As a kid, my mum used to play me the original Beauty and the Beast when I was being particularly difficult. It never failed to calm me down. As an adult (haha, well I’m not quite an adult), I occasionally murmur “I want adventure in the great wild somewhere, I want it more than I can tell”.
Understandably, when I watched the remake, a big chunk of my brain was occupied by pointing out all the small and big differences from the original. I couldn’t help it. My gut reaction was to simply reject all alternations. After all, can you improve something that is already perfect?
To be fair, the directors seemed to have the same idea. They retained most of the original material and only added a few new bits and pieces. In the remake, we get a snippet into the Beast’s backstory, Belle’s family history, and my personal favourite, an original song where the Beast expresses his feelings after sending Belle away.
From the costumes to the talking furniture and the setting, the visual aspect of the film is simply stunning. I didn’t like the fact that Mrs. Potts’s handle was now her arm instead of her nose, but I suppose that can be forgiven in the great scheme of beautiful things the remake presents.
All the songs from the original movie remain more or less intact, with the exception of “Human Again” which is completely removed. Instead, there are a few new numbers. However, they did sound strange to my ears because of surprise, surprise, my history with the movie.
When I came home, based primarily on my personal love for Emma Watson, it seemed as though the new movie should easily take the place of the original in my yearly re-watches. However, that’s probably not going to happen. Over the years, the original version has expanded beyond itself. It’s no longer just a movie, it’s also all of the memories of all the times I‘ve watched it alone or with company and the times I’ve used it against anyone who thought Cinderella was the best princess or listened to the soundtrack when I needed to smile. So when people asked me how the movie was, I ended up saying “Not as good as the original.”
The fact is that as we make decisions in our life, more often than not, we’re influenced by so much more than simple logic. All of us have our own prejudices, biases, histories. It’s what makes us interesting. It’s also what makes us unreliable. It may not matter much when it comes to our taste in movies, but perhaps it’s worth considering when making bigger decisions.