La Belle et La Bête (2014)

“Then I will give you one day to say goodbye to your loved ones.You only need to whisper the words:“More than anything in the world,” to your horse, and he will bring you here.”

La Belle et La Bête is adapted from a fairy tale of the same name written by french author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. The prior adaptations (most notably, Cocteau’s 1946 La Belle et La Bête or Disney’s) never really honor the source material, but instead refer to an abridged and tone-down version adapted by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1756. The original source of the material offers a lengthier background story for both Bête and Belle.
Earlier this year, i saw Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête, a mesmerizing fantasy piece despite its mostly low-fi effects. But perhaps because of that it became even more amazing, since it is made in 1946. Almost 70 years later, this french-german production of the french fairy tale is released. Naturally, i couldn’t help but to think how technological advances especially in film industries should be able to create a more enchanting picture. But alas i was wrong.
LB03 LB02LB06
La Belle et La Bête is a spectacle, grand production design with ample of CGIs, but like most cases (Maleficent, for example) it’s often inefficiently used and distract the audience from the story where the main focus should be. I worry this is also the case with Gans vision of the story. I wonder what the real target audience of the film really is. Because eventhough fairy tale are meant for children but it does have a darker edge that could be exposed and would be suitable for a more mature viewer. And since Gans held steadfastly to the origin of story, i wonder why did he need all the animated wide-eyed CGI dogs that belongs in kids genre? But then if it is marketed for its romantic arc why does it felt very flat and the two lead actors (Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux) really lacking of chemistry on screen. Then again, i felt perhaps their supposed blossoming love affair I felt overshadowed by the extensive flash back of Bête’s past life.
Overall, La Belle et La Bête felt like a lot of wasted potential. It has so many good things, but perhaps like a kid, Gans did not know what to do with it and just self indulgently created a grande spectacle in mind. Yet unlike what children did, i did not felt a rush of creativity nor joy from the end result.

GENRE Fantasy, Romance
DIRECTOR Christophe Gans | PRODUCER Richard Grandpierre | WRITER Christophe Gans, Sandra Vo-Anh | CINEMATOGRAPHER Christophe Beaucarne | MUSIC Pierre Adenot | EDITOR Sébastien Prangère | STUDIO Eskwad, Pathé, Studio Babelsberg | DISTRIBUTOR Pathé | COUNTRY  France, German | RUNNING TIME 112 minutes | RATING N/A | RELEASE February 14, 2014 (US)
STARRING Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier

TrailerIMDb | Official Site


DID YOU KNOW? Despite everything i love the production design for the film. See the sketches of the film concept art by François Baranger here.


10 thoughts on “La Belle et La Bête (2014)

  1. I liked this more than you did, but it’s also probably because I haven’t seen the 1946 adaptation. The production design was amazing, and I loved Belle’s clothes, they were always so vibrant.

    • Then i’d truly recommend you to watch the 1946 version too. The production they did to conjure a fantastical, magical castle of Beast is mind-boggling to say the least :)
      The production design on this one is truly exceptional (though i still have a distaste for the CGI)

    • Hahaha you should if you interested, one man’s garbage could be another man’s treasure right?
      I do hope you’ll enjoy it more than i do :)
      (oh and please watch the 1946 version of it too if you haven’t already)

  2. I have been highly anticipating this, so I’m sad that it doesn’t live up! It still looks stunning though, so I’ll be seeing it for sure.

  3. The film look gorgeous but I read apart from visual side it’s really not good, a shame because they had such good actors there on the set.

    • It is truly sad to see the actors and actresses’ talent wasted on it.. But hey, maybe you would find it more satisfying? The film just don’t work on me i guess.. Despite how much i wanted to like it.

    • Hey leah!
      yeah, it was sad how the vision of the director felt more suited to something more of a transformers 3D indulgence :) I think i enjoyed the 1946 version more…

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