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REVIEW: "Beauty and the Beast"

by Charlotte Luft - Staff Writer
Tue, Mar 28th 2017 11:00 pm

 I liked the live action of "Beauty and the Beast" infinitely better than I liked the cartoon version. Not that I hated the original, but I was just never completely sold on the characters. I thought that the live action added interesting pieces that were missing from the cartoon.

A couple of musical numbers were added that allowed me to separate the live action from the original and added to the plotline, making the characters more realistic and interesting. During the added songs the pasts of the two main characters are revealed, which helped me sympathize more with what the characters were going through on an individual level. 

It wasn't just the main characters that became more relatable due to the revealed backstories, the Beast's (Dan Stevens) servants' motives were also explained. Whenever I watched the original Disney I was always struck with the question: why would the sorceress who cursed Beast put everyone in his household under the spell with him? This film finally gave me the answer.

Emma Watson's portrayal of Belle was wittier and less resigned to her fate than the cartoon. In the live action, she attempts to escape and her romance with the Beast seems more genuine than it did in the original. Belle starts off really hating both the castle and Beast but you can see it in her eyes when she begins warming up to him and gains a better understanding of his character and his circumstances. 

The same goes for Stevens' characterization of the Beast. I never believed in the cartoon version when the Beast let Belle go back to her father that he was truly sad she was leaving besides the fact that he will not be able to break the curse after she left. In this version I saw the struggle Beast went through to let Belle go, knowing full well that he may never see her again and he would be cursed forever. 

On that note, the relationship between Belle and Beast was improved in the new movie. The characters in the live action understood a need to compromise better than those in the cartoon. 

The main change I saw between the two versions, however, was in the minor characters. Even LeFou, who in the original film had no personality, was given emotions beyond being Gaston's cheerleader. He genuinely seemed upset that he and Gaston left Belle's father in the forest and he was forever trying to change Gaston's personality. 

There were only two things that bothered me in this film. No. 1: When they went into the room the camera zeroed in on the gold flecks on the ceiling for the entire shot and never allowed a visual of the actual room. No. 2: At the end of the film, Beast who is finally in his human form lets out a really disturbing growl.