I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before or not but I am a HUGE Beauty and the Beast fan. It was my favorite princess movie from the classics and I went to watch the live adaptation when it came out this year. Then while I was browsing Netflix I learned that there was another one?! Obviously I had to watch it!
This Beauty and the Beast movie is actually really different from the “original”. For one, Belle has 5 other siblings, 2 sisters and 3 brothers. In this movie they all live together in a mansion but have lost their money and are going to live in a cottage in the country. Like all sisters in princess movies, Belle’s sisters think she’s the weird one, they like their fancy dresses, and they’re not as pretty.
After moving out to the cottage, Belle’s merchant father gets a notice saying that one of his ships (I believe he had three but they’d been lost at sea) was found and he was going to retrieve the assets on it. His children, believing they were finally going back to riches, give him a list of all the things they want. And Belle being Belle, asks her father for a single rose.
Unfortunately for everyone, Belle’s father ends up losing his found assets as they’re used to pay off his debts. He ends up leaving town just as poor as before, with the knowledge that his son had been mingling with a group of dangerous men, and no gifts for his daughters. However, on his way home he ends up stuck in a storm, chased by wolves, and at the Beast’s Castle where he finds everything he needs: food, warmth, the items his daughters wanted, and his horse in healthy condition (he’d gotten hurt during the chase). The only thing missing was the rose Belle asked for, which he took from the garden outside the castle
It’s because of this transgression that the Beast “incarcerates” Belle’s father. And by this I mean that he let’s the old man go for the night on the condition that he return the next day unless he wanted a worse fate for his family. Belle’s father returns home and tells his children about this, resigned about his fate, but Belle (feeling guilty) ends up locking her father home and returns to the castle instead
There are so many differences in this movie compared to the 2017 one that follows the Disney movie. For one, this story is being told to two children so the movie has a narrator cut in at certain points. I really liked this as it made the pace less hurried and we got more background information on a lot of our characters (ie. the fall of Belle’s family, the Beast)
The circumstances leading up to Belle becoming the Beast’s prisoner is also different (as I summarized above). There are a lot of characters that don’t exist in this movie, like Gaston or any of the enchanted items. Yes, the Beast is cursed but there is no time limit involved (only that it must be a woman who ends up loving him) and the only “enchanted” creatures were these small dog-like animals that followed Belle around, giant stone statues, and little lights that showed Belle the past
I didn’t really understand the purpose of the little dog creatures as they always ran away from Belle (I mean they were cute but still…)
The relationship between Belle and the Beast was also more aggressive than in the original. In the original we have Belle finally opening up to the Beast and they eat lunch together and throw snowballs in the winter. Here Belle was usually quiet and curt. The only time they were really civil was when they danced and when the Beast was in danger. This was one of the differences I liked because this guy is holding you prisoner, why would you be all chummy with him? Even if he did let you roam the palace until dinnertime
It makes it harder to transition to love but it adds a bit of realism to the situation
However, the biggest difference that I really liked was the Beast’s past, but I can’t really talk about it because it starts going into spoiler territory (instead I’ll leave a picture and let you all decide what might have happened). But all of that and the dreams Belle has makes the story feel more like a fairy tale than the 2017 movie, which is kind of funny since those have enchanted items
Overall I really enjoyed this adaptation. I ended up rating this an 8 for Very Good, which is a tad higher than what I rated the 2017 movie. It’s really different from the 1991 movie and it doesn’t have any of the loveable cast like the 2017 adaptation, but it does have its own appeal.
For one, it flows more like a fairytale story than the originals. The acting wasn’t anything special and I especially thought Vincent Cassel (Beast) could have been more emotional at some points, but what really carried this movie was the story. A story I can’t touch on unless I want to spoil things. I also really liked that what broke the spell was more Belle caring for the Beast than a kiss of true love (what I call it). Yes she does confess she loves him but it felt more like she was giving him a chance to love him
There are some aspects I’m a bit iffy about like why Belle had three brothers and not just the one troublemaker and why the dog creatures were around. Not to mention I was REALLY confused as to why the children were going to sleep so early (the sun hadn’t even set!)
I recommend checking this out if you’d like a different take on the Beauty and the Beast story