If I were to be fully honest, I wasn’t too keen on seeing this new “Beauty and the Beast” remake. This was mostly because the original animated Disney movie is one of my all-time favorite films. I already thought that the original was the greatest–the songs, the characters, the visuals, everything about that movie was amazing! So when I heard that Disney planned on making a live-action version of the classic, my reaction was… let’s just say “far from enthusiastic”.
Anyway, now that I’ve actually seen the film… I’m happy to say that I really liked it! Was it different enough from the original? No. Was it really necessary? Not really. Was it enjoyable? Definitely yes!
Here’s what I loved about 2017’s Beauty and the Beast: Though it is about 85% similar to the animated movie, it managed to add in more details that I felt brought greater depth to the characters. For instance, (spoilers ahead!) in the original animated movie, there was no stated reason for why Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth and the other castle staff were included in the curse. In this movie, we are told that it is because, since they pretty much helped to raise the prince after his mother’s death but only stood idly by while his father taught him to be vain and cruel, they were indirectly responsible for how he turned out as an adult.
I thought that was an interesting detail to add. Not only does it resolve a plot hole in the original, it also adds layers to the castle staff’s plight. In the original, it seemed as though the castle staff only helped the Beast gain Belle’s affection in order to get out of their curse. But in this movie, the castle staff’s efforts to help the Beast seemed more like a genuine effort to not only help the Beast become a better person but also to make right the fact that they did not help the prince while he was still a vulnerable little boy.
Another detail I enjoyed was the fact that they added more scenes of Beast and Belle bonding. In the original movie, even though I do love that film, Beast and Belle’s emotional connection felt a bit too sudden for me. One moment she’s running away from him, then after he saves her from wolves, they’re already in love. In this film, I was happy to see little moments of intimacy like them connecting over books they’ve both read, their childhood memories, and their shared status as outsiders in their respective homes.
Emma Watson was, predictably, great as Belle. Despite not being the best singer, she brings a real spunk to the role. Dan Stevens’ Beast was also very well done. The actor was best at selling the Beast’s more vulnerable side. All of the supporting cast (like Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen) were spot-on (though Ewan McGregor’s French accent was a bit iffy).
Overall, I thought it was a solid modern update on the classic tale. Though I still feel like it was an unnecessary remake, it did manage to add a lot of new details that I thought worked very well. Go see it!