Beauty and the Beast Live Action Review

By Allison Brown

As an avid Disney fan, I welcome new additions into the Disney family with open arms. This live action remake of the classic Beauty and the Beast film, which proves to be a wonderful rendition of the original, has several fans and movie enthusiasts alike on the edge of their seats. Between the musical performances, Emma Watson’s acting, and the computer animations that bring the Beast to life in a new way, this film will entertain people of all ages.

The live action movie attempts to show the character’s backstory. This addition explains why Belle left Paris and what happened to her mother. Viewers also discover that it was the Beast’s father, a cruel king, who taught Beast his selfish ways once the Beast’s mother died. This gives more humanity to the Beast, who too often can be portrayed as a creature with no heart. It is easy to relate to how the Beast turned the pain he felt into the heartless attention of his subjects. Alongside this, the human portrayal of Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts demonstrates the motives behind these supporting characters, who may have not received enough attention in previous showings.

I was weary that the iconic Be Our Guest number would not live up to the hype the original animation brought in. After all, in an interview Emma Watson explained the whole scene besides herself was computer animations. That means she had to react to the special effects without seeing them. If it went poorly, the classic Lumière inspired production number would seem pieced together rather than a seamless transition. After watching this scene, however, it was evident that the actors pulled it off. The astonishing special effects such as the singing plates, the choreographed dance and the boisterous singing had viewers tapping their feet.

The enchantress is a reoccurring character in the remake. The appearance of the old hag, who is the enchantress in disguise, appears before the Beast casting a spell over the castle and neighboring town, saves Belle’s father from dying alone in the desolate woods and is blamed for Gaston’s guilt of almost killing Belle’s father. For a character with few lines, it is easy to miss the paramount role the enchantress plays in the remake. She keeps the timeline on track, enabling the Beast an opportunity to redeem himself.

The enchantress’s curse is rewritten to not only change the castle’s inhabitants and servants into inanimate objects, but also to make them less human with time. If time runs out, their humanity will be stripped away completely as they turn into objects. Each character in the castle has a specific way of moving, and as time wears on, they lose their personalities. Bill Condon, the director, wanted to use this as a pivotal reminder of our own human frailty once we stop loving one another.

The film brought in $150 million during the opening weekend alone. This means it is already the quickest selling family film in history, outpacing previous record holders. Perhaps, the reason why this movie enthralls so many Disney fans, is the classic fairy tale story line of a heroine who stands up for what she believes in. Belle is a strong female role model for its viewers as she accepts the Beast for who the man he truly is, and she never loses faith in her father. Condon affirms this in an interview saying, “What has this story always been about for 300 years? It’s about looking closer, going deeper, and accepting people for who they really are.”

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