A fresh take on a “tale as old as time”

Dean Griffin

NEW Beauty and the Beast
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens dance in an iconic ballroom scene.

A heartwarming story about a beautiful princess who falls deeply in love with a hideous beast – almost anyone could name the title of this classic fairytale from just a brief summary. If a story so iconic has captivated children for years, would a retelling be necessary? At first I thought the answer to this might be a simple “no,” but after watching Disney’s new remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” I was impressed at how the film managed to captivate an even wider and older audience.

Although most of the acting throughout the film is barely above average, Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle was able to sustain the movie. Belle has more depth than meets the eye. As an intellectual girl, she does not conform with the rest of the women in her small French village, and is looked down upon for her differences. Watson is a joy to watch on screen, transforming Belle into a character that is just as intelligent as she is a “Beauty.” Watson sings as if she is born to play Belle and astonished me with her unexpected vocal talent. Particularly, Watson’s performance in the song “How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montramare),” is perfection. The song, short but sweet, captures the magic within her voice that sounds exactly how it should: like a princess.

Watson’s voice isn’t the only aspect of the film that caught me by surprise. The superb animation in the movie will also enchant viewers. Throughout, I forgot that some of the characters were computer generated due to the realistic animation. The Beast (Dan Stevens) does not look animated at all and looks like an actual creature.

The animation isn’t the only factor that draws the viewer in; every single aspect of the production is spot on. Whether it be the costumes, the location or the cinematography, each scene looks as though it could go on a poster to promote the movie.

Right from the first scene I am hooked, when the Beast is still a regular prince who lives in a grand castle. A mysterious enchantress believes that the Beast, along with everyone else living with him, is too arrogant and selfish. Therefore, she puts a curse on him and the others: he will be turned into a ferocious beast, while the rest of the people in the castle are turned into objects. Once the last petal of a dying rose falls off its stem, the curse will last forever and everyone will be stuck in their terrifying state. However, the curse can be broken if the Beast can find someone who is willing to love him despite his wretched state. After an incident when Belle’s father is captured by the Beast, Belle replaces her father so he can be free. As she spends more time trapped in his castle, Belle and the Beast begin to fall in love.

Though the simple storyline may seem dull, this film’s take on the iconic tale is anything but boring. The relationship between Belle and the Beast is complex and exciting to watch, as is the rest of the movie. These two characters who contrast in many ways are able to bring out the best in each other, and as cliché as that may sound, it’s true. Even though I knew the story line before watching the film, I was still on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Whether you were a fan of the 1991 classic or not, this movie will captivate you like no other. Growing up, I was not interested in Disney princess movies, so I have only seen the 1991 version of “Beauty and the Beast” one time, and quite frankly I did not enjoy it. It might be because it wasn’t relatable or interesting to a little boy like me at the time, but I felt different while watching this version. Though I still couldn’t relate to the storyline, I found that this version had real-world moments that any audience could enjoy, not just children under ten years old. The original film felt like it was aimed towards young children, whereas this remake had moments of action and emotion that could enchant any age viewer. Despite the fact that a fairy tale might not appeal to everyone at a first glance, anyone can enjoy this adaption of a timeless classic.