“Think Of The One Thing That You’ve Always Wanted. See It In Your Mind’s Eye And Feel It In Your Heart…”
As per the norm of a well-spent 1990’s childhood, Disney movies were indeed the go-to method of escapism for a younger version of myself in which films like The Lion King and Fantasia were at the forefront of what was all and sacred in the world at that specific moment in time, and whilst the original 1991 animated Disney classic adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s famous fairy tale wasn’t exactly the top of my list of favourite animations as a young child, Beauty and the Beast has always been arguably one of the most iconic Disney movies to have ever been released, due mainly to the even more iconic soundtrack which even to this day is immediately quotable and enviously recognisable. Following on from the one-two success of both 2015’s Cinderella and Jon Favreau’s adaptation of The Jungle Book, this year’s Disney remake is indeed the famous tale of beauty and beast, this time portrayed by Emma Watson and Legion’s Dan Stevens respectively whilst being helmed by director Bill Condon whose previous directorial credits include the good, (Mr. Holmes) the bad, (Candyman 2) and the ugly (Twilight: Breaking Dawn), and whilst this latest version of the classic tale shines brightly in a wide range of different areas, the lack of originality and complete absence of threat reduce it to a movie which is solid but not exactly spectacular.
Whilst last year’s The Jungle Book was a movie which although was aware of the classic songs which encompassed the original Disney classic animation, it too was a film which instead of just rehashing them into a live-action scenario, developed and alternated them enough to both seem wholly organic yet still held a warm sense of appeal for those who loved the original so dearly. With Beauty and the Beast however, Condon’s decision to simply cordon the classic songs into his own adaptation does ultimately seem a slight cop out alongside a narrative which note-for-note follows the blueprint of the 1991 animation without ever having the nerve to swerve off-course and offer something utterly different. In the leading role of Belle, Emma Watson does ultimately seem the correct choice for the part, with her innocent and natural beaming sense of joy the epitome of a Disney princess’s genetic makeup yet the real fun of the movie is to be had with Luke Evan’s Gaston, the egotistic and arrogant killer who makes it his life’s duty to take Belle’s hand in marriage. Whilst the cast is impressive and the effects are magical in places, this adaptation of the famous tale is indeed beaming with beauty but ultimately lacking in substantial bite.
Overall Score: 6/10
The world-renowned image of one Sherlock Holmes is now hotly, and justly, associated with Mr. Cumberbatch who has taken the popularity of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective to obscene levels of popularity in the 21st century. It is only apt therefore for an actor of status such as Sir Ian McKellen to add a further level of depth to an already well-established character on the big screen, with Mr. Holmes delving into the later life of the great detective, who aside from struggling from the normal growing pains of memory-loss and tiresome limbs, struggles too from the pain of a long forgotten case whilst simultaneously finding redemption in the form of young apprentice, Roger, played by newcomer Milo Parker. If the BBC production of Sherlock can be aligned with traits of being both fast-paced and highly engaging, then Mr Holmes can be seen as a much more mellow and somber affair with the primary action taking place in jump cuts to actions that have previously occurred. The fact that young Roger himself continually asks Sherlock to try and recollect such previous encounters, thus echoing my own feelings, suggests that the filmmakers are well aware of the need to hurry up and get to the highly engaging flashbacks which deeply overshadow the less than captivating moments in which we see Sherlock attend to his apiary.
Based upon “A Slight Trick of the Mind” by Mitch Cullin, Mr Holmes does feature a stunning lead performance from one of cinema’s most beloved actors in the form of Sir Ian McKellen, who embraces the chance two-fold to portray the great detective himself, whilst young Milo Parker and Laura Linney provide solid enough support as mother and child double act. Although the film flew by and had just enough entertainment to keep me engaged throughout, fans of the Cumberbatch era Sherlock may be unhappy with the lack of overall Sherlockian mystery that Mr. Holmes presents, yet the film does not shy away from the fact that instead of just another big-screen adaptation of such, Mr. Holmes intends to show an older and more fragile side to the detective that we are used to and for that, I applaud it.