Nothing compares to the original Disney Beauty & the Beast. It’s a stand alone classic, from the music to the storytelling to the characters. I really had my doubts about this new version. Was it even needed, I wondered. But I love Emma Watson, Disney, and the story so I went in with an open mind.
Here’s why I really kinda loved it:
The story goes deep. It’s not just about songs and comical candlesticks. We are given glimpses into more backstory of the Belle and the Beast, and what life experiences led them to the decisions they make. As far as Belle, while is perky and upbeat, she is a completely different persona than Belle in the animated version. Emma Watson is a tad more solemn, just a tinge darker. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked this, but then once the backstory kicked in, I appreciated that the writers gave her a wider range to work with to give her more dimension as a person. The Beast as well.
It celebrates friendship. We all know how the story ends, but waaayyyy before that happily-ever-after kiss ever takes place, Belle and the Beast clock in a lot of time talking, challenging, joking and helping each other, even making sacrifices for one another. FRIENDSHIP, people. The moral of the story is to get to know someone before passing judgment. I loved that even when all the odds were against, they never once doubted each other’s loyalty. Not only Belle and the Beast, but the enchanted objects in the castle had each other’s backs at all times.
ROSES! Who doesn’t love juicy roses? The iconic flower under glass is beautiful and oh-so-magical. I bet we’ll be seeing a lot of rose-themed craft tutorials this season.
Yes, diversity! While I didn’t see any Latino characters (bummer!), I did like the representation of interracial couples and even one instance of same-sex comical flirting. I know this is a point of controversy these days, but the truth is, all kinds of people make up our beautiful world, I love seeing as much inclusion as possible. Universal LOVE, authenticity, and happiness are the overarching themes of the movie. I think Disney did a great job by making these nuances natural to the flow of the movie. I wish they would have had at least one Latino character or actor. I’m giving it a pass because…I can’t wait for Coco to debut this fall!
Can we just have a moment for Coco? The trailer debuted this week! I’m thinking it will run before with B&TB. *Fans face* Cannot wait!
Okay, where were we? Oh yeah, Beauty and the Beast…
Music! If you love musicals, you’ll be happy to know there are all new versions of the songs we’re used to, plus a couple more for good measure.
Was there anything I didn’t like?
A couple things. Maurice, Belle’s father. His loco tinker glasses! I really thought they were so endearing to the role, to show he is a lil’ off, you know? A lil’ quirky? In the live action version, Kevin Kline plays Maurice a bit too serious. I felt he needed a bit more of that lovable wacky edge, more than the simple wire frames he wears.
There are a couple Disney-style scary moments (Gaston is a selfish, evil J-E-R-K!) – hence the PG-13 rating. In the animated feature, we could deal because, well, it’s a cartoon. But there were a couple scenes here where I gasped. Good action adventure, for sure! I just wasn’t prepared to bite my fingernails!
Overall, this version of Beauty and the Beast is happy and enchanting, family movie. The casting director did a fabulous job, oh my gosh, they couldn’t have found a better Gaston in Luke Evans! You will love to hate him! I liked this movie better than the live action versions of Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland; and about the same as Maleficent.
If you are thinking about Disneybounding to the theater on opening day, here are some ideas!