Review - Film - Nice girl, shame about the bloke

21st January 2011 at 00:00

Beauty and the beast

Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Starring: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson

Out now on DVD and Blu-ray

Certificate: U

Rating: 35

This follows the journey of the Prince as he goes from a conceited and arrogant unkind character to a caring being who mends his bad ways.

At the start we find him as the beast he is on the inside. However, a number of coincidences bring beautiful bookworm Belle towards the enchanted castle. As time passes, her intelligence and wit start to melt the Beast's frozen heart and they are drawn to each other. But will love prevail or will time run out?

Disney has captured human expressions and feelings perfectly in each character. The transformed cook, Mrs Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth and Chip the teacup all bring humour to this well-loved childhood tale.

Paige O'Hara has a lovely voice that fits the part of Belle very well and she adeptly sings the songs Something There and Belle.

The original tale from 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve is very different from the stylised version of today. La Belle et la Bete has been changed and adapted for years until it became the well-known story of today. This version was released in 1991 by Disney.

Overall I think Beauty and the Beast is a fun film with a good storyline and songs that can become annoyingly catchy. There are also many little bites of adult humour. However, I don't think the extended scenes add anything to it. But despite this it is still a film to be ranked among the other Disney princess stories. I recommend it for under-10s and those who wish to revisit the films they grew up with.

Emma Lewis, 14, Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Rating: 45

This traditional love story was the first animation to receive a "Best Picture" Oscar nomination and this is a reflection of the beautifully drawn French setting and characters.

The attention to detail is superb and you can't help reacting to the hateful larger-than-life character of Gaston and the sweet, naive daughter of a hapless inventor that is Belle. From the opening scene, the audience is immersed in the saccharin world of Disney as the narrator's (David Ogden Stiers) voiceover sets up the traditional conventions of fairytale.

We are told that the Beast must find true love before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls or he will remain trapped under a spell forever and we are swept into a world where high emotions are expressed through catchy tunes and inanimate objects come to life.

The relentless enthusiasm of the singing is hard to stomach, but we must remember that we are not the target audience. And the fact that Gaston's (Richard White) superficiality and arrogance are not appealing to Belle is a positive message for our children that should be encouraged.

For this, I forgive the soundtrack and I confess to being delighted by the visual humour that Lumiere and Cogsworth bring to the film. The quality of the animation is first class and the contrast of the threatening beast that the Prince has become with the cute animated household objects is enough to keep any audience enthralled.

Claire Petty, Filmclub leader, Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after school clubs, where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister



Director: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger

Starring: Dan Kearney, Lamonta Caldwell, Kevin Rice

Out now on DVD

Certificate: 15

Rating: 55

Set in the most deadly valley in Afghanistan, Restrepo is a documentary following the lives of an American platoon on their arduous journey as they attempt to remove the Taliban.

As the troops enter the valley, they build their outpost (named Restrepo after their fallen comrade) and begin on their aim of pacifying the region. Restrepo shows the massive task that soldiers face in Afghanistan. Their job here involves fighting the Taliban (at the cost of lives) and continuing on an endless and seemingly unwinnable fight to recruit the locals on to their side.

Restrepo is directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, who followed the soldiers wherever they went. Their handheld camera technique makes it seem as if you are right there in the action, especially in their assault on one of the mountain villages.

The camera shows you the soldiers' faces as one of them is fatally wounded: the tears, cries and pain. Interviews with the soldiers are shocking: seeing battle-hardened soldiers break down at the loss of a comrade is particularly saddening.

Overall, Restrepo is a heart-stopping documentary. By showing the platoon's daily life and perilous missions, it provides an insight into their role in these danger-filled regions. Once you have watched this film, you will find it very hard to criticise these soldiers.

Kulvir Channa, 15, Ilford County High School, Essex


Director: Robert Wiene

Starring: Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss

Out now on DVD

Certificate: U

Rating: 45

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is an old film from 1920. It is very confusing, but once you get past the silentness it has a great storyline.

It changed the world of film because it was the first movie with a twist at the end. If this movie had not been made the world of film might have been totally different.

Francis suspects that a man is Dr Caligari, who was a mass murderer from the 1880s. He tries to prove that this man is a killer but other people think not. I think everyone who loves movies should watch this because it changed the world forever.

Luke Welsh, 11, Sandilands Primary School, Wythenshawe, Manchester.

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