For many girls growing up in the early 90’s, Belle became one of the first female role models they could look up to. She was intelligent and a woman who went against the grain. Not to mention, a woman who didn’t feel obligated to marry a man just because he was what every other woman wanted, and the kind of Disney Princess who would take on a pack of wolves without necessarily calling for help.
She’s also now the subject of the latest live action Disney remake as Beauty and the Beast will be coming back to theaters, this time starring Emma Watson, in a film that’s managed to already generate a good deal of controversy.
Where the movie is able to succeed is in the stunning visuals and set pieces used in the set decoration and animation needed to make a household come alive. As a reflection of the animated feature, this truly is an update that can not only help to provide girls with a new, albeit same, modern day female role model that they can look up to as a source of strength while also allowing for parents, aunts, and even moviegoers in general looking for a source of nostalgia that helps bring them back into the world of a childhood classic.
However, this nostalgia also presents the question of whether or not the movie needed to even be made as the story, characters, shots, and even song selection seem to be almost a mirror identical to the 1991 animated version. Of course, it’s not all identical. In certain cases Belle is more intuitive than she was in the original, which helps to further build her up as being an independent woman that the young girls in the audiences will hope to be like.
However, most of these changes tend to be so minor they’re almost unnoticeable such as Belle having just read a different book than Jack and the Beanstalk.
And in one particular case, a change from the original happened to alter some of the logic as Belle’s father, Maurice, has gone from being the lovable, kooky inventor of a father to a dad who’s knowledgeable and reasonably sane, or at least sane enough that the townspeople seem unfounded in believing certain allegations that come up later in the film.
Even then, however, it’s such a minor plot point that it doesn’t really detract from the motion of the film as it still follows through on what generally seems like a scene for scene similar movie to the original.
Which also causes one to question whether or not the remake even needed to happen. And while the answer might be questionable just because it will end up being so rooted in opinion, the argument for the remake primarily seems to be that given the changing times, and an era where old school animation has been replaced by computerized creations, that keeping the kids attention requires use of a technology that can help suspend a child’s disbelief to the point where they would seek to emulate the good that they see in their heroes.
And if that’s what it takes to introduce Belle as she was in the movies, then it also stands to make sense that a remake, no matter how similar it may have been to the original, is a worthwhile investment.
A worthwhile investment that also allows adults to revel in their own nostalgia as they view a classic from their childhood in a way that they’d never seen it before.
Beauty and the Beast will hit theaters nationwide March 17, 2017.