The beauty within
If there's one thing I can say about Disney is that they sure love to mess with their old movies. The gamble has been paying off for them as the films have been quite successful (although I still think Maleficent was a little shallow). Beauty and the Beast is the latest film to get the live-action treatment but it feels more like a remake than it does as a reboot when compared to the other live-action films from Disney's catalog. Whereas last year's The Jungle Book delved more into the original story the film was based on while retaining the charming elements of the 1967 animated classic, this version is for the most part a retread of the 1991 animated version. So if you're already familiar with the story then there's not much difference between the two versions; but for those that aren't, here's a brief synopsis of the tale as old as time. A young prince is cursed by a fairy after he fails to show kindness and candor to her because he was disgusted by her appearance. He is transformed into a beast and the only way he can return to his human form and be freed by the curse is love. When all hope is lost, a young girl named Belle (Emma Watson) shows up in his desolate home; the prince may have found an opportunity for him to not only redeem himself but at the same time find true love. As I mentioned earlier, this version follows the 1991 film to a certain point to which you can expect to find familiar scenes, characters, and even the same songs. Comparing the two is like comparing oranges and apples; the 1991 animated version was a memorable visual splendor but this latest version addresses several key plot holes that were overlooked in the original. Both have their ups and downs and while I wouldn't go as far as to say that the live-action adaptation is the definite version of the infamous story, it's still a joy to watch. The cast performances have tremendous heart and I can't help but notice that Luke Evans seems to enjoy being Gaston. Emma Watson melts hearts as Belle and the supporting cast brings energy to the film. Although this version of Beauty and the Beast doesn't carry the same charm as the older animated film, that doesn't keep it from being an all-around great film and keeps Disney's live-action renaissance going strong.