Beauty And The Beast Review: A Stunning Movie of Christophe Gans
The difference from Disney as you can imagine, this ‘Beauty And The Beast‘ version of the classic French story can be reviewed with but a single word: stunning. To say more, would merely limit this film’s magnificence to the bounds of my vocabulary.
Fantasy films have a way of casting a spell over their audience by drawing them into the imaginative environment or period in which they happen, a cinematic effect to which French writer and director Christophe Gans is no stranger.
While his experience possesses more of a gritty, horror-driven slant, from his depiction of the historical Beast of Gevaudan as a werewolf to the eerie metaphysical realm of Silent Hill, his daring orchestration of production design and cinematography similarly deepen the immersion within both outlandish settings.
Beating Disney to the punch, Gans latest film takes aim at a new live-action version of the classic French fairytale Beauty and the Beast, fusing together his experience with sprawling atmosphere and tenacious humanoid creatures with a more colorful, fanciful storybook setting.
Without the grittier, morbid inclinations of his previous works. However he’s created a visually alluring yet sleepily-paced fable, with stilted iterations of its iconic characters that stick out like sore thumbs.
1810. After the wreck of his ships, a financially-ruined merchant (André Dussollier) exiles himself in the countryside with his six children. Among them is Belle (Léa Seydoux), his youngest daughter, a joyful girl full of grace. One day, during an arduous journey, the merchant stumbles across the magical domain of the Beast (Vincent Cassel), who sentences him to death for stealing a rose. Feeling responsible for the terrible fate which has befallen her family, Belle decides to sacrifice herself and take her father’s place. At the Beast’s castle, it is not death that awaits Belle, but a strange life in which fantastical moments mingle with gaiety and melancholy. Every night, at dinner, Belle and the Beast sit down together.
They learn about each other, taming one another like two strangers who are total opposites. When she has to repulse his amorous advances, Belle tries to pierce the mysteries of the Beast and his domain. And when night falls, the Beast’s past is revealed to her bit by bit in her dreams. It is a tragic story, which tells her that this solitary and fearsome being was once a majestic prince. Armed with her courage, ignoring every danger, and opening her heart, Belle manages to release the Beast from his curse. And in doing so, she discovers true love.
Rating: PG-13 (for some action violence, peril and frightening images)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance
Directed By: Christophe Gans
Written By: Christophe Gans, Sandra Vo-Anh
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier
Runtime: 112 minutes
What are the Critics saying about ‘Beauty and The Beast’?
Kate Erbland (indieWire)
Gans isn’t especially concerned with the outcome this coupling, instead reveling in overwrought and often bloated storytelling, lush details and some of the year’s most unnerving CGI.
Leah Pickett (Chicago Reader)
This 2014 adaptation of the French fairy tale looks spectacular, with vibrant landscapes and lavish 18th-century costumes, but… [Léa Seydoux, as the fair maiden, and Vincent Cassell] are stiff and perfunctory.
Gary Goldstein (Los Angeles Times)
The film is most acceptable when it sticks to its beauty-and-beast dynamic. Even then it’s too dizzying and grandiose and the chemistry between the lead characters is pretty much nil.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (AV Club)
Belongs to the most rote category of interpretations, hinting at nothing darker than a fascination with sulking bad boys bored by wealth.