'Beauty and the Beast' Lives up to Every Expectation
Fatima Rivera | Contributing Writer
Disney continues to recreate beloved classics into live action movies, ranging from “Cinderella” to “Maleficent.” “Beauty and the Beast” is the most recent to join the category, which took many movie-goers on a nostalgic trip.
The movie begins with the tale of how the prince (Dan Stevens) was transformed into a beast by a beautiful enchantress. It then transitions to Belle (Emma Watson) who is ridiculed by her neighbors and other villagers for having different interests than them. She is pursued by Gaston (Luke Evans), a muscular, handsome war hero who takes an interest in her despite her countless rejections. When Belle’s father goes off on a trip and doesn’t return, she sets off to find him. When she learns that he’s locked away in the Beast’s castle, she makes a deal to take her father’s place, and the beautiful tale begins.
In the animated version, there were many questions left unanswered, including the fate of Belle’s mother. In this version of the story, Belle and the Beast travel to Paris in order to find out. The movie also delves more into the backstories of the Beast and Gaston. Each of these additional scenes fit perfectly with the original story and were added on in at times that didn’t make it choppy or confusing.
The similarities between the 1991 animation and the updated live-action are uncanny, as everything remained true to the original. Belle’s famous yellow dress was given the same structure, but had a bit more design to it, with additional shimmer and patterns to give it a more aesthetic feel.
CGI was used to maintain the human features of the objects they were transformed to, so characters such as Lumière and Cogsworth appeared more lively. The CGI and special effects were done magnificently on the Beast, making him seem more realistic and less computerized.
When Disney announced that LeFou (Josh Gad), Gaston’s sidekick, was gay in the new adaptation, there was an outburst from many conservatives. Russia, Malaysia, Kuwait and even a theater in Alabama banned the movie because of the character. However, the “twist” that was hyped up before the premiere turned out to be underwhelming.
The casting announcements began back in 2015 when Watson announced that she was going to play Belle. Other cast members include Ewan Mcgregor (Lumière), Ian Mckellen (Cogsworth), Audra Mcdonald (Madame Garderobe), Gugu Mbatha Raw (Plumette) and Stanley Tucci (Maestro Cadenza). The casting choices received high praise on social media for the diversity of talent among the cast.
The music of the film was beyond extraordinary, which included songs from the original. The theme song, “Beauty and the Beast,” was sung by Emma Thompson, who portrays Mrs. Potts in the film. Singers Ariana Grande and John Legend teamed up to sing the iconic song together, which was used to promote the movie and was immediately considered a fan favorite.
Production took place at Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, England. There was a mix of actual sets being built and computer animation/green screen to add effects. The budget of $160 million makes it is the most expensive musical ever made.
With a 70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Beauty and The Beast was a nostalgic trip for many adults and a beautiful rendition for the new generation to enjoy. The CGI effects used on most of the cast were made as realistic as possible, allowing the details to both pop out and blend in with the castle setting. Disney did not fail to bring out the childhood memories that fans of “Beauty and the Beast” carry with them.