As a kid, I fell in love with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. As an adult, I knew the entire script of the animated film by heart. So, you can imagine the pure joy I felt when I heard about the live-action re-make.
I was ecstatic. I bought my ticket a month before the release. It was the perfect seat; right in the middle of the third row from the top. Everything about it was magical.
Then the teaser trailer was released and I heard the soundtrack of my childhood. The chilling tune of Beauty and the Beast cut right through me. I had goosebumps everywhere. My eyes teared up as I saw the detail of the castle—I was ready.
The day finally came. I gracefully took my seat in the theatre, waiting for the movie to begin. The opening credits rolled, the enchantress crashed Beast’s party, and as she was about to curse him, the movie stopped.
A Cineplex worker walked in, stood in front of the screen and said, “Hey guys! I have a manager upstairs taking care of a technical issue. As you saw, the movie was shaking so we’re trying to get that fixed.”
So we waited. I still had hope.
The movie started again, the iconic Disney castle appeared, and it was re-winded.
One more shot?
The intro of the movie started … and then, again, it stopped.
Cineplex dream-crusher guy walked out once more and said the words I never wanted to hear, “Unfortunately, the show is cancelled for tonight.”
My heart sank. We all got courtesy tickets, but it didn’t help. I went home feeling like a child who just lost her favourite toy, and then had all her dreams crushed by a horrible bully.
It all worked out in the end, though. I went to a VIP screening of the movie, which I didn’t truly trust until Belle began singing “Little Town.” That’s when I knew it was real.
If you’re a die-hard fan like myself, then you will enjoy every last bit of this movie.
It felt like I was watching the animated version, but with a true understanding of who each character is and why they are the way they are. The live-action version really does bring the characters to life by making the 2D characters 3D (through 3D glasses and also a thing called character development … but who cares about that when the Beast throws a snowball at you and you jump out of your seat, am I right?). The scenery was also enchanting. There’s no other way to describe it, as there was so much detail to admire.
Each character was given a backstory that gave them substance. Nothing that was added to the remake took away from the original tale. It was endearing to watch the Beast truly fall in love with Belle. His song “Evermore” is especially revealing, as it shows the Beast’s struggle, his love, and the pain that it all comes with. A true work of art.
Throughout the film, Belle and the Beast grow together through the wonder of storybooks. It reminded me of Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, where Belle sings, “We will slay the dragons that still follow him around, and he’ll smile, yes, he’ll smile as his dreams leave the ground” in the song “Stories.” This line is portrayed in the movie (spoiler alert!) with the Beast smiling at the beauty of a frozen lake as Belle reads to him.
The two find solace within each other. They bond over their differences and relate through the feeling of being an outcast. One line (another spoiler alert!) that really spoke to me is Beast saying to Belle, “What do you say we run away?” That’s when he gives her something that no one else could as they run away together through the wonders of an enchanted book.
Emma Watson was truly stunning as Belle. She portrayed Belle’s strength, determination, intelligence, and kind heart perfectly. And the yellow dress? It was gorgeous. It moved effortlessly as Belle and the Beast glided across the dance floor with Mrs. Potts singing “Tale as old as Time.”
The animation is also beautiful. There is a bit of a disconnect between the animations and Emma Watson’s reactions, but we have to give her credit because she was basically reacting to nothing.
However, one thing I was disappointed about is the very obvious auto-tune on the actor’s singing voices—especially Emma Watson’s—in every single song they sang. Disney would have been better off leaving Watson’s voice the way it is.
When I watched the TV Spots and trailers, I was worried Ewan McGregor would ruin Lumiere’s character for me with the horrible French accent he had, which he explained on The Graham Norton Show. Although there were some cringe-worthy moments, the important song that he sings, “Be Our Guest,” is actually pretty good. It could be because by the time it comes, you’ve already gotten used to the accent.
Now, let’s talk about Gaston and Lefou. Luke Evans was the perfect Gaston, to the point where you’d really believe Luke is a real-life Gaston. As Belle would say, “He’s handsome alright, and rude, and conceited.” A true villain. Disney has always been great at creating villains.
One of my favourite songs was, obviously, Gaston. I loved it in the animated film and didn’t think it could get any better, but the live-action version far exceeded my expectations. All I wanted to do was jump up and sing and dance with the characters.
Lefou was given quite the surprising twist: Lefou is Disney’s first gay character. This twist pushed the release date in Malaysia, as homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. It even warranted an age-restriction in Russia. Disney has refused to remove the scene for viewing in these countries.
In relation to this, the hard questions we have to ask are: Is Disney progressing? Is any representation good representation? How has Disney changed over the years, and how has it incorporated races in its films? Watch out for a critical analysis of the movie coming soon, which delves deeper into these questions.
For now, let’s just fangirl together and allow the child in us to enjoy the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast.
Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.