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The Mass Media

‘Beauty and the Beast’: A Magical Masterpiece

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Beauty and the Beast

Inclusive. Visually stunning. Nostalgia galore.
These are some of the first thoughts that come to mind when describing the cinematic experience of “Beauty and the Beast,” a remake of the 1991 animated classic by the same name. “Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series as Belle and Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” as the beast.
We all know the story: A snobby prince rebuffs an old hag, who is really a beautiful enchantress in disguise; in turn, she places a curse on him which turns him into an ugly beast until he can find someone to love him, despite his appearance. Enter Belle, the bookish and innovative girl, who refuses to live a “provincial life.” A confluence of events transpire and, ultimately, Belle ends up befriending and eventually falling in love with the beast. The curse is broken and everyone who was afflicted is soon returned to normal form.
Emma Watson is simply enchanting in her role as “Belle.” Watson immersed herself fully into this role like a well-fitted glove, but also managed to nail most of the singing parts, too (Hermione can sing, y’all). “Beauty and the Beast” featured a strong supporting cast, which included Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad.
The music is enough to send you back to your childhood (if you’ve seen the original 1991 version). At times, you will sing along; at other times, you won’t, and will simply let the music take you where it may. In any case, you can’t help but feel like you’re being cradled by the warmth of your childhood, which reemerges as you watch magic. What is also amazing is that you can see the actors having a good time on-screen; it’s not everyday they get to act AND sing AND dance. Being asked to do all three is a challenge, and most actors love challenges… it is more fun that way, and who doesn’t like to have more fun?
What this film does the best, though, over everything else is its willingness to reflect society in a wider and clearer light. The film featured two black characters that were originally white in the 1991 version, as well as, for the first time in Disney history, a gay character.
Ultimately, it was a joy to watch this film, as it forced me to reach back to the deep bowels of my mind, where my childhood memories reside. A task a 30-something college student does not get to do quite often between exams, work, and the everyday mess of human life. This interpretation of the animated Disney classic was one that was handled with a careful eye for detail and quality. 
Do yourself a favor and witness this year’s live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Aside from being cinematically breathtaking, both visually and musically, it re-teaches a lesson on humility. A lesson that never grows old and one the world sorely could use nowadays.
And if you do see the film, don’t be surprised if you walk out of the theater, singing,”A tale as old as time. A song as old as rhyme… Beauty and the Beast.”
It’ll be stuck in your head, believe me.