed that Belle might be the person that could change their lives. The household items were led by Cogsworth in the shape of clock (Ian McKellen - The Lord of the Rings trilogy, X-Men trilogy etc) and his very good friend Lumière in the shape of candelabra (Ewan McGregor - Moulin Rouge!, Star Wars prequel trilogy etc). They were assisted by Mrs. Potts in the shape of teapot (Emma Thompson - Nanny McPhee, Saving Mr. Banks etc) and her young son Chip in the shape of tea cup (Nathan Mack), Maestro Cadenza in the shape of harpsichord (Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones, The Hunger Games film series), his wife Madame de Garderobe in the shape of wardrobe (Audra McDonald) and Plumette in the shape of dust feather (Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Jupiter Ascending, Free State of Jones etc).

After Maurice return back to the village, he asked the village people's help to free his only daughter. But no one believed his story of the Beast and only Gaston, who was eyeing to get some credit for helping Maurice, was willing to accompany him with the assistance of LeFou. 

So what would happen to Belle's life in the castle? Would Gaston be able to help Maurice to set Belle free of the beast? How would the story unfolds? Find them all in this beautifully done musical movie.

End of Brief Story Line

Well this was one musical movie that I actually could enjoy. I got to make a rather embarrassing confession that I never saw the original 1991 animated version so I could not make a comparison between that movie and this one. All I know from that movie was the very popular song "Beauty and the Beast" sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson with the music video showing the famous dance sequence between the beast and Belle. In this movie, the live version was exactly as I pictured would be had it been real persons dancing. 

My wife was a very huge fan of the animated movie and she really enjoyed this one. She was still amazed of how an animated movie could be transformed so beautifully into a life one. And I know that she truly loved all the scenes (she even know most of the songs). Talking about the songs, the movie had got tons of them. Naturally I loved the theme song "Beauty and the Beast" which was sung 3 times and some more songs that I loved more than others such as "How Does A Moment Last Forever" and "Something There". I can conclude that the sound effects (especially musical effects) were totally wonderful. 

Another part that I truly enjoyed was the special effects of the movie which was absolutely amazing. The movements of all the household things were very lifelike. Including of course the effects of the beast which I believed was almost a perfect replica of the animation. Oh, and the voice of the beast was very convincing as a big scary beast. I thought there would be someone else voicing the Beast, but credible movie sites all mentioned Dan Stevens as the only voice of Beast. The movie also had some funny moments usually involving Cogsworth and Lumière and also the clumsiness of the Beast when dealing with Belle.

Bear in mind though that this is a musical drama movie, so audience should be prepared with a song every few minutes. There seemed to be a song for almost every occasion. The main cast of this movie were British (Watson, Stevens and Evans) which provide a very nice accent to hear during their conversations. The movie itself was actually adapted from a fairy tale created by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont back in the 1770s (which would explain the 18th century costumes). The essence (moral) of the story itself was a very good thing where people could actually be in love with one another despite the appearance of the people.

I believe that Walt Disney Pictures had done a wonderful job in transforming their own animated classic into a live version. I would not be surprised if this movie is also going to be successful. Only thing that might hinder the success would be a little controversy surrounding the sexuality of 1 character which made certain people a little bit uncomfortable. Although to my opinion, the scenes were not that obvious and I would think that had it not been talked about so much, I might have not realized them.

Anyway, I personally see the movie as a lovely movie for whole family to see. It is also a good romantic movie for couples. So be sure to watch it as it's playing in all cinema chains in Indonesia.

Mike's movie moments rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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