The classic Disney movie I have been waiting months to be released as a live action film has finally arrived. Beauty and the Beast came out a few weeks ago, and my friends and I flocked to the theater as soon as we could afford it, arriving early to beat the crowd. While this didn’t turn out as we hoped, with the theater practically full (this doesn’t happen too often where I live, especially on a weeknight), we managed to snag a couple of decent seats and prepare ourselves to watch one of our childhood favourites.
There’s a lot to live up to when it comes to remaking a classic, though for something so well-known, they actually did a pretty good job. It all began with the classic story, but with a twist. We all know how it goes: an old woman knocks on the castle door, the Beast refuses her, and she curses him. But re-watching that now leaves me with so many questions, like why would you curse a child for not letting a stranger into his home, or why didn’t a servant answer the door, and how on Earth did the entire village just forget that there was a castle through the woods and a monarchy that ruled over them? This new version has changed the story just enough for all of these things to be answered, filling plot holes that had me pondering for years.
All of the actors did a brilliant job, and with the extra backstory, we were able to get a better understanding of the characters, specifically the Beast. We learned what made the Beast who he was, a person raised and twisted into a monster that the enchantress had good reason to curse. He wasn’t just a child who refused an old woman but a shallow prince who cared only for himself. This version allowed for actual character development. The Beast began as someone who only loved himself and turned into someone who eventually earned the love of a kind and intelligent woman, whereas the classic really just shows a child growing up as someone who’s considered a beast. Belle, too, gained some backstory and extra personality that made her much more interesting, including some answers to the mystery of her mother.
While I truly enjoyed these changes, with all of these new additions, there were a few things that I found put me off from the movie. Some of the songs felt strange, partially because I didn’t know them like I did the old ones, while others just felt kind of off. Maybe they’ll just take some getting used to, but from my two views, I’m not sure it’ll happen too quickly. I also found that while the majority of the movie looked spectacular, a few characters and scenes didn’t look amazing, two being Mrs. Potts and Chip, as their faces seemed slapped on. Most of my problems, though, are small ones, and I noticed them less the second time I saw it.
With this all in mind, I still can’t decide which version of Beauty and the Beast I prefer. I obviously loved the original; I will always enjoy it, but the way the new one added such important aspects made me enjoy the new one as well. Each version has something to bring to the table, and I’ll probably just appreciate each one just as much as the other. As for all of you, I feel that if you’re a fan of the original, then this is something you should watch, whether it’s in the theatre or at home. It brings forth the nostalgia of the classic as well as the thrills of a new story. It gave the old tale a burst of energy, refreshed the songs, gave new actors a chance to step into these beloved roles, and brought me back to my childhood. While it may not be my all-time favourite movie, I don’t doubt that I will watch it a dozen or so more times in the future.