“Beauty and the Beast” proves that it really is a tale as old as time


Photo Courtesy Disney

Belle (Emma Watson) and the beast (Dan Stevens) dance in the iconic ballroom scene of the live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

  On March 17, 2017 the new live action movie “Beauty and the Beast” was released in theaters. This movie was a remake of the animated 1991 version, and although there were small differences between the two, they closely resemble each other. “Beauty and the Beast” is a musical romance that is set during times when princes ruled the lands. In this film, a young heroine named Belle rescues her single father, Maurice, by being imprisoned by a Beast who lives in a lost castle in the woods. As the story develops, the Beast and Belle gain feelings for each other. After the Beast and his servants magically change back into humans when Belle and the Beast kiss, Belle realizes that the only way that the curse was broken was from true love’s first kiss.

  Emma Watson played Belle, the odd girl who craves to read and escape into her own world. Watson presented Belle very well and the audience could tell that she was deep into her character. She was passionate in her singing and one could tell that she was an outcast in her village. The Beast was portrayed outstandingly. Dan Stevens played the selfish prince who is cursed by a sorceress to live as the Beast until he learns to love and be loved. The CGI, computer generated imagery, for the Beast was very well done, it almost looked similar to the CGI used in Planet of the Apes. In both movies, the apes and Beast look very life-like and the CGI development crews for both movies did an outstanding job. The Beast in the live action movie was a tad different than the Beast in the animated movie. For example, the voice used was darker and deeper in the live action movie, which actually created a more suspenseful and dramatic tone in certain scenes.

  Within this movie, it feels like Belle and the Beast actually fall in love and the love isn’t forced like the 1991 version felt like it was. In the 1991 version, everything felt rushed and fast-paced for a relationship to develop. Unlike the animated version, the 2017 version of this movie developed Beast’s and Belle’s relationship through a longer time period and was portrayed in a more realistic sense. They had the common ground of talking about literature and academic themes. The Beast was actually intellectual and Belle liked intelligent men. Beast mentions within the movie that he had “an expensive education.”

  Gaston, the narcissistic antagonist who will do anything to get Belle to marry him, is well portrayed by Luke Evans. Just like the Beast, there was a big difference with Gaston in the 2017 movie compared to the 1991 animated version. In the 2017 version, Gaston is developed further into the movie as more villainous than the animated Gaston. It almost seemed like a darker version of Gaston was on the screen compared to the animated children’s version which was really well done.

  Now, the big talk of the movie is LeFou, the flamboyant sidekick of Gaston. In an interview, director Bill Condon explained the decision to make LeFou an openly gay character: “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.” This fact that Disney created an old character into a now openly gay character took many viewers by surprise. But does it really matter within the movie? He was definitely one of the funniest and most comical characters within the movie. There were only two scenes within the whole movie with Lefou that could have been taken as a gay moment. Although there has been quite a bit of discomfort about this newly developed character, the audience should just get used to the fact that Disney is still trying to adjust to the norms of society. For example, Disney introduced the first African-American princess in “The Princess and the Frog” (2009).

  Not only was LaFou a great comic relief, but so were the other actors who played the servants of the Beast. They always added a pinch of pizzazz to whatever they did. “Be Our Guest” was a huge and famously known song. This was a spectacular scene that added the Disney magic that all adults and children love in their movies. It involved the servants within the house preparing and wooing Belle to have her stay. Within the scene the audience would see fresh and steamy food being served by the singing inanimate servants. The performance by them involved flying plates, dancing dust brushes, and fireworks creating a multitude of glowing colors popping throughout the dining room.

  Although the animated 1991 version of “Beauty and the Beast” will always be loved by children and adults, the new 2017 live action movie nailed every aspect of this storyline and actually made it more of a meaningful plot. The love presented between the Beast and Belle was and touched heartstrings while poking at the funny bone at the same time.