Beauty and the Beast

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Over a quarter century later, the legacy endures but times have changed, and there's a new "Beauty and the Beast" on the block.

Whichever big wig down at Disney decided it would be a good idea to remake all of their animated classics using live-action surely is due a massive promotion. Suffice it to say, they all knew the lyrics to the songs before they were cast. "I think in many ways those three will always be regarded as similar - if not the same". Did it win you over? But most of these do-overs, from the lightly revisionist Maleficent to last year's state-of-the-art Jungle Book, at least attempt to do something different with their source material.

Bruce: I stopped thinking about the original pretty early on. Could any of these be the original plot? In honor of that achievement, here's a look at how Disney updated one of their most successful family films by adding a mere half an hour to the runtime.

Beauty and the Beast is specially formatted and presented in its entirety in an expanded 1.9:1 aspect ratio. Continuing the studio's trend of remaking their animated features is Beauty & the Beast, but does this modern day reimagining of a fairly modern classic conjure up memories of 1991? This movie even alludes to the haunting Jean Cocteau version from 1946. And it provides explanations as to why the enchantress cursed the castle's servants as well as the Beast and why the people of this village have no idea that this large castle is within walking distance from the place they've lived for ages. Watson portrays the iconic Disney Princess with her own twist, but the performance is a little bland compared to what Gad, Stevens and McGregor did with their characters.

Edwin: I seriously doubt it. Your Broadway comparison is apt, but the first analog that came to my mind were Shakespeare adaptations. Many believe to have discerned that the film was presenting and promoting bestiality.

Directed by Bill Condon, who is known for both parts one and two of "Breaking Dawn", there should have been more question about whether or not this movie would turn out okay. But let's wrap up on a positive note. And I want to visit that insane new castle with all its precipices and catwalks. "But this version rarely convinces you it needed to be made at all, and it inadvertently proves that a 2-D cartoon can be the more powerful, cleanly told narrative object". I give it an A-minus. When a panicked Belle follows, she winds up a prisoner in the beast's castle, where the ragtag sidekicks see her as the key to breaking their curse, if only they can play unlikely matchmaker. "She's not a damsel in distress - she's the one rescuing everybody". In this version, Belle is the inventor instead of Maurice.

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