Does Beauty and the Beast need to be remade? Heck, you can extend that question to all of Disney’s recent and upcoming live-action remakes. Do any of them need to be remade? The short answer, of course, no. Those films generally hold up okay, and there’s a reason why they’ve lasted decades, but that’s not to say they can’t be remade. We live in a different time, and as such, there are always aspects of the narrative that can be improved on or shifted to meet more modern sensibilities.
However, with the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film, I’ve wrestled with this question on several occasions. Given how recently the other movie came out (20+ years, which is comparatively low for Disney’s animated features), and how modern their take was on Belle, it didn’t seem essential. Even more discouraging from a creative standpoint seemed to be the visuals. Rather than take the movie in a new direction, the filmmakers seemed to have one goal: to transliterate what was in animation to live-action.
“I just thought it was the most beautiful and perfect movie,” the film’s director, Bill Condon, stated in a recent featurette from EW. He even went on to acknowledge the risky idea of remaking it. “The question becomes, ‘why remake something that’s perfect?’”
Yes, we’ve wondered that ourselves. Here’s what else he had to say:
"Part of it was this great opportunity to tell it in a live action, fully photo-real version, and distinguish Belle again 25 years later as a 21st century heroine."
As stated above, the original film actually did a pretty great job of giving Belle that sort of modern mindset, but with the way our movies have advanced nowadays — mostly on the visual front — I can see the appeal that this new version would have over the original. Despite my misgivings, the fact is that to a lot of kids, these old 2D films are probably akin to black and white movies when I was growing up. Not exactly the most appealing thing to watch.
But in addition to transitioning it to live-action, they’re giving the film a longer runtime, which will allow it to delve deeper into Belle’s character and her relationships with her father, family, and the rest of the town.
"She is a character in an animated movie, so it is a question of taking these characters and putting them into this extra dimension, putting them into a live-action context, which means adding levels of psychology and nuance, and updating it."
As much as I loved the characters in the films, there is little denying that those things are brisk, 90-minute fares. There’s little time to dilly-dally or get too involved in the characters. Adding an extra layer to it and giving the story time to breathe may actually do quite a bit to justify this remake, even if it is similar on a surface level.
What do you think of Condon’s comments? Is Beauty and the Beast a movie worth remaking? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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