By: Melissa Boneta
With the lovable return of classic characters, a gripping backstory and a modern feel to its original feminist protagonist, the live-action remake of the 1991 classic “Beauty and the Beast” leaves the audience understanding why this is truly a tale as old as time.
Emma Watson captures the essence of Belle: compassion, intelligence and bravery. Dan Stevens captures a more well-read and less aggressive Beast with his wittiness, hesitation and the eventual discovery of a pure heart. Both actors, as well the rest of the cast, were fit for their roles and enhanced the original characters. LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, was not as witty in the original movie as he was in this remake. Maurice was less clumsy and quirky, but was more wistful and wise as a father figure.
The actors’ performances impacted the film’s entirety by revamping the character’s personalities. Recognizing that the acting won’t be the same as the 1991 version is the first step in accepting the “out with the old and in with the new” feel. I am a sap for the original and nothing will replace it, but there is nothing wrong with a little experimentation in character development and this film was a successful experiment.
The film’s plot follows the same journey that Belle undertakes in the animated film. Belle embarks on a journey to save her father from the Beast, but learns that beauty is more than meets the eye. The remake’s message rings true to the classics’ while also providing backstory for some of the characters. The audience finds out what happened to Belle’s mother and explains why her father wants to keep her from finding adventure in the great wide somewhere.
As a diehard “Beauty and the Beast” fan, it was bittersweet watching this movie and knowing it was not going to be exactly how I wanted it to be. The film exceeded my expectations when it came to its accuracy. The dialogue, the outfits, the music, the visual effects: all of these aspects came to life in the movie. The remaking of the original music is also a revival of sorts, taking the kids who fell in love with the original soundtrack back in time while also remaining connected to modern time.
Overall, the film took me by surprise with the additional backstories and continued to astound me through its character and musical score reprisals. I have come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever replace the original and have found the beauty in this timeless tale retold.