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Sheer enchantment!

I’M having a ball telling everyone with ears near enough me to listen, “Watch Beauty and the Beast and be enchanted!”

I’m having a ball reliving my childhood that was spent reading and very often half-believing in fairy-tales. Now that I’ve learned that Beast is played by that most intelligent and sensitive romantic hero of Downton Abbey (2012), “the mesmerizingly charismatic” Dan Stevens in the role of Matthew Crawley, I’ll willingly watch BATB a second time, this time as an adult who enjoys literature (much of it sprung from mythology, or folk tales) and literature on the screen (movies, in short). When all is said and done, this movie lives up to its billing as a beguiling fantasy musical that combines the romantic sweep of music with the flesh-pinching flight of escapist imagination. Have a ball, children, grandchildren, and grandparents homesick for their childhoods!

Beauty and the Beast is a box-office ballbreaker in Metro Manila, and that is not a surprise. What I could not understand was why no one else was laughing at the witty one-liners thrown by Candelabra (voiced by Ewan McGregor) and Clock (voiced by Ian McKellen), and why at movie’s end my hands were the only ones clapping inside the theater!

Our youngsters, so jaded so soon?

So what if they’re not familiar with the language of moviemaking? There’s more than enough to win them over – sets, costumes, the singing and dancing, the editing and pacing, the sense-surround suspension of disbelief, the crisp dialogue and humor between the lines, the seamless mix of live action and animation, wow! A cast of the most brilliant character actors is the icing on the cake, never mind that the kids don’t know how to spell the names of Emma Thompson, McGregor, McKellen, Stanley Tucci, though they’ll surely recognize a more grown-up Emma Watson from her Harry Potter movies, now that she’s old enough to fall in love with a hairy, furry, monstrous beast.

As enchanting as it can get, Beauty and the Beast is innocent enough for children, even if it’s a love story brewed with the fizz and flash of carnival and circus, Broadway, and a costume ball all in one. Have a ball, everyone!
(Jullie Y. Daza)