Once upon a time (this archetypal start means that this is nothing but a fairy tale) there was a good looking prince (Dan Stevens). But he was also arrogant, so arrogant that he refused an enchantress refuge in a snow storm. Angry she cursed him to become a beast and his entourage to become just pieces of furniture and the castle in which they all lived to be forgotten in the midst of perpetual snow. In order to lift the curse, a beautiful girl has to fall in love with the beast before the petals of a rose the enchantress has planted all fall down.
In a village not far away there exists just such a girl (Emma Watson). But a formidable obstacle exists in the form of another suitor (Luke Evans) who will do anything to get the girl. And that includes attempting to kill the beast. However fate has other plans and the two lovers are destined to meet.
The film has been created with great attention paid to every small thing especially in the castle. The director sure is a perfectionist. The visual beauty of each and every chamber and the costumes is almost too good. The pieces of furniture (who are nothing but humans cursed into become furniture) sure make a bedlam while dancing.
Music is the high point of the film; this fact is very important as the film is a musical. The music just keeps getting better and better as the movie progresses with the music director reserving the best for the climax. The scintillating music sure adds to the grandeur of the film.
Also photography is very good and every frame is rich with colour. The experience is heightened if you see it as I saw it- in IMAX 3D. The visuals of the interiors of the castle, of the snow outside, of both gentle as well as ferocious animals, of the green countryside and hills, of the beauty of the heroine- all are well captured in the film.
Emotion is a strong point in the film too and the film gets more and more high on emotion as the climax approaches; the emotion is nothing but pure love with pure hate and evil as obstacle. But what is a film without struggle between good and bad.
What could be more debatable is the necessity of the over political correctness of the film. Did blacks really get to mix and dance as equals in the eighteenth century with whites as shown in the film? Were interracial couples accepted so easily in those times as shown in the film? The film’s villain has a gay sidekick who eventually meets a similarly inclined partner, albeit only for a brief moment; but what was the need for an old fairy tale to have it’s gay moment?
But the enjoyment of the film is not marred by the debatable issues and I liked it especially towards the end. The film will be appreciated by those with a yen for romance and women may make a beeline for the movie in the theatres- as indeed they already have.
Three and a half stars