Let’s get to the chase. Does Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast live up to the original animated material? In a way, yes.
Now don’t get me wrong or be discouraged. Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast is not filled with flaws. In fact, the remake is good and it stayed faithful to the tale. It’s the changes and additional subplots that made me rethink and want to rewatch the original as well as the remastered version.
Beauty and the Beast
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.
The Changes + Subplots
Though there are some iconic scenes I wish had stayed, the slight changes and additional plots in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast are understandable. The film did not only add depth to our beloved characters but also offered something new for this generation such as:
From a genius inventor, our heroine’s eccentric and overprotective father played by Kevin Kline is now a gifted artist and tinkerer. There’s nothing wrong with his new occupation; however, the reason he was imprisoned by the beast is for a different reason.
In the 1991 version, we saw that Maurice only sought for shelter from the storm. I liked that reason better because it led to a warm interaction with the enchanted staff. That scene was so iconic and fun. But I do understand the other half of that scene in the live-action version where Maurice got scared and run off after realizing the castle is alive.
That is a normal reaction. What I do not understand is why steal a rose. Maurice is a good man and I believe he wouldn’t steal from someone else’s garden. *Or, is Disney hinting on a Rapunzel live-action? Rampion, anyone?
Our lovely heroine is not only a bookworm but also an inventor. These traits work well because the Belle we know is filled with imagination. People who are creative have the power to create something unique.
Besides this slight change in character, the audience was also introduced to the Paris of Belle’s childhood or shall we say the truth about Belle’s mother. Though a bit blue, I was elated and thankful for this short scene. This did not only give Maurice and Belle a little more depth but Belle and the prince have something more in common.
The prince is still the same spoiled, selfish and unkind person. But he is less hot-tempered and more comical in the live action. I don’t mind this because if you combine the 1991 character with the power of CGI, this might become a different Beauty and the Beast remake. So all is good with the new Beast.
Moreover, a greater revelation about the prince was included in the film. Mrs. Potts shared with Belle that their Master is not terrible as he appears. When his mother died, his cruel father raised him and twisted him up to be like him. It’s a simple revelation but a great one that helps tie up everything.
The Enchanted Staff
I must say that Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts are the ones that gave me the nostalgic feeling. Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson really stood out. Their Be Our Guest scene is also amazing even with the Aladdin Easter eggs.
Also, I am glad they were given more importance in this version. When I was younger I always questioned why curse the rest? They seem like good people and they truly love the prince. My question was answered when Mrs. Potts told Belle that when the king raised the prince to be like him, they did nothing. Therefore, they too, were cursed by the mystical Enchantress.
No one’s slick as Gaston. No one’s quick as Gaston. But no one is as narcissistic, self-centered, scary and rude than the upgraded one. All thanks to Luke Evans. If you noticed, there were new “Gaston scenes” that proves he is indeed the best and the worst villain.
The Enchantress and The Enchanted Rose
The Enchantress is more than a mystical being. She is also Agathe, the impoverished resident of Villeneuve. Though the villagers didn’t give her a second glance, she was always present on the right moment. Moreover, the Enchanted Rose she gave the prince also did a lot more. Every time a petal falls, the castle would shake and the enchanted staff would slowly feel like a real object.
Speaking of which, they did a great job in this aspect. When the last petal fell, the enchanted staff started to feel the weight. Still, they did their best to move and be with the one’s they love so that they could say their goodbyes. For me, that is the best followed by the iconic ballroom scene as second best.
There may be a number of something there that wasn’t there before but the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic is a must-see. Catch Beauty and the Beast in theatres. Happy viewing! #BeOurGuest #taleasoldastime