By Sundeep Jain
Twenty six years after the initial release of Disney’s classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, Disney is bringing back to life this romantic fantasy in a live-action re-telling of the animated classic. This remake will excite younger viewers and bring back a sense of nostalgia to older audiences. Directed by Bill Condon, this revival is as true as can be to the original with tunes as old as songs, vintage characters, and the ultimate story of love.
The movie begins with a prince (Dan Stevens) living in a lavish castle. Although the prince surrounded himself with the finest items and most beautiful people, he was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. During a party at the castle, an old haggard woman stumbled through the castle doors offering the prince a single rose and begging shelter from the cold. The prince mocked the woman’s appearance and gift, dismissing her. The woman warned the prince not to be deceived by appearances and turned in a stunning enchantress. The enchantress transformed the prince into hideous Beast and cursed the castle and everyone that lived in it. To lift this curse, the Beast must learn how to love and be loved by the time the last rose petal falls from the enchantress’s rose. The Beast isolates himself from the outside world until a beautiful villager, Belle (Emma Watson) is taken prisoner when trying to save her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), from the castle. Sentenced to life, Belle must spend her days in the Castle. Eventually, Belle and the Beast started seeing a romance that wasn’t there before. Is Belle the girl that can break the spell? Who would honestly fall in love with a hideous Beast?
Normally, Emma Watson is known for her co-starring role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” movies. Director Billy Condon’s gamble to cast Emma Watson as the lead paid off as she played an impressive Belle. Emma Watson embodied every aspect of Belle’s beautiful, independent, and intelligent personality in this film. Emma’s feminist ideals played a factor as Belle isn’t your typical Disney princess. Belle goes against the norms with a fearless attitude, but still shows a side of compassion.
This remake not only has the same storyline, but the same classic music as the original film from 1991. The score was composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from the Broadway Beauty and the Beast musical. Song such as Beauty and the Beast were performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend and Be Our Guest was performed by cast members Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Ian McKellen. It’s amazing to see these songs come to life before your eyes as the soundtrack to this movie truly brings this blockbuster to another level you can’t feel through animation.
The remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has a great cast, fantastic story, and stunning visuals that are key to a high budget, Hollywood blockbuster. The details of the dark and lifeless castle felt extremely realistic and plays into the somber mood of the characters residing in it. The computer animation of the Beast definitely lacked in this film. The animation of the Beast’s face was spectacular, but unfortunately when the Beast was shirtless, he looked more like a soft teddy bear and not a furious Beast. The live-action film of Beauty and the Beast is as good as the original. This classic plays on the heartstrings with a fantastic and nostalgic story of unconditional love with typical Disney humor that both parents and children will enjoy.