A movie review this time for a change :)
Title: La belle et la bête
Director: Christophe Gans
Writers: Christophe Gans (screenplay), Sandra Vo-Anh (screenplay)
Release date: 9th of May 2014 (Estonia)
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Fairy tale
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier
An unexpected romance blooms after the the youngest daughter of a merchant who has fallen on hard times offers herself to the mysterious beast to which her father has become indebted.
Why are there so little fairy tale live action movies? It sad and a grave injustice to the whole world (and, especially, me)! Luckily, this move suddenly popped up in my move theaters and my plea was finally hear. Although, Beauty and the Beast isn’t my favorite from the bunch, it’s still better than nothing.
This French adaption of the popular fairy tale was, first of all, visually gorgeous and beyond my expectations. From the wardrobe to the locations to the condition and characteristics of the castle to the visuals of the characters themselves to… I thought this movie genuinely excelled in the looks department. The beast was the only one I would slightly whine about, because he could have been more scary and at times he was slightly costume-y. Still, the movie is a feast for the eyes, colorful and magical.
When imagining this particular fairy tale, the Disney version is the first to come to mind and you automatically assume that that was also how the original source material was, but in reality, the original was a lot different, especially in detail, for example: Belle had two other sisters, her father lost his fortune as a merchant to a storm destroying his ships, Belle dreams of the prince whilst in the castle, there was no Gaston the troublesome suitor, etc. This new move version certainly is more closer to the initial tale, but in some parts completely different again, eg. the prince's wife. Whenever a new version adds aspects, removes some, interprets others in new ways, adds characters – it all makes the adaption more enjoyable, because how many times can you create the exact same things in context? And these changes in the movie definitely helped give depth to the story, especially regarding the background of the beast.
I also liked the somewhat different ending to the couple. It seemed quite appropriate considering all said and done.
Con: It’s not really the fault of the movie or even the original material, but I didn’t feel that Belle and the beast really knew each other too well or had spent enough actual time together to truly be in love with each other. In the Disney version, it’s better handled and you can definitely imagine such feelings being developed, but in the move the lack of contact and, seemingly, little time spent in each other's company was something I didn’t appreciate. Yes, it’s a fairy tale and feelings come with the snap of a finger, but insta love isn’t something I’m fond of, even in fairy tales.
Wow, the actress playing Belle was such a beautiful girl, she looked so gorgeous in the fancy gowns and the whole styling was spot on for the role and absolutely complimented her beauty. Belle herself was innocent yet had attitude. She is overall always quite likable so I was quite fond of her character this time again.
The prince wasn’t my style, but in regards to doing justice to the character he had to portray, he was definitely convincing and evoked all the right emotions in the viewer.
Regarding the princess, it was a pleasant surprising to see a German singer that I know and have listened to in the past take up that role.
If you are a fairy tale lover and have a chance at this coming to theaters near you or watching it on DVD or or or… then please book a date already! One of the most gorgeous fairy tale adaptions I’ve seen in a looooong time... or maybe ever.
Enjoy the trailer!