‘Beauty and the Beast’ brings classic animation to life


The live action rendition of Disney’s 1991 film Beauty and the Beast, while underwhelming their audience with the lack of musical talent in the main character, has managed to capture the attention of classic fans by taking advantage of their access to Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) animation and original storylines.

The basis of this story is a daring and intelligent girl, Belle (Emma Watson), and a young, arrogant prince who was transformed into a hideous beast (Dan Stevens), so he may find true love from the inside out. The prince is cursed by an enchantress who wants him to learn the meaning of internal beauty, and she gives him a magical rose as a sort of timer. The Beast must find someone to love him for his heart before the last petal wilts away, or he will remain a beast. As Belle becomes a beam of hope for love, villagers turn to pitchforks and fire in fear of the Beast, led by Gaston.

Belle is a revolutionary princess, being an educated and quick witted girl in 19th century France. She and her father move to a small village, where Belle seeks for an escape from her “provincial life” through books. In the live action film, she pushes the barrier even further, educating young girls within the village. Her attitude and stubbornness push pass the attempted suppression from the common people in her new home.  This makes Belle’s relationship with the Beast quite ironic, due to the fact that she is a small and fragile human, yet she plants both feet in the ground and refuses to listen to him.

In addition to the recreation of the Beast and Belle, classic characters such as Gaston and his friend LeFou play important roles in the film; both leaders of a village riot against the Beast. Gaston, as in the cartoon film, is in love with Belle. LeFou though, in the live action remake, is in love with Gaston.

In this film, some of the characters under the fresh eyes of a new director, have been twisted into new forms of themselves. LeFou, for example, still has the same admiration for Gaston, but it has been romanticized and his personality more flamboyant. The Beast has been made more educated, humanizing the actual Beast he became. Gaston, while he has always been in the category of Disney villains, is more aggressive and influential as a leader to kill the Beast and force a marriage onto the independent Belle.

Lefou (Josh Gad) is the short and stout sidekick of Gaston (Luke Evans). In this new film, his character is portrayed as gay, and interested in Gaston. This new rendition, while subtle and awfully blown out of proportions in the media, has caused bans on the film at theaters in both America and Russia.

Besides the subtle blending of new orientations, the film fills gaps in the backgrounds of both main characters for all Disney fanatics. Belle’s father plays an important role in the film. After her father was caught trespassing on the Beast’s land, and became imprisoned. She raced to his rescue and took his place as the prisoner. Although Belle’s mother never makes an appearance or shows any significant role in the cartoon, in the new movie, Belle and her father’s love for her deceased mother is a key factor in the development of a new section of their story.

As a Disney fanatic, it is easy to be skeptical of this new movie. Emma Watson has never been known for her voice. Taking on the role of a powerful woman is not the only part of Belle, her voice felt heavily autotuned and unrealistic, but overall that felt compensated for by the talented voices of Luke Evans and Dan Stevens. The importance of her voice is demoted and Emma Watson’s singing ability is pushed aside.

Disney’s access to CGI is the source of these many new renditions, including The Jungle Book, Maleficent, and Alice In Wonderland. Along with the rose, the enchantress turns all of the Beast’s loyal servants into talking antiques. The creation of the Beast from a normal man and realistic animations are both results of their advanced technology. While the computer animation and live action renditions have been seen more in unison than new, original storylines from Disney in the past few years, they still manage to capture the attention of all fans.