Madison Watkins, Staff Writer
On March 17, Disney films released a much-anticipated live-action adaptation of their film from 1991 “Beauty and the Beast.” The film is based on a French fairytale about the relationship between a beautiful woman and a beast who was cursed by an enchantress.
Disney held a great task ahead of them. The original animated film was the first to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
They brought back the original composer of the animated film, Alan Menken to work on iconic songs from the movie.
Emma Watson was cast as Belle and Dan Stevens known for his work on “Downton Abbey” as the Beast.
After receiving high praise and an Academy Award for visual effects in last year’s live-action adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” the fan hype behind “Beauty and the Beast” skyrocketed.
Disney did not disappoint with amazing sets, costumes and the singing talent displayed in the film. Broadway veteran, Audra McDonald played the part of Madame Garderobe.
Ewan McGregor’s talent shone during the song “Be Our Guest” in the role of Lumière the candelabra. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts also gave a great rendition of the title song “Beauty and the Beast.”
With this adaptation, the writers and directors paid more attention to the story’s French roots. In the narration in the beginning of the film, it is mentioned immediately that the story takes place in France. There were many indications of French architecture in the village and the enchanted castle.
There was also more French language mixed in with the characters’ dialogue instead just a few French words or phrases in the original animation.
There was even a new character added named “Maestro Cadenza,” played by Stanley Tucci, who was the maestro of the castle before being transformed into an 18th century harpsichord.
A few weeks before the film’s release the director Bill Condon confirmed that Gaston’s sidekick LeFou, played by Josh Gad, would be gay in the film. This to led to boycotts of the film by a drive-in movie theater in Alabama and consideration of banning it in Russia. The Film Censorship Board in Malaysia asked Disney if they would cut the “exclusively gay scene” in the film the director was referring to, which the studio denied but did delay the release in the country until March 30.
The controversy of this character may have been too sensationalized as Josh Gad plays the character with subtlety. You can certainly tell that LeFou cares for Gaston, but the film leaves you guessing on whether or not he has romantic feelings for him until the finale.
While it is uncertain for now whether or not the film will be on par with the original, the production team did make some changes that improve the film.
In addition to the film being more aware of its French roots, the characters are more developed with understandable motivations and three new songs, one of which was going to be included in the animated version but was cut during post-production.
If the original film was a big part of your childhood, this live-action adaptation will do it justice! “Beauty and the Beast” is now playing in most movie theatres and showtimes at local theatre websites.