Beauty and the Beast: Review

It seems to be movie season yet again or shall I say movies that I want to see are coming out thick and fast. This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching the live action ‘remake’ or ‘reboot’ of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast…

Let me say first of all, the two words ‘remake’ and ‘reboot’ don’t really fall into my thoughts of what this film was. In fact I was very impressed and don’t have much at all to really criticize.

I think it’s very bold of Disney to try and reinvent and re imagine their previously successful tales especially as it hasn’t really been that long since the animation came out. As a child I saw both the animation and a stage production on a school trip which always left a lasting memory and fondness for this tale older than time.

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The film verdict

It gets going straight away with the very familiar telling of how the beast came to be. This time though we get a more detailed version instead of just a brief skip over. Life before being a beast is shown and depicted effectively with some impressive looking sets, costume and cinematography. I did struggle to tell the difference throughout the film at what was clever computer camera stuff and real stuff.

Then of course the movie flashes forward to the present and we are treated with the famous opening number from the animation. Now don’t let the homage to the original animation put you off if you haven’t seen it, this doesn’t really matter. This opening number impressed me no end and it was an effective way of introducing main characters and minor characters who were all equally impressive. In and out of song we went with Emma Watson proving herself not only to be the perfect fit for Belle but to also have an impressive singing voice.

I think for the first time she actually stood out in a film and I know she had a massively successful tenure in the Harry Potter films, I will boldly say she fitted better into the role of Belle than she would ever as Hermione Granger ; simply because she could express herself more into what her character meant. Bare with me here but in Harry Potter she spends most of the time reigning in Harry and Ron with the casual viewer developing a somewhat toleration for her being there. However with Beauty and the Beast I think we actually see Emma Watson for the first time and you don’t have to be ultra glamorous to be a Disney standard princess and this is the wonder of live action, these are real people and it feels more real.

Again I must say how well the cinematography was throughout along with the sets and costume. Disney weren’t messing around with this one and meant business. The full cast was decorated and a full ensemble of Hollywood’s then, now and future.

The main ‘baddie’ type character came via the flash arrogant Gaston who was wonderfully brought to life by Luke Evans. He was joined by Josh Gad who played by the equally as funny and different LeFou. Belle’s father came to life by the veteran actor Kevin Kline who fit into that role perfectly. Lower down the pecking order of major to minor characters you had Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Ewan Mcgregor (Lumiere, who I give full credit to as I didn’t know that was him especially with the french accent), Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts) and Stanley Tucci ( Cadenza).

Now for what was mostly a great film there is one minor or major flaw that bugged me ever so slightly. The Beast throughout was mainly computer generated from what I can gather. Now he was voiced well and I believed his character throughout but there were just some moments where the animation of him seemed a tad clunky, this was the only real thing I had which could be classed as a problem but everything else was, well let’s say awesome. Dan Stevens did great as the Beast but the computer effects just let it down a tad.

There was action, tension and detail where there previously wasn’t in the past version. Emma Watson has officially arrived as an actress who should no longer just be known for Harry Potter and Disney have taken a well calculated risk which has indeed paid off. This film has something for everyone, as long as you like the occasional song and well choreographed dancing number. Everything that Disney are known for being good at is in this film.

My final rating for this film is 4 Roses out of 5!

 

Tomorrowland : A world Beyond, telling us we should all look in the mirror and have happy thoughts every now and then…..

There I was on Friday with my better half in a somewhat deserted cinema at the beginning of a payday weekend.

Tomorrowland our choice, having seen the trailer intrigue got the better of me and opposed my thoughts of watching Dwayne Johnson escape an earthquake.

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As the film opens we are faced with a ruggedly handsome George Clooney talking to us the audience. He speaks of how ‘this’ all began and every so often is interrupted by a girl (Britt Robertson) we also see some kind of countdown clock thingy. Off we go back to the sixties to when this all began….

There were two main stories in this film’s plot, one of Clooney’s character and the other of Robertson’s character who is based in the present day. It’s the usual set up for Disney, a plainish type girl living with a single parent and younger kid brother. She has a passion for science and seeing the stars. Who doesn’t these days?

Clooney’s story is one of discovery as a young kid and he pitches the idea of a jetpack to an invention panel at the world’s fair.  After only attracting the attention of a girl (Raffey Cassidy) similar age to him she hands the boy a pin with ‘T’ embossed in it.

This pin allows entry to via some kind of teleportation to a futuristic city known as Tomorowland. A place where all the best and brightest live.

There were some cool visuals as this boy discovered the city. Mostly CGI but on the big screen it looked convincing. Throughout this rather long winded introduction I was left thinking where is this going and what is it about? Those answers were coming but not yet.

Flash forward to the girl and within her seeing the stars passion fueled ‘Cinderella’ type story we are fed an interesting and thought provoking quote:

There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?”

“The one you feed.”

Cutting a long story short becasuse I do recommend this film, Tomorrowland (the place) has fallen to sh** in recent times. Clooney’s character has left and come back to normal land. This girl  receives a pin and using it she see’s a ‘version’ of that place.

Desperatley wanting to know more she finds Clooney and after some convincing they make their way to Tommorowland

Imediatley they are apprehended by Hugh Laurie’s character, a somewhat leader of Tomorrowland. This is near two thirds into the film and we finally find out what this they are trying to tell us.

The countdown we are shown at the beginning is from a device, that Clooney invented and predicts when the modern day world will end. Even though Hugh Laurie played a smaller part in this film he brought a top level performance of a man who had accepted humanity’s fate. He delivered this via a very powerful self reflecting speech,

“You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation, explain that one. Bees butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, the algae blooms. All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead and you won’t take the hint! In every moment there’s a possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality.”

 Powerful and deep stuff right? As expected from Disney because they love an undertone or two.

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The main cast, a decent mix of known and lesser known faces

So the world is going to end in a matter of months and that’s it?

Wrong. The girl realises this world ending predicting device only shows what could happen and not what will happen. Back to our feeding the wolves quote, she theorised that if you be positive and live positively the world won’t end.

Yes this stuff is quite deep for Disney, I was surprised and intrigued at the same time. After an altercation they destroy the device which seems to have a death grip over everybodies negative thoughts and the world is saved.

So my question to you is which wolf do you feed?

Tomorrowland slowly built up in a long winded discovery sort of way. It was good to see Disney create a live action original piece and this film wasn’t just a George Clooney film. I give full credit to other mostly younger performers in this film and recommend it just because it has a thought provoking level of intrigue not seen in modern or past Disney productions.

Not many people will get the film or what is trying to say, others will turn it off before watching it all. Applied thinking is needed for this film to be effective. But overall I enjoyed the visuals and action.

If you are looking for a different option to the mega action smash fests we have seen so far this year then check out Tomorowland. If you’re just a George Clooney fan, you will probably be disappointed that he shared screen time with some less known faces.

I liked it. With a month that will be dominated by dinosaurs and running and all the screaming Tomorrowland was a nice change of pace.

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