Entertainment / News

Live Action Beauty and the Beast: An “Enchanting” Version of a Disney Classic

There are high expectations when a classic is remade and even more so when an animated movie is recreated in live-action form. Disney’s recent remake of the beloved movie Beauty and the Beast, has been highly anticipated since its announcement and it is safe to say it did not disappoint.

Right as the movie opens, the first thing to strike the audience is the vibrant colors and beautiful scenery along with the fact that the same introductory music is used from the animated version. The familiarity of the music brings a nostalgic feel to a modern take of a fan favorite.

Arguably one of the most anticipated aspects of Disney’s 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast was the music. With a soundtrack as marking as the one from the 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast, there was a lot to be expected with this live-action version.

Emma Watson, most known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, was no singer before landing the role of Belle, and it was noticeable. Her voice was clear and tuned, but it is evident that she is no Broadway singer. Some have gone as far as saying that she sounded autotuned, but it is hard to say whether or not that is true. With no previous experience with singing and acting at the same time, Watson sometimes appeared lost. Perhaps because she is used to reacting to other actors’ cues, many times while singing by herself throughout the movie, it looked like she was unsure of what to do with her facial expressions. Still, for someone with no prior singing background, she managed to do the part justice.

Singing aside, those who are familiar with Watson’s work know she is very comfortable portraying a bookish girl with a thirst for adventure. She portrayed Belle with dignity and grace, and brought the 2-D character to life in a way that would make “Uncle Walt” proud.

A very distinct characteristic of the music of the live-action Beauty and the Beast is how “Broadway” it sounded – so much so that one might have to remember not to clap after every song. What added to the movie’s Broadway-esque nature was the songs added to this movie. In this rendition, Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline) and Beast (Dan Stevens) both had their own songs, and both were performed beautifully.

Luke Evans’ portrayal of Gaston, paired with Josh Gad’s LeFou, could be a match made in heaven. Although at first it may seem odd to hear the voice of Olaf the snowman fawning over one of Disney’s most beloved villains, the longer the movie goes on, the more it makes sense. An important difference to note was LeFou’s character development compared to the animated movie. Where he was once just Gaston’s crony who went along with every vile thing he said or did, in the live-action version he had more character and seemed to develop more of a conscience than his animated counterpart. Another important development for LeFou was Disney’s subtle depiction of him as a gay man: it was not only progressive but also revolutionary considering the scale of the company and the reach it has.

As for the beloved furniture, Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), and young Chip (Nathan Mack), although the actors were all remarkable in their portrayals of the funny sidekicks, their live-action depiction was a bit unsettling. The oddest of the bunch was Lumiere: it was very strange, after seeing him as an animated candlestick with a face for so long, now seeing him as a little gold man with candles on his head and hands – he even had legs. However, he was also the one who stood out the most as doing his animated counterpart justice with a wonderful version of the classic song “Be Our Guest” and an uncanny resemblance to Jerry Orbach’s interpretation of the character.

An element that strongly worked towards the movie’s likability is the way the movie mostly stayed true to Disney’s story, while also incorporating aspects from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s original fairy tale, such as the cute detail of Belle asking her father for a rose, which he picked from the Beast’s property, the reason Beast holds him captive.

In addition to the nostalgic and true-to-story details of this movie, it is also important to note that in scenes that show the Beast’s backstory, which in this movie was a ball, the costumes that the party-goers wore were historically accurate to Villeveuve’s original story, written in the 1700s. This version also gives the viewers more background on both Beast and Belle, giving the audience a glimpse at their childhoods and a chance to see what happened to their mothers.

With many new additions along with various twists and turns, Beauty and the Beast managed to beautifully revive a beloved classic Disney film. By showcasing the aspects of the movie that made it so popular while also giving fans, old and new, innovative and different features that helped to keep everyone entertained, this movie will enchant all who watch it.