Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

OUR film re­viewer James Burgess is a 26-year-old per­for­mance, drama and the­atre grad­u­ate.

The for­mer Fal­li­b­roome High School pupil has at­tended the BAFTA Film Awards in Lon­don ev­ery year since 2009, meet­ing stars in­clud­ing Dame He­len Mir­ren, Chris­tian Bale, Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt and Emma Thompson.

James lives on St Ives Close in Mac­cles­field.

You can visit his web­site at www. jab­film­re­views.blogspot. com. Beauty And The Beast, Cert: PG, 129 mins, Walt Dis­ney Pictures Show­ing at Cinemac un­til Thurs­day, April 13 RAT­ING: DIS­NEY con­tin­ues its pro­lific slate of live-ac­tion re­makes. There was Alice In Wonderland, Cin­derella, Malef­i­cent and Oz: The Great And Pow­er­ful (my favourite by a yel­low-brick mile). It’s a strat­egy with no sign of slow­ing down, with Mu­lan, Peter Pan and The Lion King all in the works, along with The Nutcracker and a Mary Pop­pins se­quel cur­rently be­ing made.

It’s lat­est re-en­vi­sion­ing, is of Beauty And The Beast, the 1991 clas­sic which made his­tory for be­ing the first an­i­mat­ed­fea­ture ever to be nom­i­nated for the Best Pic­ture Os­car.

An un­be­liev­able twenty-six years later, the de­cid­edly dark tale of un­likely love, cursed spells, red roses and talk­ing house­hold ob­jects, re­turns to en­chant a new gen­er­a­tion.

It’s an ex­u­ber­ant, bells and whis­tles ex­pe­ri­ence: rich, glossy, dap­pled to within an inch of its block­bust­ing, GCIsprin­kled life.

So much so, that all the hype gen­er­ated by trail­ers and Twit­ter-spheres, can’t help but leave you feel­ing de­lighted, warm, and yet oddly hol­low.

The prob­lem with be­ing so faith­ful to a beloved orig­i­nal, is that this adap­ta­tion can feel like its set-pieces (and oc­ca­sion­ally over-long songs) are high­lights, en­gaged in a box-tick­ing ex­er­cise.

That said, it is vis­ually ab­so­lutely stun­ning. The sets and cos­tumes (by pow­er­house de­sign­ers Sarah Green­wood and Jacqueline Dur­ran - Pride And Prej­u­dice, Atone­ment, Anna Karen­ina), are phe­nom­e­nal, whether it’s the bustling re-cre­ation of a so-called ‘pro­vin­cial’ town, or an aus­tere ren­der­ing of the in­can­des­cent cas­tle.

The ef­fects are won­der­ful; all the more im­mer­sive in 3D: plates are whizzing, snow­balls are thrown and candles flicker.

Some per­for­mances work bet­ter than oth­ers.

Emma Wat­son’s good, but for me, just looks too young to play Belle.

The ma­tu­rity of Keira Knight­ley or Gemma Arter­ton would’ve been bet­ter.

Dan Stevens’ Beast is cov­ered un­der so much com­put­erised mo­tion­cap­ture, that his per­for­mance dis­ap­pears. Kevin Kline adds pathos, Luke Evans is ter­rific as a malev­o­lently vain Gas­ton, and the voice-work is par­tic­u­larly strong. Ian McKellen has fun as the cur­mud­geonly cyn­i­cal clock Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson’s ab­so­lutely per­fect as sweet Mrs Potts, but I’d have pre­ferred to see them in hu­man form for longer.

The ex­traor­di­nar­ily star-stud­ded cast, yearn­ing score and aes­thetic flour­ishes, make it en­dur­ingly mag­i­cal.

Emma Wat­son as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast

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