When it comes to a list of classic animated Disney classics, 1991’s Beauty and the Beast is certainly in the top five for the majority of fans. Belle is a classic heroine and one of the most iconic Disney princesses since the likes of Snow White and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty first enchanted us years ago. Unlike her predecessors, Belle was a part of a new wave of Disney princesses that showed they didn’t need a prince to have a happy ending. These princesses were independent and no longer just a damsel in distress. Since 2010’s live-action remake with Alice in Wonderland, Disney has had a run of success with their live-action remakes. This classic might be the best one yet from the vault of animated classics being remade for a new generation.
Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Mr. Holmes), Beauty and the Beast stays faithful to the animated original as we begin with the how the Prince (Dan Stevens) becomes the Beast came to be after a curse by an enchantress. Singing along in the story, we are introduced to Belle (Emma Watson), the bookish dreamer in a safe town full of small-minded people. After her father loses his way in a dark, snowy forest and comes across a forgotten castle that houses magical inhabitants that serve the monstrous Beast. Belle, after fighting off advances from the narcissistic hunter, Gaston (Luke Evans), goes and finds her father, trading her freedom for her father’s release. As Belle becomes less of a prisoner and sees the humanity in the self-absorbed but desperate Beast, they work to undo the curse and free the castle from its spell.
If this sounds strangely familiar to the animated classic, that’s because this remake doesn’t deviate from its inspiring source material. It builds off of that foundation to take some risks to make the film feel fresh and new again. New songs were added and some storylines were expanded to make the audience care more about the characters; we learned more about Belle’s parentage and the Prince’s upbringing that made him the man before becoming the Beast. The A-list cast give it their all and stretch their vocal chords with beautifully crafted songs to propel this musical. Bill Condon and the crew put a lot of work into the detail on the set and the enchanted household items of the castle. You can tell that a lot of work went into the creation and detail of the Beast.
Songs like “Belle”, “Be Our Guest”, and the enduring “Beauty and the Beast”, sung by Emma Thompson, had me wording out the lyrics in my seat as fond memories of my mother singing me the same songs when I was younger. Maybe it is the fresh memories of La La Land, but this movie reminds you about why you enjoyed Disney musicals to begin with. There won’t be any surprises in this film or major deviation from the original so there won’t be any major surprises for the audiences to anticipate. This movie relies on channeling the Disney magic of the original and shaping it into this amazing remake to please fans of the original and a new generation who didn’t experience the wonder of the animated classic.
If you are a fan of Disney, this movie will not disappoint you.