A Disney Classic: The New Beauty and the Beast
April 28, 2017
Beauty and the Beast, an animated Disney film originally shown on screen in 1991 was recently remade as a more modern film. The film revolves around a young woman named Belle, played by Emma Watson, who lives in a small town where she feels like she does not fit in. She lives with her father in a small little house with a garden on the outskirts of town where a bachelor by the name of Gaston tries to get her father’s consent to marriage. Close by stands a castle where a young prince is unwilling to lend shelter to an old woman. She offers him a rose in trade for his hospitality. Suddenly the old lady transforms into a beautiful woman who places a curse on him, turning him into a hideous beast and all the castles guests into living antiques. The curse can only be broken when the Beast learns to love and receive love in return. But if the offered rose loses all of its petals before then, he will be stuck as a beast for all eternity.
The story to picks up when Belle’s father travels to a market outside town on a stormy night. Belle asks him to return with a rose. As the night grows colder he gets ambushed by a pack of wolves who frighten his horse. They venture to a dark castle. He enters but feels unwelcome and decides to leave quickly. On his way out he happens upon a rose covered in snow and picks it to bring back home. As this happens, the Beast comes flying out of nowhere to stop him. The Beast begins to attack him, scaring off the horse who eventually runs back to the village.
When the horse arrives, Belle sees that it has returned covered in dirt and without her father. Belle and the horse venture back toward the snowy castle where they find her father locked in a cell. The Beast arrives and Belle begs him to take her instead. He allows her only to say goodbye to her father, but as she enters the cell, she pushes her father out. The Beast frees him and takes Belle as his hostage instead. Minutes later the antiques welcome Belle and usher her into a lavish room up in one of the castle’s towers.
As the story progresses Belle and the Beast begin to open up to each other, but when Belle’s father returns to the town he is showered with disrespect, is called a liar, and the townspeople beat him. The townspeople do not believe of such a castle and the Beast that inhabits it. Back at the castle, the Beast has just asked Belle to a ball. They spend hours getting ready with the help of the antiques, and when the time comes, they make their way to the ballroom to dance. When they finish dancing, the Beast takes Belle to the rose and shows her his magic mirror. The mirror shows anyone and their whereabouts. Belle uses the mirror to see her father and sees the pain he’s in. Reluctantly, the Beast frees Belle to help and heal her father. She takes the mirror.
When Belle arrives at the village, she tells the people how her father is telling the truth and how there is a castle with a Beast. Nobody believes her, so she takes the mirror and tells it to “show the Beast.” The people are shocked to see that it does really exist and decide to go and kill it. Belle desperately tells them that he means no harm, but not very convincingly. Belle and her father are put in a locked carriage while the people travel to the castle, Gaston leading. Belle and her father break out of the carriage and proceed to the castle as well. As they arrive, the antiques are fighting all the townspeople. Gaston slips past with a gun in hand, Belle following behind. At first, the Beast does not realize Belle is there as he battles with Gaston. Finally, the Beast sees Belle, and at that moment Gaston shoots the Beast. Belle rushes to his side and tells him how much she loves him. The old woman appears and breaks that spell, moments later the Beast is transformed back into the young prince, and the antiques turn back into the castle guests.
Beauty and the Beast has reached a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and Rolling Stone has rated it three out of four stars. The film perfectly captures the lives of the characters and how their similarities and differences help them come together. Director William Condon added extra elements to each character making them more relatable and captivating. Though the original was indeed engaging and alluring Peter Travers of Rolling Stone describes it as “a movie built on the bones of what preceded it, there is something there that wasn’t there before. I’d call that an exhilarating gift.” I found myself agreeing with this statement. The movie was wonderful to see and I enjoyed that the actors really fell into character, it didn’t seem forced and fake and I really liked the flow of it. Though there are a few violent scenes, the movie is family friendly and very musical, making it a classic Disney film.