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Live Action Beauty and Beast Reimagines Disney Original

Lucas Huie and Nicole Gunderson

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The new live action version of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast depicts a different side of the original story while overall staying true to the characters and plot.  Like all old Disney princess stories, there are the traditional sexist undertones, but this new film reflected the newer and more inclusive Disney princesses like Rapunzel, Elsa, and Moana.

The movie tells the story of a French girl named Belle who is the village’s outcast because she reads and thinks, something very frowned upon for a woman in her village. Belle is captured by a cursed prince who was turned into a “beast” by an enchantress, one who also turns all of his servants into objects.  The only way to break the spell is for someone to love the beast.  Of course, Belle falls in love with the prince just in time to marry him as a human, and everyone lives happily ever after.

How could that possibly turn into a movie so inclusive of minorities and feminist ideals?  Somehow Disney did it, and they did it well.  Beauty and the Beast‘s cast, though debatable in the casting of lead roles, had an incredibly diverse ensemble.  There were mixed race couples everywhere, and it wasn’t turned into a big statement.

It was also Disney’s first big motion picture with gay characters. Though it was short-lived, at the end of the movie you see two men dancing together.  Not a big moment, but that can be seen as good or bad.  It happened so quickly you almost couldn’t see it which that means it wasn’t some big controversy in the film, so it shows it as it is: normal.  But it somewhat seemed like the writers were afraid to make it a prominent point of the movie, or like it was an afterthought.

The female lead, Belle, was played by Emma Watson.  Watson never had a singing role in a film before this one.  She fit the part perfectly looks and personality-wise, but the lack of singing experience led to a lot of auto-tune sounding music.  It is not hard to find someone who looks like the original Belle character, she’s a white brunette.  There are plenty of actresses who can also sing really well.  Dan Stevens, who played the beast, also sounded like they used a computer instead of a human voice.

The movie certainly did succeed in many aspects but failed in others.  For example: While the choreography was amazing the costumes where subpar to say the least. The movie feels like a roller coaster of things done well and things done alright.

Some of the cinematics in the movie are so packed with all these colors and  lights and dancing they might as well have put an epilepsy warning before the movie.  Seizures aside, the soundtrack was done extremely well.  The music was catchy  and brought an onslaught of emotions to the viewer.  It was, however difficult to listen to the music due to the actors’ voices sounding like they went straight through a computer before hitting the big screen.  They were so autotuned the Beast’s voice sounded like a frog singing through a desk fan.  It was distracting at times, sometimes even pulling me out of the immersion the movie was providing.

All in all, Beauty and the Beast is the most OK movie in theatres today.  It was well balanced with a healthy mixture of comedy and drama.  It did however lack a natural singing voice from its actors and had rather distracting cinematics.  It’s a fun family-friendly movie that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.

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Live Action Beauty and Beast Reimagines Disney Original