There is always a lot of controversy surrounding Disney’s live action films. For the most part, it seems like people either love them or hate them. For me personally, I absolutely loved the remakes of Cinderella and The Jungle Book (although, if I’m being completely honest, I fell asleep during Pete’s Dragon). With that being said, after reading reviews for Beauty and the Beast, I was actually nervous to go see the movie! People seemed to be really disappointed with the film, especially with the singing.
That just goes to show that everybody needs to have their own experiences when it comes to watching movies!
The most important thing that I can say about the film is that it made me love the story of Beauty and the Beast even more. While the original is a fantastic film, it has never been one of my favorites in terms of Disney princess movies. This remake went much deeper into the story, the characters, and the time period overall to add more depth while also making it feel like more than just a recreation of the original. It felt like an entirely new story. I appreciated everything that was added to the new Beauty and the Beast. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!
One of the best things that the new movie does is create backstories for Belle and Maurice, the Beast, and Gaston. It turns out that Gaston actually fought in the war (not that that makes him a better person than he was in the original, but it does serve for some added information and humor). The Beast and Belle have both lost their mothers. While this event hardens the Beast and causes him to adopt his cruel father’s personality, it causes Belle to become a kind and fearless woman, just like Maurice claims that her mother was when she was alive. These back stories aren’t even touched on in the original film, but the addition was one of my favorite parts of this new take on Beauty and the Beast. The added information allows you to finish the movie with more understanding of the characters and how Belle and the Beast were able to connect in the way that they did. While it was pretty common to leave the situation of the mother unexplained when it comes to older Disney princesses (such as Ariel, who eventually got another film to explain this backstory, Cinderella, Snow White, and Jasmine). A lot of companies have attempted to create spin-offs of these films in order to create their own version of these backstories, such as Once Upon A Time, but I think that Disney is smart to take this job into their own hands. Did I mention that these backstories allow us to hear an original song from Belle, to travel to Paris, and to figure out why Beast’s servants care so much for him? Overall, you get a in depth look at the characters and a bunch of bonus scenes that never occur in the original film because of these backstories.
I mentioned that Belle lost her mother, and in this remake, it is explained that Belle and her father had to leave their home in Paris because her mother had contracted the Black Plague, and Maurice and Belle could not risk contracting it too. This was not the only part that made this remake a much darker film than the original! I mentioned in my Coffee Chat about movie theaters that there were a lot more adults attending the movie than children, which is pretty odd for a Disney movie; however, when the film was over, it seemed to me like Disney definitely tried to aim this new Beauty and the Beast remake more towards teens and adults rather than little kids. The film itself was darker than the original in terms of lighting and plot, and that’s even including the insane asylum dude that appears in the animated version. Factor in death by Bubonic Plague, Gaston violently forcing Maurice and Belle into an insane asylum (which is never actually shown and almost the same thing happens in the animated film, and the fact that Gaston has to shoot the Beast three times before he is satisfied, and I conclude that this movie is pretty scary for little kids! I don’t have any complaints about this, but if any of you have little kids, I want to prepare you.
From what I read, a lot of people were unhappy with the singing in this film. I absolutely cannot imagine why. To be fair, I know nothing technical about singing or anything like that, but I was blown away by most of the songs in the film! At first, when Emma Watson begins singing her first song as Belle, it is a little unnerving, because as a fan of the original, I expected Paige O’Hara’s voice to come belting out. That actually happened when most of the characters sang their first songs, because you’re expecting it to sound like the animated version rather than how it actually sounds. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. I think that’s why most people were so negative about the singing in this film! Not all of it sounded like the original, and that’s okay! It all adds to the charm of this new Beauty and the Beast remake. It makes it unique. After listening to Luke Evans sing as Gaston, I don’t see how anybody could be upset about the music in the movie. With the exception of Be Our Guest, which at times when too crazy with the CGI for me, the songs were portrayed beautifully. Also, the Beast gets his own song in this film, and it is amazing. Seriously. “Evermore” was the best song of the entire movie and it isn’t even a piece of music from the original film. You’ll cry. Tears will fall. Accept it.
Another thing that I think the remake does really well is develop the relationship between the Beast and Belle. I already mentioned the backstory piece, but from the very beginning of the film, viewers have a better look into the personalities of both characters and why it makes sense that they fall in love. This is one of the number one complaints that people have with the original Disney princess movies (“oh they meet a guy and fall in love just like that!”; “He kissed her while she was sleeping! That’s totally gross and uncalled for! All because she’s pretty!”; “They don’t even know each other and they’re getting married? What is this teaching our young daughters?” They’re fairy tales people.That’s how they work. But I digress). From the start of the first scene, viewers learn that not only does Belle able to read, which is odd for woman during the time period, especially in such a small town, but she is also an inventor like her father, and even helps him to complete a clock and to create her own “washing machine” to make completing the laundry easier. We also see a lot more of her personality when she stands up to the Beast and speaks her mind, and we get a glimpse of her compassion as well. The audience physically sees her stop and consider escaping after the Beast has saved her from the wolves before she returns to help him, and she even asks Mrs. Potts what she can do to help save them from their terrible curse. With the Beast, there is a lot more dialogue and reactions that portray the Beast as a teenage boy, which is something that is lacking in the original film. In this version, it is easy to see that the Beast is a young prince who still has many things in common with Belle, and this connection between the two is really where their relationship grows. So for all you grumpy mothers that are worried about your young daughters getting married after their first date, no worries. Like the remake of Cinderella, this version does a wonderful job of forming and developing a real relationship between the two characters. This also makes for an even better story overall.
While it’s impossible to cover all of the new material in this new Beauty and the Beast film, I hope I gave you an idea of what you can expect. I don’t have anything negative to say about these changes! Once again, I encourage everyone to go see it for themselves and form their own opinions. Let me know what you think! As for me, in terms of Disney live action remakes, Beauty and the Beast is now at the top of my list because it felt like I was watching an entirely new story. I can’t wait until I get to watch it again. Until then…
Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!