Once upon a time, in a land where VHS and cassette tapes reigned supreme and MC Hammer’s pants had a fresh shine, the Walt Disney Company started a revival. While it was famous for coveted titles like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “The Jungle Book,” the Disney Renaissance era of the 90s brought “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” In this day and age, we are getting yet another rejuvenation of Disney classics in the form of live-actions. The new “Beauty and the Beast” does justice to its original animated tale while spinning some new twists.
For those of you who have not seen the film (shame on you), “Beauty and the Beast” truly is a tale as old as time. The story follows an arrogant prince who is turned into; you guessed it, a beast for his vanity. The curse can only be lifted when he learns to love, and be loved in return. Throw in a bookworm heroine, brawny villain and some enchanted objects and you have the perfect musical.
With a perfect musical, there is a perfect score and set of lyrics. Thanks to Alan Menken, all of the original songs from the animated classic made it into the live-action with a few additions. The most exciting part is that Beast has his own song! “Evermore” is a song about him realizing what love truly is even as it runs away. Just as the title explains, love is a powerful emotion that will leave its stamp on any person’s heart. No matter how hard you try, that feeling will be with you forever.
Because we do not live in a land of fairies, magic wands and pixie dust, love is the closest thing we have to magic. “Beauty and the Beast” is considered one of the most romantic movies and rightly so. In a consumer and glamorous world, people become infatuated with wealth, fame and body types. However, this film focuses on the true meaning of a relationship.
Belle is not loved because she is beautiful, but because of her knowledge, kindness and unselfish behavior. Even though there is an obvious connection between her and Beast, there is a familial love between Belle and her father. Belle is so devoted to her father that she is willing to trade places with him and stay in a dark and damp cell as a prisoner.
The role of the brave woman is played by Hermione Granger, I mean, Emma Watson. Even though Emma will be known to younger generations as a Disney princess, she will always be the talented Muggle witch in my heart. As she was brilliant in “Harry Potter,” she made a wonderful Belle for many reasons. One, she is an avid reader and she is a feminist icon. In 2014, Emma was named an U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the HeForShe campaign to raise awareness about feminist causes.
This movie also ended up being a beauty worldwide with over $1B in box office sales. How could it not with Ewan McGregor as a dancing candlestick, Ian McKellan as a stuffy old clock and Emma Thompson as a cheerful teapot.
“Beauty and the Beast” rose to the challenge and exceeded all expectations. If you have not seen this Disney classic, treat yourself to an enchanting evening. And, if it happens that you have seen the film, go again – there may be something there that wasn’t there before.