by Tate Harrop ‘17
A tale as old as time, yet not so old that it cannot be brought to life again. “Beauty and the Beast” has been beloved since the 1991 animated film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and helped jumpstart the “Disney Princess” era. The live-action version, released on March 17, brilliantly re-tells the classic with a sense of freshness and liveliness.
Starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles, the re-creation of the story’s characters is done in an almost perfect way. Watson plays Belle and embodies the princesses’ intelligence and strength. Watson as an actress inherently holds a sense of independence that other actresses may have not been able to portray. Stevens stars as the beast and eventually the handsome prince. His part is carefully acted through his voice and facial expressions as he shows the hatred in his heart that burns away as he falls in love with Belle.
The animation and the extraordinary costumes contribute greatly to the film’s overall intensity and aesthetic. Old-fashioned outfits are displayed to convey the classical fairy tale feeling that the producers were obviously hoping to hold onto. As the tale is recreated, wonderful animations are used to bring the entire castle to life. The animations of the new castle objects are done in a way that still keeps the original characteristics of the 1991 film. Fans of the original film won’t feel betrayed by any radical changes.
Screenwriters Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulus retain the decades-old narrative while integrating new backstory material. True Disney fanatics may be skeptical of the subtle changes where viewers are given details about Belle’s mother and a new introduction to some characters that were not in the 1991 film. However, these slight new additions only amplify the modern take on the fairy tale. It is obvious that keeping the cast and overall concept of the story as similar as possible to the original Disney film was an important objective for the directors.
This new “Beauty and the Beast” is enticing for all ages as it features so many different aspects of romance and drama. It is not only a remake of a classic fairy tale, but it brings about new surprising characteristics that keeps audiences on the edge of their seat until the credit reel rolls.