‘A tale as old as time’ is told in a new, progressive way: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ takes the Disney world by storm


(Alissa Salem/Staff Illustrator)



Staff Writer


Millions of Disney movie fans have been waiting in anticipation of the new live-action “Beauty and the Beast” premiering in the U.S. on March 17, starring Emma Watson as Disney Princess Belle.

Academy Award-winning director Bill Condon, whose previous credits include “Dreamgirls” and “Chicago,” will illustrate the same story found in the 1991 animated film. For the last few years, Disney has been presenting classic animated films with a fresh live-action interpretation like “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Jungle Book” and “Cinderella” which have all appeared on the big screen.

Fans can expect most of the same lines and script from the original animation, but screenplay writers Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos have changed a few moments to incorporate the changes performers are taking to the characters.

A movie review from online magazine Slate,  during the film’s release in London on Feb. 23, comments that nothing will be “line-to-line.”

Watson has given Belle a three-dimensional configuration giving the traditional Disney princess a new level of intelligence and determination that viewers don’t get to see in the animated film.

Watson has been recognized for her feminist activism since late 2015 by leading the HeForShe movement which advocates for equality between men and women in society. Moviegoers will definitely take notice of the elevated character of Belle as Watson has taken the story to new feminist heights.

Watson has recreated Belle as an inventor commenting how she “invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead” in an Entertainment Weekly article. She also made Belle’s wardrobe more realistic in a way that is not found in a typical Disney Princess’ wardrobe. Watson discussed how Belle is very active with horseback riding, being an inventor and taking care of a garden. She wanted Belle’s wardrobe to compliment the life she lives in and did so by completely eliminating the corset from the characters design.

In recent news, actor Josh Gad, who plays the beloved LeFou, will be the first of Disney’s characters to be openly gay in this live-action film. There will be a small subplot that follows LeFou’s discovery of his sexuality. Condon calls Gad’s portrayal as “something really subtle and delicious” as stated in Attitude magazine.

“Beauty and the Beast” fans gave the movie positive views on Feb. 23 at the London premiere with “Empire” saying the “tale may be old as time, but it’s told with freshness, brio and flair.” London’s Den of Geek! gave the film four out of five stars calling Condon’s direction “very good.”


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