On March 17, the new live action “Beauty and The Beast” film premiered, and so far, it’s been wildly successful. By March 19, it had already amassed over $170 million at the box office. The film itself stays fairly true to the plot of the original. That being said, it inserts more background into the absence of Belle’s mother, as well as the life The Beast led before becoming a beast.
The costume design is very similar to that of Disney’s previous live action princess film, Cinderella, in its fabric-oriented details on both male and female costumes to create textures and volumes to reflect the setting: 19th Century France. The computer generated imaging brought the movie to life, most notably so in the “Be Our Guest” scene both by itself as well as compared to the animation of the original. Because of the CGI, this new version is able to give the audience a better sense of what the original filmmakers had intended because the original animation was completely hand drawn. For example, the CGI gives the castle’s interior and exterior better detail than in the original as well as a wider range in color gradients. For this reason, the film is visually striking in addition to the already beloved plot. The portrayal of Gaston expertly depicts the narcissism of his character through comedic quips injected into the story by new screenplay writers Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
As many could’ve guessed given the main actress’ affinity for feminism, the new version has definite feminist undertones. Watson’s performance reflects the independent, strong-willed, and intelligent version of Belle in the original but also emphasizes the humor in her way of dealing with a community that disagrees with her refusal to conform. Additionally, the film speaks to female literacy, as well as gay and trans acceptance. The scene that speaks to the LGBT community is a hotly contended topic for some, as Disney has never portrayed an openly flamboyant, cross-dressing male in a princess movie before. Many say that this is indicative of Disney’s efforts to change not just their depiction of princesses as looking too “perfect,” but also their depiction of people in general to better represent the different kinds of people in this world.
Because of the beautifully updated imagery in conjunction with the powerful messages of equality and acceptance, the new version of Beauty and The Beast earns 5 out of 5 stars—you have to go see it.