I am the BIGGEST Disney fan in the entire world, and I have to tendency to get, well to put it in lighter terms, a bit heated about the things I care about. So when the news broke about a live action Beauty and the Beast I was ecstatic! Over the moon! On cloud nine! Until that is, when I saw it.
I am all for live action versions of my favorite animated movies, I loved the live action Cinderella, it was far enough from the original that it didn’t seem like it was trying and failing to recreate the utter perfection that was the original, but it wasn’t so far away that it had no purpose being called “Cinderella” if it wasn’t going to follow the same basic plot. Somehow the live action BATB falls in a pitiful middle.
The first thing that happens in the film is the opening monologue, in the live action one, there’s a whole scene where they have a big party. Which I think kind of goes against the Beasts entire life story, the whole reason he was cursed is because he’s selfish, so why would he want to spend his money on entertaining others, having nice food made for the guests, hiring extra staff and having lavish clothing made for them to serve the guests? Seems like that would be fun for the guests, get to go to a castle in nice clothing being fed good food, being entertained by a prince, and that seems like it’s actually, dare I say, nice for the others? I honestly thought the women were escorts so they’re probably getting paid a lot to come and have a good time, also if they are paid escorts it seems like the prince is just extremely lonely and doesn’t need a curse but instead needs someone to be with. Also in revolution era France, the people he has working for him probably otherwise wouldn’t have jobs or food. People who were poor and could barely afford bread for their families probably didn’t prioritize having singers, piano players, and dress makers. So in a failing economy where well over 200 staffers wouldn’t have a source of income or housing for nourishment. So even if he does have a bit of a bad attitude, this single prince seems to employ most of the small village when France is at it’s lowest.
Another thing that throughout the entire film, nobody would seem to decide if they wanted to stick to the original fairy tale or the original animated version. Like Maurice making music boxes was a feature in the fairy tale, however not in the animated one. But it didn’t really make sense put in to this one, in the fairy tale he made them and many people bought them so their family was rich until he lost his products at sea and so they had to move to a poor provincial town (raise your hand if you sang that in Belle voice!) in the live action it really doesn’t follow this plot but also not the animated version plot where Maurice is an inventor. To me it takes a lot of meaning out of Maurice as a character, he doesn’t really do much until he goes into the woods with Gaston.
Ooh! I almost forgot about Gaston! For the beginning part, he seems to have a genuine interest in Belle, like beyond her looks. He mentions he likes books, and later quotes Macbeth. Belle loves Shakespeare so it seems like they do have common ground; the same common ground that Belle and the Beast later connect over. The Beast and Gaston are just about the same character yet Gaston was just pushed aside as being the jerk yet the Beast is the one she falls in love with. If you hadn’t seen the animated version, you wouldn’t see why Belle hates Gaston so much and you wouldn’t understand why Belle and the Beast fall in love.
The animated version shows Belle and the Beast connecting and the Beast really changing. The live action just puts a couple of poorly made songs here and there and crosses it’s fingers and hopes for the best. There’s so few moments where they actually like being together, Belle usually seems irritated and the Beast is just aloof and stoic. And that whole book that transports them to a place in the past? Come on, that’s just ridiculous!
In Walt Disney World there is a large painting of Belle with her mother and Belle appears to be around 10 years old, which the things within the parks are canon so why didn’t they just do their research? Did they just ignore it? Also, how did Belle’s mother even get the plague? The plague outbreak closest to when she would have gotten sick is the Great Plague of Marseille, which occurred in 1720, which to me still seems quite early for Belle being born, considering in the film she’s 17, which would set the film in 1737 and it seems to be taking place closer to the 1770’s considering the style of clothing and the inventions being used. And if you look at a map you can see Marseille is very far away from Paris, where Belle’s mother is living at the time. Which, yes she should have been a traveler, however if she was sick the plague I highly doubt she would want to travel 772.3 km to get back to her home, and in the 1700’s that would be a 32 hour journey considering they were traveling by horse-drawn carriage.
And if Belle moved to a small town when she was a child, why does she dislike it so much? All the film wanted to do with adding in Belle’s mother is close plot holes, but for the most part plot holes are there because they don’t need to be explained or are just better when the audience has the chance to see the characters in their own light. But with inserting Belle’s mother, you open new plot holes! If Belle grew up in a small town, she would probably adapt to her surroundings. Now I’m not saying this is what the case is for everyone, I certainly see a lot of myself in Belle considering I spent a lot of my life in a small town, however, with modern technology and travel being easier, I get the chance to learn about many other cultures and societies even if not in a very broad way. However, if she’s lived here her entire life and they have less than 10 books in the entire town, how does she even real know that there’s that much more out there? She’s reading Romeo & Juliet at the beginning, which was in Verona, and seeing how badly she wants to travel you would think at some point Maurice would take his daughter on a trip to Italy, instead of spending their money on making music boxes. But even so, Romeo & Juliet takes place in the middle ages where two kingdoms are at war and the two main characters end up killing themselves with many other people dying in the process, so it doesn’t really seem like the lovely place filled with happiness and romance like how she dreamily says “two lovers in fair Verona” in the beginning. It makes me wonder, what are the other books? What other countries does she wantto travel to? And why hasn’t she been anywhere other than her town her entire life? In the animated version it’s a mystery. And to me it makes more sense if she had only lived there for a short while, that would explain why Gaston find her to be the only suitable woman in town; she’s the only one he doesn’t know and doesn’t know much about. It would also explain why she dislikes her provincial life, she’s accustomed to life in the big city; with a mirage of books at her disposal at any time she wants, and with new things to see and new people to meet every day, so of course she would dislike the provincial life. But in the live action it’s shown she’s lived there forever. So whats the deal? How did she even learn to read, from Maurice? Where are the books in their house? And why doesn’t he tell her how her mother died? It was the plague, that’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s not really something you could prevent. If there is a plague outbreak, I don’t really know what the chances are. It takes 1-3 days for symptoms to show so if you come in contact with a contaminated person who has yet to show symptoms, there is a big chance you’ll get it. So how do you tell your kid to not get the plague? That seems to be a pretty unavoidable thing, so why does she never get to know how her mother dies? In addition to that, how would moving to another city within the same country really help prevent anything?
I have so many issues with this movie that go beyond the actual story, and I am extremely shocked that it went over so well! From the parts of the story that don’t really line up with real life, to the parts within the films own world that don’t add up, this movie only opens more plot holes while it attempts to fix ones that weren’t even big problems to begin with. Leave your thoughts in the comments down below, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the (biggest disappointment in film history) live action Beauty and the Beast!