Beware: Spoilers Ahead!
In celebration of the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast being released today, I thought I’d do a quick write-up of my thoughts regarding this movie. It has quickly become one of my favorite movies, and I ran out and bought it today as soon as I got off work. I have a feeling I will watch it repeatedly, much to my husband’s dismay.
However, that does not mean I don’t have a few issues with this film- though the positives far outweigh these minor annoyances:
- The Yellow Ball Gown
I feel as though they could have done a lot more with the iconic yellow ball gown. It is completely different from the one in the animated film- no gloves, no satin layers…instead we get this sleeveless, shiny, pale yellow dress that looks like it has gold glitter superglued onto the bottom. It’s still a beautiful dress, but it’s not the ball gown of my childhood. I know Emma Watson wanted to make the dress out of “Eco-Friendly” materials, and I respect that, but I don’t think she should have been given complete control over the design.
Also, after the scene where she rescues her father, she just…tosses the dress on the floor? She returns to the Beast’s castle with a jacket on that she didn’t have before, so she must have had time to go to her house? She couldn’t have dropped the dress off there? I know it’s illogical, but it bothers me.
- Women in the Village
I know women in the village are treated differently than the men (a fact that doesn’t just exist in fairytales), but some things just don’t make sense. They get furious when they see Belle teaching a little girl to read, but they’re totally okay with letting women essentially “go to war” over finding and killing a beast, not to mention an entire household? So, women can’t read, but they can fight? Something seems off.
Also, there is no scene of her in the village bookshop singing about “far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” I loved that line.
- The Library
I may be too biased due to my love of the animated film, but in that version, I loved it when the beast gave Belle the library. It was his gift to her- he wanted to give her something that would make her truly happy. In the live action film, the beast doesn’t truly know of her love of books yet. He just wants to give her something else to read other than “Romeo and Juliet,” and is surprised at how emotional Belle gets when he takes her to his library. He kind of says, as an afterthought, “well, if you like it, then it’s yours.” There’s no thought put into it.
Still, it’s a nice gesture, I suppose.
- The Enchantress
I don’t like that they made her an actual character. In the film, the enchantress is a “spinster” named Agathe who lives in the village, but doesn’t have a purpose. She’s kind of just there. She rescues Maurice from the woods, but that’s about it. At the end, she mysteriously lifts the curse after she hears Belle confess her love for the beast, but then she disappears. No explanation or backstory is given to her character, nor is there any real explanation as to why she cursed the other members of the household either (if I missed something, please correct me). Plus, what was she doing in the village the whole time? Just keeping an eye on things? If she has all this power, why did she stick around?
- The Music
I don’t have a problem with Emma Watson’s singing- I know that’s the most talked about issue. Yes, she is a bit auto tuned, but Belle isn’t supposed to be a great singer. If it were a princess like Ariel, who is praised for her beautiful voice, or Aurora, who was gifted from the fairies with the power of song, then it would be a different story. But I thought Emma Watson did a fine job.
I’m more upset that they didn’t add in the song “Human Again,” which was a deleted scene from the animated film that was later put on the DVD version (also, it was in the Broadway show). That song was great and lively, and I felt that they didn’t need to write new songs- however, I must admit, “Evermore” gets better and better every time I listen to it. The other new songs are just alright.
Also, what happened to the line “And every last inch of me’s covered with hair!” from “Gaston?”
Okay, enough of my ranting, on to the things I really enjoyed about the remake:
He went from being my least favorite character in the animated version, to my most favorite character in this version. I love how Josh Gad played him, and how his character is redeemed at the end. He just says what everyone is thinking (i.e., “do you really want to marry into this family?”). He’s super loyal to Gaston, but also doesn’t agree with everything he does. You can tell that his conscience is genuinely troubled when he helps Gaston almost kill Maurice. And his lyrics during the “The Mob Song” are top notch (“There’s a beast, running wild, there’s no question/but I fear the wrong monster’s released…”). You can tell that he’s finally realizing how evil and unhinged Gaston has become.
Our favorite villain is both nicer and more evil than his cartoon counterpart. In the live action, Gaston seems to sincerely try to win over Belle. He feigns an interest in books and tries to help her after her washing machine is destroyed. Yet, you can see him become more unhinged as the movie progresses. He can’t take no for an answer, and goes ballistic when he doesn’t get his way. When he confronts the beast at the end, he says coldly, “Belle sent me,” knowing full well that the beast is in love with Belle. He is unspeakably cruel, and gives me more chills than the cartoon version of Gaston, who was a bit more laughable.
- The Household Objects
I thought they were all wonderful, especially Lumiere (voiced by Ewan McGregor). Lumiere had some of my favorite lines in the film and was so over the top, which, let’s face it, how else can you play the role of a talking French candlestick other than over the top? When they all appeared to turn to stone forever at the end, I felt genuinely crushed, even though I knew it would turn out all right.
- The Curse and Backstory
I like how everything was more explained, and how the whole “21st year” thing was removed. They also explained why the villagers didn’t know about the prince or the castle, which was always an issue with the animated film. Also, I like that they gave more backstory to Belle’s mother and the beast’s parents.
Overall, this is a well done film. Cinderella (2015) is still number one in my book, but this is a close second. I can’t wait for the next live-action remake; I’m really starting to enjoy them! If I missed anything in my analysis, please feel free to leave a comment! These are just my personal opinions, after all, and I’d love to hear different perspectives.
One more thing…
Why doesn’t the beast still have an official name? Prince Adam is just a fan theory. For goodness sake, give him a name!! Even the prince in Cinderella got one!
Hugs and Fishes,