Tale as old as time...
If you can finish that sentence with "...Song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast", then chances are high that you've seen the Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast.
The original holds a very special place in my heart as it's always been my favorite Disney movie. I remember being a kid with my room decked out in Beauty and the Beast bedding, curtains, toys, clothes, games, books, you name it. My parents even threw me a Beauty and the Beast birthday party. Years later, as an adult, not much has changed, except for maybe the price tag on my collectibles. I even still have an original Beauty and the Beast sheet that came with the bedding sets from the original movie. As a matter of fact, it's still in absolute perfect condition! Then there's my Disney exclusive Lumiere and Cogsworth, my Jim Shore figures, Precious moments figures, Christmas ornaments, fleece blanket, plush characters, porcelain dolls, Pop vinyl figures, books, Fathead decal, and my coveted lighted enchanted rose. My love for this movie even extended over into my husband and I's 10 year vow renewal ceremony. So naturally, I was immediately excited about Disney's long anticipated live action Beauty and the Beast movie, and last night, I finally got to see it.
I had no doubts that this movie was going to be good, but I had no idea it would be this good. I was skeptical at first on character design, but they grew on me. Once you put a personality and voice to these characters, you can look past their initial creepy appearances. Emma Watson is excellent as Belle! You can absolutely tell that she was a fan of the original because she really put a lot into the role, right down to facial expressions, and even the songs.
There had been some buzz about her versions of the classic songs, but the short clips that have been released do no justice. You have to hear the songs in their entirety to really appreciate them, and they were absolutely lovely. All your favorites are included in this movie, but they went one step farther and added some new songs as well. I dare you to sit through the movie without wanting to sing along.
The setting is visually stunning, and I was surprised to see that Belle's formerly secluded country cottage, had gotten smaller and now resides in the middle of the town. Even still, it's a quaint little home.
There are additions to the story and a few minor changes, but it still manages to captivate you just as the original has. A huge addition to this version are the storylines that touch on not only The Beast's parents, but Belle's mother as well. You find out how the Beast became so mean and selfish, as well as what exactly happened to Belle's mother. This makes you feel even more emotion for these characters.
The moment when The Beast brings Belle into his library, my husband put his hand on my leg and smiled at me, knowing my love for the library and it's vast array of books. I am going to admit, I legitimately shed a tear. The library took my breath away. You can see the excitement on Belle's face despite trying to contain herself, and you feel it with her. One thing I noticed was, at the beginning, when she is visiting the bookseller, it's not nearly as impressive as it is in the original. The bookseller's "library" is reduced to one shelf in what appears to be the office of a church. Initially I was disappointed in that small difference, But once I saw The Beast's library, I see why they did this. Seeing The Beast's library after only knowing the tiny one in her village makes it much more surprising and exciting for her, and I'll admit, for myself as well.
The ballroom scene has always been my favorite. I sat anxiously awaiting that scene, and oh, I was not disappointed. The live action ballroom scene is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly done. This is another time that my eyes welled up with tears.
The remarkable thing is that there are so many ways they managed to make things look 100% exactly like the original. One of which being the moment The Beast turns into a prince and turns to face Belle. It was actually jaw dropping how much they managed to make these characters look exactly as the original ones did in their human form.
I sat through this entire movie with a huge smile on my face, except for the moment's that made me so full of emotion that I shed some tears, and believe me, there were many.
Bottom line here, Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast is a must see! I am actually going to go ahead and say this, to me, was even better than the original, and I think I just discovered my new favorite movie of all time. Even when you know the story and the ending, it's still incredibly captivating.