Tale as Old as 1991 Makes a Live Action Return


Natalie Flynn and Sage Wann, Writer

By Natalie Flynn and Sage Wann


Don’t go into the west wing of the Beast’s castle, but do get your tickets for Beauty and the Beast at any theatre near you. The classic Disney movie made a spectacular live-action return last Friday, March 17th, with the New York Times reporting $170 million in ticket sales in just the first weekend it was open. 85% of viewers enjoyed the 2 hour and 10 minute movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and it had an average rating of 4.2 out of five stars.


While the original animation was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, the live-action movie was directed by Bill Condon, whose previous credits include the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2, Mr. Holmes, and Dreamgirls.


Composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Aladdin, as well as the original Beauty and the Beast, included several new songs along with the classics. The Beast, played by Dan Stevens, got his own heart-wrenching solo, a ballad called “Evermore,” and the pasts of both Belle and the Beast were explored in “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” The original song “Beauty and the Beast” sung by Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, still plays a major part in the film and it was fun to see classic favorites like “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston” still included from the 1991 version.


While the movie was a favorite of many, some people chose to opt out of seeing it. Freshman Lily Resnik says she would rather spend money on forwarding new creative endeavors than on remakes. “I know that Disney can do a lot of great stuff, so I’d rather see them do more new great stuff than just reboot things.”


Freshman Ananya Patri agrees, “I’ve already seen the first animated movie when I was a kid, and you know, everyone was kind of hyped-up about this new one, but I didn’t want to ruin my childhood memories with the new one.”


Sophomore Jenna Utter has seen the movie and thinks it was better and definitely lived up to the expectations of the original.“[The movie] followed the original storyline, [and I] thought it was pretty cool. The Beast had his own song and I was like- this is awesome.”


Actress Emma Watson and Actor Dan Stevens had a lot to live up to playing the leads in the live action version. “I grew up watching Harry Potter and I love watching Emma Watson act,” says Freshman Sarah Peltzer. She hasn’t seen the movie yet, but this is one of the reasons she wants to, “Seeing Emma Watson play Belle was going to be amazing.”


Watson did capture Belle’s bookish nature and quiet grace, as well as her fearless, more outgoing side, while Stevens as the Beast brought the character’s brutish and tender sides together as her co-star. The Beast was portrayed by animation for most of the film, with Stevens’ motions and voice acting, but he made appearances in his human form at the beginning and end as the prince. Ewan Mcgregor, who plays the charismatic candelabra Lumiere, acts alongside Sir Ian Mckellen, who plays the strict, tightly wound busybody of the house, Cogsworth. The film also includes Luke Evans as the narcissistic, Belle-pursuing Gaston, with his sidekick Lefou, played by Josh Gad.


Mcgregor and Mckellin, as well as Evans and Gad, formed two of the film’s favorite comedic duos, bringing much of the humor needed to break up the tenser, emotional scenes. Along with the CGI of the Beast and animation of the household objects, there were a few changes made to the characters’ personalities. Lefou, originally evil and one-dimensional, contributes more to the story, proving to be more than just Gaston’s silly sidekick.


The emphasized tension surrounding the Enchantress’ curse is something there that wasn’t there before, as the castle slowly crumbles and its inhabitants become less and less human with every petal that falls from the rose. One of the mysteries of the original animated movie is also solved; the new film explores Belle’s past and explains what happened to her mother.


Overall, many people enjoyed the film and the actors that brought the story to life along with it. Beauty and the Beast revamped a classic while keeping the heartfelt story, music, and characters everyone knows and loves. After the remake of Beauty and the Beast, now coming in the near future, Mulan, The Little Mermaid and Tinker Bell will all be revamped and made into a live-action films. From what we have seen and heard from Beauty and the Beast, it will be most definitely worth it to see these new Disney classics. So be our guest and put this movie to the test- it’s worth seeing.