Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” directed by Bill Condon, has shattered box office records upon its release and has received national acclaim for its cause of nostalgia. Actress, Emma Watson, who plays Belle, is once again portrayed in a castle which is reminiscent to her Harry Potter years. The film follows Belle, who is considered the most beautiful amongst the French village. Despite this, she longs for a life that is different from the traditional life that is expected in a small community. Soon enough, Belle finds herself in an unusual situation when her father is captured prisoner by a Beast (Dan Stevens) in a castle that is filled with objects that come to life, and she finds herself forced to give up her freedom in exchange for her father’s.
Unexpectedly, Condon drifts the movie apart from the original beginning of the 1991 animated version by implementing a ballroom musical scene, which is a fill-in to the backstory of the Beast, instead of the classical narration through a stained glass window. Throughout the movie, it is not uncommon to see additional scenes that are not apart of the original story, with a majority of them being musical numbers that are not essential to the plot and seemed to only drag the movie on. With that said, the musical scenes are just as heartfelt and passionate as the ones in the original animation, such as the solo musical number, “For Evermore” performed by the Beast as he climbs across the turret of the gloomy castle and realizes his love for Belle. Other notable scenes include the Lumiere performance, “Be Our Guest,” which is filled with colorful and well coordinated imagery that leaves the viewers pleased with its aesthetic pictorial. Moreover, the iconic ballroom dancing scene, “Beauty and the Beast,” is filled with elegant and magical lighting and stays true to the original by incorporating the singing of Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson).
Without a doubt, this movie is not a typical Disney adaptation. This can be seen through their extreme diversity of characters and allusion to homosexuality. Throughout the movie, there are many characters of color that were not just minor, such as Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who add a handful of humor to their scenes. Most notably is the “Gaston” musical scene by LeFou (Josh Gad), in which he subtly reveals his romantic interest for Gaston (Luke Evans), and the ending ballroom scene of the movie where he becomes fond of a common villager. Although this sparked controversy, there is no doubt that Disney aimed to portray their characters in a more natural light that would ultimately allow the audience to experience a feel of what they would actually be like, rather than the cut and dry portrayal within the original animation. Given the use of mythical scenes and characters, the movie most definitely relied on Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). Although the use of CGI was essential in bringing the movie to life, it left a couple of the enchanted characters seeming unemotional and detached.
Overall, “Beauty and the Beast” remains true to the original animation and its plot, despite its additional scenes. No matter the modern twists, the love story prevails throughout the movie and ultimately leaves the audience feeling overwhelmed with joy.
Staff Writer Jazlyn Velasco