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Flick picks: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ revels in cinematic spectacle

#beautyandthebeast #boxofficeA quarter of a century after “Beauty and the Beast” solidified Disney’s animation renaissance, the studio has added the classic cartoon to its lineup of live-action remakes.

Unlike “Cinderella,” which eschewed the original’s beloved tunes, or “Maleficent,” which told “Sleeping Beauty” from the villain’s point of view, however, director Bill Condon’s take is decidedly faithful to its source material, retaining the 1991 film’s musical numbers and Busby Berkeley dance sequences as well as that iconic yellow dress.

The result is a visual marvel and an exercise in nostalgia for a generation of moviegoers who grew up with the groundbreaking movie.

You know the plot: Belle (Emma Watson) is a beautiful bookworm in a small village whose criticism of her provincial life seem kind of mean now that the townspeople are living, breathing human beings. Hailed as the first feminist Disney princess, she is more interested in books than boys, deftly declining the advances of local rogue Gaston (Luke Evans). Whip-smart and outspoken, Watson is clever short-hand casting for this empowered character.

Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline) is an artist in this version rather than an inventor, and gets lost on his way to sell his beautiful intricate music boxes, landing on the doorstep of a mysterious castle in a snowy wasteland. Enraged at the intrusion, the Beast (Dan Stevens) who lives there imprisons the old man, only agreeing to let him go when Belle offers to stay in his place.

Our heroine is fearless and plucky, standing up to the monster and planning to escape, but of course she softens when he shows her his tender side — and his library.

Though not as problematic as some of its sister stories, the fairy tale still has Belle falling for her captor, which isn’t an awesome message to deliver to young girls and boys about how love works.

But otherwise this “Beauty and the Beast” offers a rather progressive version, with actors of color nonchalantly filling supporting roles, and Josh Gad as Gaston’s devoted sidekick LeFou delivering what Condon controversially called the film’s “exclusively gay moment.” There are a handful of suggestive moments, actually, but none deserving the international outrage the director’s comment has provoked.

Source : bizjournals

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