The Beauties of Live-Action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By Amber Leung

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A fairytale about an intelligent girl in a provincial town in France, alienated from the narrow minds of the townspeople, and a beast turned prince, alienated by his monster-like features; it is the well-known story of Beauty and the Beast. Built on the development of their relationship, turning from hatred to friendship, spurning from friendship to love, it is a classic tale of not reading a book by its cover.

I remember being a bookworm as a child. No matter where and when, I would always carry a book with me, anywhere with decent lighting. As tomboyish as I was, like many other little girls, I dreamt of being a Disney princess but I didn’t like the stereotypical Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

I could only have a personal connection with two princesses: Mulan (got to support the only Asian Disney princess) and Belle. Her ability to be drawn in by books, her defiance against the vain Gaston, and her compassion to love beyond the surface of the Beast quickly became my standards as an impressionable little girl.

Now, as a teenager, it was beyond nostalgic to see the princess I’ve wanted to become on the big screen, this time as a live-action rather than an animation, making it even more relatable to the audience. Starring Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (Beast), the film was surprising for all ages on opening night.

The cast couldn’t have been better chosen; Watson always had the natural aroma of Belle and Stevens transformed between Beast and prince effortlessly. Supporting characters Luke Evans (Gaston) embodied the haughtiness and arrogance, and Josh Gad (LeFou) offered comedic relief to the traditional fairytale.

Even the furniture played by Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), and Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), captured the essence of each individual household object, convincing the audience to shed a few tears for them.

Filled with classic music such as Belle, Be Our Guest, and Beauty and the Beast, the live-action Disney film also mixed in original composed pieces.

While the classics were sung with a fresh perspective, new songs were introduced to strengthen the plot and develop character emotions, an exceptional additive from the 1991 version. Different from the original, Evermore was sung by the Beast to portray his heartbreak when Belle leaves him and original score Days in the Sun was sung by the occupants of the castle.

From the costumes to the architecture, the details of the film were undeniable and intricate to the point of realism. Each detail, from the wood carving on the edge of the table to the sculptures on the castle, was carefully refined.

The graphic design aspect of the film has improved in comparison to other live-action films recently developed. In addition, color combinations of the costumes were stunning, either perfectly symmetrical in formation or pure, royal pop of colors throughout scenes.

Although the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast has its differences in its plot from the original causing some controversy among critics, the 2017 does not cease to astound its audience and once again, use its Disney magic to inspire a new generation of young girls.