Beauty & the Beast opened in cinema’s this weekend and we had to go and see it. If I’m totally honest I wanted to book tickets for opening night. However Imogen was going to a birthday party Saturday morning to go and see it. So instead of trumping someones party, we delayed it till Sunday night. Imogen didn’t mind seeing it again as it is amazing! End of review!
Beauty & the Beast
As a kid I remember falling in love with the 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast. It had songs that hooked you in and a compelling story. Although there was unanswered questions, a rousing song easily moves you through.
Twenty six years later, we get to see the story evolved and filled out. Assuming your familiar with the original animation, you will remember that Belle is brought up by her Father Maurice. What happened to her mother? It is a story hook that seems to follow through many Disney animations, that the lead character has lost a parent. We just accept it and never find out the reason for this. However, in the remake of Cinderella, we got to find out a little more of her back story. Which is an element that continues on here too. Belle gets to find out the reason he father brought her up.
I had a huge “ahhh!” moment too. During one scene, it is pointed out that Belle and the beast are the same for several reasons. One being that they are both mis understood and treat like freaks. Belle being the strong minded and wanting to educate herself. While the provincial villagers think she’s strange reading books or even thinking for herself! The Beast is quite shallow and grades beauty on face value, however his own character is feared because of his appearance.
Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick is given feeling in the remake. Originally he was mainly a comedy baffoon of a sidekick. Here we are shown that elements of affection for Gaston. Although you can see that he is torn between sycophantic worship and rational realisation that he’s a beast too!
Beauty & the Beast Songs
I do love musicals and there was a magical combination in Beauty and the Beast that I didn’t know about until many years after the original. This combination for me turned out to be Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.
Alan Menken started composing music for Disney animations from 1988, where he worked on The Little Mermaid. He worked alongside lyricist Howard Ashman. The two of them worked together for Disney on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Due to Aids related health complications, Howard didn’t get to see the release of Beauty and the Beast. When the film was premiered, it was dedicated to Howard. The dedication reads, “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991.”
Before working on Beauty and the Beast, Howard and Alan wrote an initial treatment for the story. The Songs “Arabian Nights”, “Friend Like Me” and ‘Prince Ali” were his work. And were the only ones to remain in line as the story got chopped up. The remaining New songs for Aladdin were written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice.
So Why am I giving you a quick over view of Disney Lyricists? Three new songs have been added to the Beauty and the Beast film. Quite fitting that Alan Menken and Tim Rice have been brought together to finish this project. I have a feeling that certain lyrics within the original songs may also have been tweaked and updated too.
Is the Live action Beauty and the Beast too Scary?
We took Abigail to see Beauty and the Beast, she is 6 years old. Which is quite young for a film with mild peril. At least with animation, there is an element of fantasy. In realistic film footage, it is hard to separate whats reality and fiction. There was one recurring moment that became a snuggle in for safety element.
As Maurice, Belle or the Beast pass though the Enchanted forest, there are a pack of wolves. The wolves are very aggressive and snarl, howl and attack the characters. This was the only part that made her nervous. Which when you consider the main character of the Beast is introduced as bad tempered, hideous and animal like in appearance, isn’t too bad.
Emma Watson as Belle
I think Emma Watson makes a wonderful Belle. She continues the animated originals concept through to the live Action. At no point during the film did I start thinking about Harry Potter! So Don’t think that she is stuck with that character overlaying everyones perception (unlike Daniel Radcliffe).