Gans' La Belle et La Bête is in theaters in France - and so far, it's doing very well. While there are bound to be some criticisms the overall response has been excellent, with many saying it's a tribute to French filmmaking. People seem to agree that the visuals are stunning throughout and it definitely has a fairy tale feel separate from Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête. I've yet to read much on the story execution though...
I'm using a lot of excerpts from a French review so you get a good overview but without spoilers (translated - not by me - so expect some rather flowery use of language). While you might assume the article was favorable, you have to admit, this headline is pretty impressive; perhaps even sensational:
! The writer recognized multiple homages to Miyazaki and Cocteau, the former regarding specific movies, the latter regarding filmic sensibilities!
OK, wait. You probably have no real idea why that's exciting, apart from being favorably compared to Miyazaki (and Cocteau) being an all-round excellent thing. Although the reviewer may be a Gans' fan and aware of his film goals, the fact is, to be able to point those out must be making the Director feel very good right about now. Let me quote Gans talking to Variety so you understand what I mean by 'film goals':
Gans’ film is more likely to suffer from direct comparisons (to Cocteau's Beauty & the Beast), though, simply because it’s French. Cocteau’s version of the tale isn’t just a Criterion-worthy classic and triumph of the film-maker’s art – it’s nothing less than a national monument, cobbled together on minimal resources while the country was still reeling from the bitter legacy of the Second World War and the Nazi occupation, a shining vision amidst the post-war gloom and deprivation.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that the further the new film strays from Cocteau’s scenario, the more fun it becomes, though the fun is not necessarily of the high-tone kind. This is fine; Gans is not known for art movies...
...there’s little point in setting out a blow-by-blow comparison to Cocteau’s film. The new version is a different beast entirely, so let us try to approach it on its own terms...I won't add any more because it's very specific regarding scenes and details. Although the writer says they're not spoilery, I would consider them to be partially so (aka, "yes, they are!"). If you are still interested to read it (note: there is a bulleted list at the end of likes and dislikes which might taint you in one direction or another, so consider yourself warned), you can read it HERE.
UPDATE 8pm, Thursday 2-13-14:
I found another French review on the opposite end of the scale - ie. thumbs down! It only gave the film one star (out of five) BUT it made multiple (mostly favorable) comparisons to Guillermo del Toro's Labyrinth, which the reviewer clearly considers a filmic masterpiece (though it said it lacked del Toro's mastery of story and ability to say something in film) and said it was undeniably beautiful throughout. Basically it came down to: stunning and interesting but without much soul; beautiful images and wonderful scenes but not much to say with regard to the complexities of the story and couple. So maybe, "ooh pretty", but unsatisfying and shallow?
Ack. I don't care. I admit it: the marketing has won me over (apart from the weirdly big-eyed puppy-pokemons, which I find off-putting). I still want to see this!
And now for the color scripts, which might also be considered partially spoilery, which is why they're after the jump... >>>>>
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Just beautiful work! (click to view large)
And no - STILL no news on a release date for English speaking countries anywhere. *double-headdesk*