By Rachel Poe
For whatever reasons the internet ever does anything, it was seriously hating on the live-action adaption of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, in the weeks leading up to its release. I mean, yes, it’s Disney and I have expectations, especially after Moana, but this remake totally exceeded them.
Let’s start off just with the cast: Emma Watson is Belle and no one can tell me any different. Her voice was a little autotuned for the role but there’s no way kids (who the movie is for) would notice. She totally captured the role. My biggest worry was that she was going to be a singing version of Hermione but they were two completely different characters. The star-studded cast was just fabulous in general: Dan Stevens as the Beast, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou- it was about as name drop-y as Disney could get.
Now, here’s where we get into some spoilers so tread lightly if you haven’t seen it.
Probably my favorite aspect of the movie was that it didn’t feel like a word for word remake of the original animated film. A lot of the songs and sequences were the same but they added some new aspects that I think just gave the movie more depth and pushed the plot further. They even added a couple more songs which was dope as hell. The biggest changes were probably that Belle was the inventor. She creates this donkey-pulled washing system to do her laundry while she sits and teaches a little girl to read. The whole scene is totally empowering to little girls and it’s fucking great. Disney also gave Beast more of a backstory: kind mother dead at a young age, dick of a dad corrupts him- because it’s not a Disney movie unless there’s a dead parent. All of the characters were developed just a tiny bit more that made the movie all the more heartbreaking.
The biggest criticisms of the movie surrounded Belle’s signature yellow dress and the director’s reveal that Beauty and the Beast first “explicitly gay scene and character.” The internet was severely hating on Belle’s revamped yellow ballgown, calling it ugly, tacky, “why couldn’t you have stuck to the original?” Personally, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original dress so I didn’t mind this new one but the criticism that it was cheap looking isn’t entirely inaccurate. I would say the top of it doesn’t look that great but during the dance sequence you can’t tell.
For Disney’s “first gay character,” no surprise, it’s LeFou, Gaston’s dorky sidekick. Both sides of the internet were hating on this one. Obviously, the anti-LGBT community was not okay with a Disney movie having such a “political agenda.” I should not have to explain why this is ridiculous, outdated, and hypocritical. On the other hand, many members of the LGBT community and their allies did not like the fact that LeFou is a villain and seemed like an easy out for Disney to insert a gay character. If this is your hesitation for seeing this movie, SEE IT ANYWAYS. I cannot stress enough that LeFou’s character is not what you think. Yeah, he goes along with some of the shitty things Gaston does but he’s not all that comfortable with it and ultimately redeems himself. It’s a really well executed sub-plot and the “explicitly gay scene?” It’s fucking adorable so again, everyone shut up and enjoy it.
What more can I say? It’s Disney- it’s a cute movie with important life lessons and fun sidekicks. If you’re a fan of the original, go into it with an open mind and I think you’ll enjoy Beauty and the Beast.