In the new, live-action movie, Belle is played by Emma Watson. Watson is charming as Belle, her beautiful singing voice and head-strong, caring demeanor is reminiscent of the Belle we are familiar with. Josh Gad as LeFou was one of my favorite characters. This version of the movie gave LeFou a larger role and Gad rose to the occasion. Gad was very funny and acted as the comic relief of the movie.
However, the attempt to modernize the gender roles of the 1991 film seems lackluster. The dynamic in the original is already strange. Sure, Belle loves to read, which could be taken as an attempt to add to the archetype of the beautiful girl who falls in love, but, then again, she is also taken captive by a terrible beast and then falls in love with him shortly after. To me, it seems unrealistic and cliche. The 2017 version tries to rearrange this dynamic in order to play less into the gender roles, they make Belle the inventor instead of her father and extend the time period of when Belle and the beast get to know each other to make it seem less bizarre, but those same gender roles are still there at the end of the day. To be fair though, the only way to avoid these gender roles would be to completely change the story, which wouldn’t be popular among audiences.
Also, while Emma Watson and Dan Stevens performances individually were commemorable, I felt their chemistry was lacking. At the end of the movie when the beast turns into a prince, the relationship between the main characters seemed a bit forced and scripted; they seemed like friends.
The computer-generated images (CGI) in the movie were done beautifully. The detail and realistic qualities of the talking objects were incredible. However, because the objects moved so realistically, they lacked the fluid movement they possessed in the animated version, which wasn’t necessarily good or bad, but it didn’t bring about the kind of nostalgia that I was expecting.
All in all, I appreciated Disney’s remake of the classic Beauty and the Beast. It was an enjoyable experience, but in my opinion, the movie works better as an animated film rather than a live-action and fits better in an early 90s setting rather than in modern times.