Beauty and the Beast

A tale as old as time has made its way back to the big screens, as part of Disney’s streak of live action remakes. “Beauty and the Beast” is the latest one to make its debut. For anyone who loved the original animated version, which came out in 1991, you may have been skeptical when first hearing the news of the live action adaptation. Director Bill Condon does an excellent job of playing homage to the original, but also adding differences to the story we know and love.

        From a talking candelabra to a singing wardrobe, the cast of Beauty and the Beast does not disappoint. Emma Watson takes on the lead role as the kind, independent, book-loving Belle who ends up becoming a prisoner in the castle with the hot tempered cursed Beast, played by Dan Stevens. Luke Evans and Josh Gad take on the duo of self-centered Gaston and his right hand man LeFou. Emma Thompson (Mrs. Pots), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), and Ewan McGregor (Lumiere) are just a few of the other actors who bring the characters we fell in love with years ago to life.

The songs in the movie are just as magically as you remember them. All the famous classics such as “Be Our Guest,” “Gaston,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Belle” are featured in the film. Three new additional songs were added to the film by Alan Menken, who wrote four of the original movie’s songs with Howard Ashman, the new songs include: “For Evermore,” sung by Dan Stevens’ Beast, “Days in the Sun,” and “Our Song Lives On,” which are sung in different instances throughout the film by both Belle and her father. The enchanting “Be Our Guest,” musical sequence took a year and a half to put together and is almost identical to the original scene.  

A difference between the live action movie and the animated original is the background of Belle and Beast's parents. In the animated version there is no mention of Belle’s mother. We are left to make assumptions as to what happened or where Belle's mother might be. The new live action tale answers that question for the audience. The backstory of Belle’s mother is attention grabbing in the sense that you now understand why her and her father are so close. You will get to see their relationship in a different sense than just her father being known as “crazy old Maurice.” Belle's nose isn’t just stuck in a book this time around, we actually get to see another connection to her father as she puts some of her engineering skills in use. While the Beast’s parents are never mentioned in the original, this time around we also receive a backstory on them and why the Beast's heart ended up being so cold.

Watson wanted to make sure that audience members got to know Belle, the backstory of who is she and why Belle is the way she is. Watson also wanted to make sure that the Princess Belle that she portrays on screen, is not a princess who just sits and waits for a man to sweep her off her feet -- the type of princess she wanted to portray is more practical. With being a more practical princess Watson did not want Belle to wear a corset. From riding horses to helping her father with machinery, a corset did not seem right for this new version of Belle.

With making live action versions of these famous classics there is a struggle of keeping the original story, but also making sure that it is its own movie. While the animated version of “Beauty and the Beast” grabbed our hearts, the live action version could turn into a Disney classic of its own.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.

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