By Allison Donofrio, Staff Writer
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Disney. When I was an infant, I cuddled with my Disney Babies blanket and a plush of Simba from The Lion King, which was given as a baby shower gift from my mom’s friend. I grew up watching Disney VHS tapes over and over. It was a coincidence that The Lion King was my favorite, along with Enchanted, Tangled, Meet the Robinson’s and Beauty and the Beast.
Growing up, Belle was my favorite Disney princess. She seemed confident, intelligent, and kind – everything I wanted to be when I grew up. I met her several times during trips to Walt Disney World, but met the Beast only once. I remember seeing the Beauty and the Beast stage show at MGM (now known as Hollywood Studios) several times. I loved the storyline, and the music just as much. When I saw there was going to be a live action movie of Beauty and the Beast, I was eager to see it. However, I was a bit hesitant because I was not sure it would surpass the original cartoon.
The opening was quite different from the original. I loved seeing what life was like before the curse turned Adam into the Beast and his employees into household items. The curse was given by the enchantress. If the Beast does not fall in love with someone who accepts him for who he is by the time the last petal falls on the enchanted rose, he would stay a Beast and his employees would stay household items forever.
The life of the beast prior to the curse was no longer a huge hole in the plot. We saw exactly what happened beforehand and why the curse was placed. It moved the storyline along quite well.
I was ecstatic to see every song in live action form, but one of my favorites was the very-talked-about “Gaston.” “You can ask any Tom, Dick, or Stanley. And they’ll tell you whose team they’d prefer to be on!” as sung by Josh Gad’s character, Le Fou, was a nod that even men consider Gaston as very handsome.
Some Disney fans were disappointed that Le Fou’s character expressed his sexual orientation as a homosexual. They do not believe his sexual orientation was mentioned in the original cartoon. Therefore, they were angry it was in the live action remake because they believed homosexuals should not be in children’s cartoons. Personally, I do not believe this song was pushing certain agendas. Controversy aside, it was a very entertaining song and the chorography was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed “Gaston!”
As the movie went on, I became more impressed with the costume designs of every character and how stunning the effects were. “Be Our Guest” was one of the most visually astounding scenes. Many plates, glasses and cups were flying around, but the scene was so beautiful at the same time. The “Be Our Guest” scene during a 3D performance called Mickey’s Philarmagic show at MGM Studios was fantastic as well, but the live action “Be Our Guest” surpasses them all.
I was a bit leery of new songs being added to the film as I wasn’t sure if they would fit, but I was wrong. “Days in the Sun” was so beautiful and gave a feeling of nostalgia and sadness all at once. Hearing how each character longs to be human again pulled at the strings of my heart.
Emma Thompson, who played Mrs. Potts, sang the title song with immense sentiment. The music and the ballroom were absolutely gorgeous, and I could not get over how stunning the ballroom was.
“Evermore” was a new song added and was sung by the Beast. It was heart wrenching to hear him sing his love for Belle, but also warmed my heart because he knows she will always come back to him. When I heard “Evermore,” I felt a strong sense of nostalgia towards my own childhood. It reminded me of when I went to Walt Disney World and saw the Beast express his love for Belle with my own eyes. The Beast thought he was meant to be alone, but Belle changed everything. “Evermore” is how he expresses those feelings.
Now that I’m older, I sympathized more with Belle’s father, Maurice. His town believed that he was crazy when he made inventions. When he mentioned that the Beast was real after escaping the castle, the town tried to send him away to an insane asylum. Belle and her father were considered the laughing stock of the town. However, they were the most original and inspiring because they were indeed different. This movie shows how it’s perfectly acceptable to be different and proud of who you are, even in the face of being judged.
I knew that I would enjoy the live action Beauty and the Beast, but I did not know I would fall in love with the movie as I did. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend it. There is big hype surrounding the music, characters and effects, which is why the movie generated $170 million during its opening weekend in the United States and $977 million worldwide. This new film shows that even a tale as old as time can be created again, and it perfectly retells the beautiful story about a beauty and a beast, 26 years after the original, animated version came out.