Beauty and the Beast is finally out, which means I can express my love for how Disney changed it up! And no, I’m not talking about LeFou. Major spoiler warning, obviously.
When I went into Beauty and the Beast last week, I was fully expecting to be disappointed by yet another Disney live-action attempt of their animated classics. That is not what happened. I walked out of that theater with my friends and we were all blown away, and a large reason for that is because of all the things Disney added to the story.
Differences between the cartoon and live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Coming into the movie, I was told, by several people actually, to expect some sort of crazy twist. While the changes made for the film weren’t as drastic as I was expecting, they were big enough to change the story for the better. And honestly? It rounds out the story so much more. It’s like this generation of kids gets a much richer version than what I had growing up!
The Beast and his parents
The original cartoon doesn’t give a single explanation about what happened to the Prince’s parents, or why he’s still a prince and not a king. All we get is a view of him ripping up an old portrait of himself as a human, and that’s that.
In this version, we get shown exactly why the Prince is the way he is. We learn about how his mother died at a young age and are shown a flashback of her laying in the bed he sleeps in now, clearly dead, as his father takes him away.
During that shot, Mrs. Potts explains that with his mother gone, the Prince is corrupted by his father and grows up to be exactly like him.
Granted, this doesn’t explain his father in any way, or why his father is still mysteriously out of the picture in present day. But it does explain why there’s a darkness in the Prince that causes him to drive away the old beggar woman at the beginning of this classic tale.
Belle and her mother
One of the most heartbreaking and emotional scenes in the film is something that wasn’t in the original cartoon at all, and that’s when we find out exactly what happened to Belle’s mother.
In this version of Beauty and the Beast, Belle and her father are originally from Paris and move to this small town together when Belle is just a baby, leaving her mother behind. Why? The plague.
Every day Belle asks her father to tell her more about her mother, but it’s just too much for him to explain everything, and Belle doesn’t push. But we get a pleasant surprise when Beast pulls out a cool new trick from his library: A gift from the Enchantress.
The gift is a book, and that book is essentially a magical portal into any part of the world that he sets his mind’s eye too. “A cruel trick,” he says. Naturally, because with the Beast in his current form, he could never leave the confines of his castle unless he wants to be mocked or killed.
But he finally finds a use for that gift when Belle comes, and she uses it to find the place in Paris where she was born. She finds an old doctor’s mask, evidence of the sickness that plagued the apartment. And while all she gets is the mask, the audience is treated to a flashback showing the doctor telling Maurice that he must leave with the girl to keep her safe.
It’s so much more powerful knowing the story of why Belle is in such a small town and why the townspeople don’t like her. It explains the missing part of the puzzle in regards to Belle’s mother, and with the gift from the Enchantress, it gives the Beast a whole new layer of depth when he gives Belle something she’s been looking for her entire life.
And finally, the Enchantress
When you watch the original cartoon, you only ever see the Enchantress at the beginning, cursing the Beast and the castle forever until he finds true love. But with this? She’s part of the story all along!
At the end of the movie, Beast “dies” from getting shot in the back by Gaston and after the last petal falls, the rest of the characters turn into the inanimate versions of themselves. It’s actually really upsetting, seeing everyone say their last goodbyes before they essentially die and freeze forever. Bring tissues, because there was not a dry eye in the house!
After that emotional uproar, the Enchantress comes along, and for the sake of not spoiling everything, I won’t tell you who it is, but she’s been present the entire time in the film. She walks up to the rose and casts a spell bringing the Beast back to life along with everyone else. The castle scenery changes and everything is wonderful.
The reason I love this little twist so much is because it shows that the Enchantress has been watching the whole time, and she even knew who Belle was. Maybe she knew all along that Belle was the one to break the curse. I don’t know if that’s really the case, but what I do know is that I love the fact that she didn’t just curse him and walk away.
What do you think of the twists in ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Unlike Cinderella, I feel like the changes made to this story truly make it even better than the classic (if you can ignore the insane auto-tuning done to Emma’s voice, that is). But what do you think? Let us know in the comments!
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