By Brianna Naderpour and Elizabeth Carres
MAR. 31, 2017
Disney has been adapting many of its classic animated films, such as Cinderella and The Jungle Book, into live-action. The most recent film to join this trend is Beauty and the Beast. This movie features some amazing actors, such as Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, and Stanley Tucci. It premiered on March 17 and introduced a new generation of fans to a Disney classic.
Although the movie received very high praise overall, certain critics felt that it fell short in some respects. Owen Gleiberman of variety.com said the movie was “A touching, eminently watchable, at times slightly awkward experience that justifies its existence yet never totally convinces you it’s a movie the world was waiting for.” Joe Morgenstern of www.wsj.com said, “Enchantment is chased, and never captured, in extravagant set pieces that owe less to fairytale tradition than to Cirque du Soleil grandiosity.” On the other hand, A.O. Scott of nytimes.com said, “Its classicism feels unforced and fresh. Its romance neither winks nor panders. It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste. I almost didn’t recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy.” Sandie Angulo Chen of commonsensemedia.org said, “Watson is an ideal Belle in this wonderful remake that’s at once nostalgic and new, bringing to life the musical both for kids and life-long adult fans.”
The new spin on the “tale as old as time” broke box office records. According to New York Times Beauty and the Beast made approximately $170 million in North American theaters during its opening weekend. The movie made another $180 million in overseas ticket sales. The movie is projected to make “…$1 billion in worldwide ticket sales by the end of its run.”
This was a one-of-a-kind experience for the actors. Even though many of them are extremely accomplished and have an impressive resume, there was something very special about being a part of this type of Disney production. Emma Watson told the Irish Independent that playing Belle was, “ … literally [a] childhood fantasy. I watched that film with a sense of wonderment probably a thousand times, much to the annoyance of my parents. And to actually be in that dress, riding Philippe [the horse], to be wandering around that beautiful castle set, it was amazing. I also felt an immense responsibility. While it was me playing the role, there’s a huge pressure because Belle – she’s an archetype, she’s a symbol, she’s every girl. If I do my job well, she belongs to everyone, not just to me.” According to people.com , Josh Gad, who played LeFou, told the Associated Press, “[Director] Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn’t like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent.”
With the success of Beauty and the Beast, fans can expect many more additions to the Disney live-action franchise. According to collider.com, Mulan is set to release on November 2, 2018. It’s anticipated that The Lion King, Dumbo, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh will be added to the list of films slated for future production. It will be exciting to see which of these classics will be become live-action features!
Photos: Melissa Hillier, Flickr