Belle was my favorite Disney princess growing up. I wore this costume two Halloweens in a row when I was younger because I loved what she stood for so much. She was beautiful, smart and kind AKA the kind of person I wanted to be as I grew up. I mean… Just look at my cheesy grin!
I don’t think I ever cried watching the original version but this past weekend when I finally saw the live action remake, I couldn’t help but tear up during the end of the movie (and I NEVER cry)!
- It was just so beautiful. The colors, the costumes, the set, the sound…It really was a fairy tale brought to life on the screen. For someone who is a sucker for beauty like I am, I was completely captivated by what I was looking at. The visual effects were stunning and the instrumentals/soundtrack heightened the whole visual experience. Even the props- specifically the talking furniture (Lumiere and Cogsworth just to name a few) were so intricate and thoughtfully designed. The movie depicted a world I would totally want to live in.
- The casting was on point. I mean, first of all, Emma Watson. Who better to play a forward thinking, curious, candid woman than her? And Luke Evans as Gaston… Gosh he played the character so well I wanted to hate him for it. Josh Gad as LeFou was absurdly comical. Not to mention all of the villagers and people in the castle looked diverse and different. Additionally, there was both old school talent (Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson) and young talent (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens) bringing to life a very classic tale in a modern, relevant way.
- Love is magic. The movie showed love as the ever transformative and ever inspiring element that brings people together. It’s what keeps people pushing forward through hard times, it’s what inspires courage despite fear, it’s what heals. I saw this in the father-daughter relationship between Belle and her father Maurice when she takes his place in the castle’s prison. I saw this in Mrs. Pott’s and Chips mother-son relationship where she does everything to protect him and his positivity. In Lumiere and Cogsworth’s bromantic and playful friendship where they call each other out and challenge each other. In the (interracial) relationships shown through Lumiere and Plumette and even Madame Garderobe and Maestro Cadenza. The loyal and dutiful love the royal staff has for the Prince/Beast even though he takes them for granted. The helpful and human love of a stranger/passerby when Maurice is stranded and left to be eaten by the wolves. Self love and dignity shown through Belle’s acceptance of her uniqueness despite criticism from her neighbors. The movie even shows unrequited and toxic love: what happens when Gaston becomes obsessive and aggressive in pursuing a relationship that is not reciprocated. What happens when a loyal LeFou is ditched in for Gaston’s selfish goals. Love appears in so many different ways and this movie shows what power it has in growing and strengthening people involved if accepted in the healthy way.
What this movie showed to me is that with the careful execution and right fit/cast of people…even the remaking of a classic, difficult-to-top film is possible. It has to be done with a certain surgical attention to detail and reverent care for it to portray a purity and deep spirit of love that capture audiences around the world. I mean…there’s a reason why this movie grossed about $700 million worldwide as of April 1st 2017.
I’m looking forward to more Disney live-action remakes to come… to name a few: Lion King, Dumbo, Cruella DeVil, and of course Mulan. I hope they will all be as good or better than the original.