More Beauty than Beast

The latest in a string of live-action remakes, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is visually stunning.

The latest in a string of live-action remakes, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is visually stunning.

Katarina Harrison, Staff Reporter

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Disney didn’t invent the story of a beautiful girl falling in love with a monstrous beast, but they certainly perfected it. On March 16, Disney released a live action edition of their 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast that was full of both classic moments and unique spins on the classic story. By mixing stunning graphics with a tale as old as time, Disney has created a familiar film that rivals it’s predecessor in quality.

The graphics of the film were astounding from the moment the film began. By melding together the natural beauty of the french countryside with top quality CGI, Disney created the perfect backdrop for it’s latest live-action remake. From the intricately designed castle to the dark ominous forest, the scenery perfectly sets the mood for each scene and the beauty makes it impossible to look away. While it would be impossible for the live action scenery to perfectly mimic the setting for the animated film, it succeeds at bringing back the same moods and feelings that the animated scenery brought out so well, which is far more important.

The scenes added to the live action movie likewise match the mood of the animated movie extremely well. Most of the scenes seamlessly fit into the story, and help move the film away from a blow by blow recap of the animated version.  A touching scene between Belle (Emma Watson) and her father (Kevin Kline) introduced us to the question of what happened to Belle’s mother, and a later scene between Belle and the Beast (Dan Stevens) furthers that plotline.The added songs fit in well too, especially a song near the end detailing the Beast’s feelings after Belle leaves the castle.  None of these scenes are necessary to further the plot, but they answer questions that fans have been asking for years.

The animated Beauty and the Beast already had strong, realistic characters for the live action version to imitate, and the live action version took full advantage of the existing personality traits. Nearly all of the characters in the movie are familiar, and brilliant casting choices brought animated characters to life in a new way. Emma Watson did an excellent job as Belle, perfectly portraying the well known princess while adding a little bit of her own style and sass.

Although the characters themselves were well developed and suited the the story, they also were the cause of the movie’s greatest flaw. When the inhabitants of the castle are in human form, their attire is unfamiliar and outrageous, distracting from what could have been the most emotional moments in the movie. While the powdered wigs and historical clothes were are probably more realistic to the time period than the attire in the animated movie ever was, they draw all the attention away from the interactions of the characters and towards the old-fashioned clothes that we have no time to get used to.

Before the movie came out, Beauty and the beast was followed by constant controversy, much of which surrounded the sexuality of the antagonist Gaston’s (Luke Evans) sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad). Regardless of the opinion on the matter, most of what people claimed was exaggerated. The change made no difference to the plot, and occupied only a few seconds of screen time. Had it not received so much attention leading up to the movie, it would not have been noticable.

After the success of the animated version, the live action Beauty and the beast had a lot to live up to, but it managed to handle the challenge remarkably well. The memorable plot and lovable characters from the animated version came together into Disney’s best live action movie yet. Regardless of whether you loved the animated film or have never seen it, you should take up Disney’s most recent invitation to ‘be their guest’.

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