This week Disney’s live-action remake of the classic 1991 animated musical, Beauty and the Beast, hit the big screens with much success. Directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, this movie closely mimics the classic while still bringing in fresh ideas and themes in relation to today’s world.
The 1991 version was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in its respective year. The classic was also the first animated film to earn more than $100 million in the box office. Since its release in 1991 Beauty and the Beast has been known as one of Disney’s most enchanting movies and is a favorite throughout generations. With all the original movie’s fame and success, it was super important that this remake was done correctly and the standards were held very high.
While it seems that this remake was made for older viewers than the classic, it will still appeal to very young viewers, especially those familiar with the classic, however, there are some violent sequences that can be very intense and make you want to jump out of your seat. These moments include snarling wolves and guns that leave characters bloodied, injured, and even dead. While the classic contains these moments as well, the live-action take on this tale brings those events to life and can be scarring for young viewers.
For those who may not know, this tale follows a young, smart, book-loving woman named Belle who lives in a small French village near a castle that has been long forgotten. In that castle lives a prince, who had been turned into a beast due to his selfishness and inability to show love and compassion, and his servants, who have been turned into various household objects. The enchantress who cursed the castle leaves the beast with a single rose, and for the curse to be broken he must learn how to love and earn love in return before the last petal of that rose falls. Belle finds herself at the castle in hopes to rescue her father who had gone missing, however for him to be released she must take his place. Belle finds herself trapped in the castle with the beast while the servants hope she is the one who can break the curse so that they can be human again.
All of the actors and actress’ played their characters perfectly and had me falling more and more in love with them as the movie progressed. While the villains Gaston, played by Luke Evans, and Lefou, played by Josh Gad, seemed more sinister in this version, they still captured your heart and left you flooded with emotion in their musical number “Gaston.” Another dynamic due you will be obsessed with is Lumière, played by Ewan McGregor, and Cogsworth, played by Ian McKellen. Lumière and Cogsworth will leave you laughing with their friendly bickering that really sets the tone in each scene.
Not only did this remake hold true to the original storyline and characters, but the soundtrack pretty much stayed the same as well – with the exception of a few additions. The music is what really makes the movie fantastic. Emma Watson did all of the dancing and singing for her character, Belle, and she did it perfectly. All of the songs, but especially the ones sung by Watson, are brought back to life with so much raw emotion. The songs sound so natural that you feel as if the characters are singing right in front of you.
While this remake was live-action, there was still the challenge of creating the beast and the cursed servants seem as life-like as possible. The CGI was pretty noticeable however, when watching the movie your mind is so engulfed in the story, the songs, and the magic of Disney that you don’t even care. Also, take into consideration that this was a live-action remake of a cartoon and so this challenge was to be expected.
Overall this take on the “tale as old as time” was a huge success. From the moment the movie started I couldn’t look away and the magic took me back to my childhood and left me with a huge smile throughout the entire movie. Upon first glance this movie may seem like the average fairytale romance, but message is clear and even deeper than the classic. The message in this remake is not only about the importance of selflessness and compassion, but also the importance of female education and the ability of books to empower lives. Emma Watson really helped develop and enhance this message so that it would come across better than it did in the original version.
In the end, this movie was enchanting, exciting, and witty. Disney took their classic and brought it back to life in this live-action remake. This movie should not be missed, especially if you grew up watching Disney like I did. You will be taken back to your childhood and be able to feel the magic in this tale as old as time once again.