Disney has once again proven its dominance over the cinematic universe, this time through a movie as old as time. The live action “Beauty and the Beast” is exactly what fans have been waiting for, which is a revival of their childhood movie through graphically stunning visuals, transcending sounds, and a great cast.
The main character Belle is played by Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione Granger in the critically acclaimed movies Harry Potter, and she delivers an outstanding performance as the fearless and lovable Belle. The prince is played by Dan Stevens, who you might know from the series “Legion” for his role as David Haller, and although we do not get to see him as a prince until the end of the movie, he delivers an outstanding performance as the beast.
The movie begins with the story of how the prince and his servants became cursed by the enchantress. The plot was tweaked by Director Bill Condon, as the prince no longer answered the knock of the enchantress, removing the fans’ mockery of how in a castle full of servants, it is the prince who is the only one available to answer the door. This time, the prince is in the middle of a ballroom dance and the doors are sprung open when the enchantress enters seeking shelter from a storm.
The scenery and music are magnificent, and the viewer takes a journey into the beautiful world of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” to experience an auditory feast with the voices of Belle, the prince, and all the other characters. For those who grew up watching Disney movies, this retelling will take you on a journey back into your childhood and you will find yourself lost in memories and on an emotional rollercoaster. The movie’s special effects are outstanding and their prime scene was Lumière’s famous “Be Our Guest” musical masterpiece, as lighting, visual effects, and tune blend perfectly to create a transcending scene for viewers.
Belle is viewed in this movie as a fearless, lovable and almost flawless woman, with the whole village knowing that she is the most beautiful and a well-read woman. The movie revolves around Belle wanting more than her small village life. She uses books from the local library to journey to other places, as the books’ vivid descriptions transport her to distant realms. Gaston is a survivor of the war and is viewed as the most handsome man in the village. Even though there are other girls, his eyes are set on Belle to be his wife. Gaston is an uneducated character who is extremely selfish and well aware of his looks. A small scene shows him talking to a mirror exchanging words of praise. His loyal companion LeFou sings an entire song boasting about how Gaston is the best man in the village and pays the other commoners to join him to cheer up Gaston after being rejected by Belle.
The movie has raised controversy over LeFou on his character’s gay sexual orientation. Many see this as an insult to the original “Beauty and the Beast,” while others see this as a good step for Disney’s future. Director Bill Condon explained why LeFou is gay, “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston […] It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings and that’s what has its payoff at the end a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
The movie is a great revival of the original one as the cast, visuals, and music are all on point and live up to the original, hence making it a worthy successor. A scene that particularly stands out is when the beast shows Belle his book collection and Belle’s reaction is an extreme form of excitement mixed with joy. It’s amazing because in the beginning of the movie, Belle wanted to read more books, but the local library did not have anymore books that she hadn’t already read, and so she was offered a huge book collection that would take her a long time to complete read it. The movie’s message is about how inner beauty matters more than outer beauty. However, having a huge castle, a huge book collection, and a bunch of servants doesn’t hurt your chances with the ladies either.