It’s so evident. No attempt has been made to camouflage the film’s stagy Broadway antecedents. I felt it was an attempt to keep the cost of production down but here is the surprise of surprises. The film cost a whopping $160 million, which is nearly Rs.1000 crores. It’s time for Disney to have a tie up with Yash Raj Films and Indian Animation and CGI outfits to bring down the cost of production of its blockbusters.
You know the story. It’s a usual run of mill stuff. It has a heroine, young and ethereally beautiful, called Belle (Emma Watson). She is weighed down by her ‘provincial’ lifestyle in a small village. She wants to read and expand her horizons. We have a villain a narcissistic ‘bahubali’ kind of a guy, a soldier called Gaston (Luke Evans) who wants to marry her. He is too boorish, self-absorbed, insensitive, arrogant, and unlettered for her sophisticated taste. We have this handsome prince (Dan Stevens) of finer tastes. He mocked a sorceress and her gift of a rose because of her looks and thus was cursed by her to turn into a beast. The beauty will salvage him, before his beastly state becomes permanent as the last petal of the sorceress’s rose decays and falls. The villain will of course create hurdles but all will end on an exuberant and positive note.
The film engages you with its music and storytelling and enchantingly grand CGI and animation set pieces. The live action-animation film is not boring and soporific like many other films inspired by successful Broadway musicals. The animated subsidiary characters in the story are part of the comedy track like most of the Indian films of the past. It makes the story very Indian in feel and content. The film should win nominations for art direction and costume design for the 2018 Academy Awards, which again is a predictable foregone conclusion.
Disney and Pixar animators and CGI specialists have done a competent job as usual. Have they achieved some important technical breakthroughs? If they have, it’s not dramatic enough to be visible to a layperson’s eyes. Over all it’s a well made entertaining film.