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This previous weekend the Radford Theatre showed the new live-action depiction of the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. It came out to an astounding $170, 000,000 in the box office in just its opening weekend, which made up for its 160-million-dollar budget. The live-action adaptation is a total of 129 minutes of beautiful cinematography and storytelling that parallels the 1991 original. Director Bill Condon worked alongside writers Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulus to create a screenplay that sounded like the original, but remained slightly modified to fit modern time.
Emma Watson, best known for her role in Harry Potter and her work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, portrayed the lovely and knowledgeable Belle. Dan Stevens, a lesser known actor who is known for his rendering of Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, plays Price Adam who becomes the Beast. The tale as old as time was remastered with a widened sense of mythology and well-known actors that peeked audience’s attention upon viewing them.
The film follows a young Prince Adam who had a curse placed upon him following his selfish ways. A beautiful enchantress bewitched a rose and the rest of his castle cursing those around the prince to eternal damnation if Adam could not find his one true love. Spending time within the castle his servants, maids and close companions turned into objects and grow more materialistic with each fall of a petal.
Belle, a young girl residing in a quiet village is the main protagonist of the movie. Growing up without a mother she clung to her father’s side and moved from the bustling streets of Paris to the hills of the countryside. Being raised with the ability to read and to speak eloquently she became an outcast amongst the residents of the village. The great hunter, Gaston, who was the most eligible bachelor within the village sought after Belle in his own selfish need to have the most beautiful wife. Protesting Gaston’s many efforts of proposal Belle insisted she would never end up like those in the town.
Belle’s father, Maurice, goes off on a trip in hopes of placing his latest invention into a fair to win prize money for their family. Maurice ends up lost in the woods and finds refuge in the Beast’s castle. Becoming rather spooked, Maurice tries to leave the castle but winds up imprisoned by the Beast. Belle goes off in search for her father and soon takes his place amongst the castle. The true story begins once several of the Beast’s materialist servants claims that she could indeed break the spell.
Lumiere the candle and Cogsworth the clock offer the audience to be their guest as the climax of the film approaches and the true love story unravels between the two unsuspecting characters. Belle finds herself falling for the Beast as he slowly mends his ways and becomes more human. The Beast watches petals slowly fall during their time together, thus turning him further into his animalistic nature.
Beast releases Belle from the castle so she can return to the quiet village and protect her father, while Belle struggles to show everyone the man beneath the beast. Gaston leads a herd of angry villagers and promises to kill the Beast, which is where the film comes to its dramatic end. This adaptation of the story adored by many was filled with more detail than its original counterpart. The modern aspect of containing slight LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) moments was refreshing to see in a story that has been ridiculed for its possible meaning. The motion-picture surpassed all expectations with fans, receiving a score of 7.9 from fans and critics alike on IMBD.com. Having not cared much for Beauty and the Beast growing up, I was quite surprised that the film surpassed my expectations. 3.5/5