Anyone familiar with the 1991 animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast would be hard-pressed not to fall in love with the live-action 2017 version of the film. The movie contained a talented cast of A-List celebrities to provide convincing, and even loveable rolls. Even the highly-despised Gaston is hard not to enjoy when played by Luke Evans. The movie was depicted both brilliantly and beautifully thanks to over-the-top CGI effects and a recognizable, though refreshed, soundtrack. However, it is worth noting that the live action film shared so closely every detail of the original animated film that it was perhaps vaguely disappointing that there wasn’t something of a surprise element or unique detail added in by the talented Bill Condon. The film portrayed heartfelt and even encouraging themes enjoyed by viewers of all ages.
Themes of the film worth noting are those that portray a message of courage, determination, love, acceptance, and strength. There is no doubt that Belle, the female protagonist portrayed by Emma Watson, is a beacon of courage, strength, and determination, particularly for female viewers. As it goes, she trades herself to Beast, portrayed by Dan Stevens, in place of her father. Although it is clear she is afraid of Beast’s appearances, she lets her strength and determination to see her father safe overrule the fear she feels. She continues to show her determination, strength, and courage by not backing down to Beast and his seemingly frightening appearance. She clearly depicts that she is her own woman, which is a strong independent theme throughout the movie.
Another theme found in the movie worth noting is that of love and acceptance. It was refreshing to escape the outside world and settle into a movie with a theme that teaches its audience to look beyond physical appearance to find love and acceptance. That is something starkly missing from the modern world, yet it is so refreshing to watch unfold on the big screen. Despite Beast’s appearance, Belle warms to him and eventually comes to love him and accept him for who and what he is. It does not bother her if he is a beast or a man. All that matters to her heart is that he is kind, gentle, and loving toward her. Her acceptance and love of him spills out expertly through the interactions that occur between the two characters. The theme itself is one that is positive and perhaps even needed within the unaccepting culture we seem to face today.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pleased with the movie. Beauty and the Beast, while similar to the 1991 animated version, created a new form of magic with its live action performances and breathtaking CGI. No matter the similarities between the animated original and the live action version, the A-List celebrities featured in the movie did manage to make it their own. They added to the personality of the movie’s characters. Of course, the characters had plenty of personality in the original, but seeing those personalities brought to life breathed something more into the film, something magical, even. I enjoyed the film and would recommend it for adults and children alike. All the characters were convincing and the themes throughout the film were expertly crafted out in recognizable ways. I also enjoyed the soundtrack of the film, which brought back memories from the original soundtrack. I loved that the songs even had their own unique feel to them, which made the film’s soundtrack even more enjoyable for me. Overall, it was an excellent film with a great cast of characters and positive themes.