Beauty and the Beast: Animated, live, or Broadway, it’s a beast of a good show


Katie Lehman

drawn by Katie Lehman

by Katie Lehman, Editor

A tale as old as a time and a song as old as rhyme get revamped in a live action version of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale. This version takes a new spin on the original, animated film from 1991 by not only including new details from the original fairy tale but also by including plot and details that were cut from the animated movie script due to time and budget reasons. This includes songs that were cut from the original, along with dialogue and characters cut from the original as well.

This movie is definitely worth seeing and is one of Disney’s best live action adaptations so far. Several local movie theaters had shows that were sold out.  In this version of Beauty and the Beast, the story starts off with the tale of how a prince turned into the Beast (Dan Stevens). Unlike the animated version, in this adaptation we are shown the prince actually rejecting the enchantress rather than just being shown a series of stained glass windows that picture the major details.

The enchantress enters, interrupting a ball being thrown by the prince, and requests a place to stay to escape the storm outside. The prince denies and laughs at her attempts, encouraging the party guests to do the same. This, of course, leads to the curse the enchantress puts on the castle. The curse includes changing the form of everyone in the castle, like it did in the animated movie, and includes a reasoning for why no one in the village acknowledges the big castle in the forest. This is because this version of the curse makes the townspeople forget that the castle, the staff, and its prince ever even existed. This leaves us with the Beast in his castle and moves on to begin Belle’s (Emma Watson) part of the story.

As she exists her house the movie proceeds with the classic song from the original, “Belle,” which consists of Belle on her morning commute. The song is relatively the same as in the original, with only minor differences as Belle goes on her way. Singing extremely well, Belle goes on singing about how she wants adventure and how she doesn’t want Gaston (Luke Evans). Throughout the song there are also hints dropped around LeFou (Josh Gad) and his romantic interest in Gaston. This has been a big deal in the LGBT community, as this is the first time Disney has allowed an openly gay character in one of their movies.

After the song, the story goes on as normal with Belle’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline) leaving town on a trip. Ultimately he winds up at the Beast’s castle and is thrown in the dungeon. The story is relatively the same from here.

However there are new songs that were actually cut from the original animated film but appear in the Broadway musical. This includes Beast’s solo song as he lets Belle go to save her father.

Another addition that was cut from the original is an extended version of Gaston’s song about how great he is at everything wiith more lyrics that were cut for time and for fear they were a little too dark for the animated version.

The movie also has Belle finding out about her past and her mother, which wasn’t touched at all in the original movie.  This backstory makes Belle’s character even more sympathetic.

Another large difference is that Maurice, Bell’s father, specializes in making music boxes rather than just Rube Goldberg style inventions. This is actually meant to be a nod to a character that was going to be in the original animated film.

This character in the original was a music box who was a part of the castle staff but cursed, and he couldn’t talk. This character wound up being scrapped in place of Chip, a character who is more appealing to younger audience members.

The movie is just as magical as the original, with the live action film even incorporating the French name for the movie within the ending credit scene. The songs are amazing, as are those who sing them.

The few flaws with the movie don’t outweigh its strengths, but they’re still present. Belle’s dress is pretty, but it’s underwhelming. People have made the dress from the animated version as adult costumes for Halloween, and the dresses can be astonishing

Another flaw is the design of the objects the castle staff were turned into. While Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and Lumière (Ewan McGregor) look amazing, Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and Chip (Nathan Mack) could have been designed better. Many have already criticized the designs for being creepy.  For example, the wardrobe is very scary, but the designs don’t distract from the movie’s quality.

Beauty and the Beast‘s live adaptation is worth every penny you’ll spend on a ticket to see it. From funny characters, to beautiful scenery and songs the movie is sure to amaze all Disney fans.