Beauty and The Beast: Emma Watson's Film is a Progressive Step in The Disney Fairy Tale Universe
Disney has progressed in its depiction of the epic fairytale romance and we can't wait to experience the story as old time, with a new perception and tad different treatment.
Image: A still from Beauty and The Beast
The world is set for the premier of Disney's live action fairytale romance Beauty and The Beast. The remake of 1991 animated classic, the film stars Emma Watson as the intelligent and brave Belle and Dan Stevens as crude outside, kind inside Beast. The film's trailer broke the record of 50 million views in just a few hours after it released online, confirming that the age-old romantic tale still has equal relevance and anticipation in today's time.
While 90's kids are going gaga over the live-action remake expecting a similar result as that of Jungle Book, the younger kids have an opportunity to learn a little bit more from the new version of Disney musical. While Disney is known for giving 'princess goals' to young girls since the 1950's, the studio is also quick in adapting changes according to current times. Be it Tiana from Princess and The Frog or first Polynesian princess Moana, a rebel without a prince but a mission, Disney has always kept its door open for a progressive content.
Therefore when talks about a live-action remake of the classic started, the studio made sure to make the tale as old as time, contemporary enough for the younger audience to connect
The moment Disney announced Emma Watson as their Belle, feminists around the world rejoiced. Belle, right from the original story, has always been regarded as an unconventional Disney Princess because unlike other stories, her story had an adventure. She's educated, decisive and brave. In an interview given to a magazine, Emma Watson says that she finds Belle a better role model than other Disney Princess. The Harry Potter star had even turned down the role of Cinderella in 2014's live-action remake which later went to Lily Collins. "When Disney offered me, Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did.”
Watson feels Belle remains curious, compassionate, and open-minded. "Belle had this really empowering defiance of what was expected of her. In a strange way, she challenges the status quo of the place she lives in, and I found that really inspiring . . . . She’s not easily swayed by other people’s perspectives—not swayed by fear mongering or scapegoating.”
The UN Ambassador of Gender Equality and a proud feminist even made certain changes to the 18th century's 'thinking girl's princess' making her more relatable. Watson went deep into the character of Belle and even brought an answer back to the critics who always argued about how the Disney princess suffered from Stockholm Syndrome. In an interview given to Entertainment Weekly, Watson argues against the idea, "Belle keeps her independence; she keeps that freedom of thought," There is a very intentional switch where, in my mind, Belle decides to stay. She's giving him (Beast) hell. There is no sense of 'I need to kill this guy with kindness.' Or any sense that she deserves this. In fact, she gives as good as she gets. He bangs on the door, she bangs back. There's this defiance that 'You think I'm going to come and eat dinner with you and I'm your prisoner—absolutely not."
Emma Watson also discussed Belle profession, apart from being an eternal dreamer. She, along with the director, made sure that Belle no longer remains a romantic reader on the streets of the town. In the live-action, the ever-strong Belle will be seen as an inventor, just like her father Maurice, which was never there in the original.
Watson also made sure that her Belle no longer has to fit herself in a corset. The 2017 Belle will be seen sans- corset and heels, something which Disney failed to do with Lily Collin in Cinderella. Thanks to Emma Watson, Belle has only evolved for the good in the remake, making young girls learn much more from her rather than being just a romantic and waiting for a magical adventure.
Bringing Emma Watson on board for the remake of the classic as the lead was the best decision made by Disney as no one else could have improved the iconic character without it losing its essence of a kind and romantic at heart person.
The film is being directed by an openly gay director Bill Condon and stars another openly gay actor Luke Evans. The world has moved a lot since the original and the makers understand that perfectly. While every community has always found its way into Disney films, no gay moment was ever recorded in the history of the studio, until now. The live-action version of Beauty and The Beast will have a gay moment with Guston's companion (friend) LeFou, played by Josh Gad. While Condon has said that it's just one moment as the main storyline didn't have much space for it but it's a good start indeed.
Disney has progressed in its depiction of the epic fairytale romance and we can't wait to experience the story as old time, with a new perception and tad different treatment. The magic unfolds on March 17.
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