The Petal Fell, I Rose

Ryan Jurik

Beauty and the Beast, which opened in theaters on March 17th, was a revamped live action film based on Disney’s animated version of the story in 1991. Including many musical numbers, it was a fairy tale story about an intelligent yet outcasted girl named Belle who lived in a small provincial village in France with her Papa, Maurice. They lived on a farm where she tended to her daily chores and spent most of her time reading, but was ostracized for her love for books. A gallant hunter and his companion by the names of Gaston and Le Fou entered the village where Belle’s charming appearance catches Gaston’s attention, compelling him to pursue making her his wife. This attempt indubitably fails as, though he excels in presenting a heroic, masculine ego, he lacks the intellectual capacity that Belle has. She rejects Gaston’s hand in marriage and evades him by returning home, where Maurice was tinkering in his work space.

While she helped him repair his bizarre contraption, Belle’s curiosity drove her to question Maurice about the absence of her mother, but he merely supplies her with only a perfunctory answer as to avoid reminiscing on his past. One day, Maurice sets off on a wagon with their trusty horse, Philippe, to head to the market. Belle requests that he brings her back a rose, which he promised he would before he rode away. Traveling through an ominous forest, a tree is struck by lightning and falls before Maurice’s path, causing him to take a detour. He then stumbles upon a desolate castle and seeks refuge from the cold elements. After investigation of the estate he discovers a talking tea cup that startled him, prompting him to leave with haste.

However he realizes that he must return with a rose for Belle and searches for one on the property. Once plucking one of the roses from the castle’s garden, the Beast emerges from the shadows, revealing himself to Maurice and capturing him while Philippe ran away. Philippe arrived to a distressed Belle, worried of the state of her missing Papa. She demands the horse to bring her to where they once were and takes off looking for him, only to stumble upon him locked up in a cell within the castle’s tower, where their fate is undecided.

Many of the cast members are notoriously known for their histrionic fame and large roles in other well known movies. Belle was played by Emma Watson, portraying the peculiar village girl whose beauty was unmatched. The role of the Beast, though his character was digitally fabricated, was played by Dan Stevens, presenting the voracious, yet eccentric creature–a prince that fell under the curse of an enchantress. The main antagonist and his trusty accomplice, Gaston and Le Fou, were played by Luke Evans and Josh Gad. There are other numerous actors that took on the roles of household objects throughout the Beast’s castles with only their voices bringing life to their characters, such as Ewan McGregor [as Lumiere], Audra McDonald [as Wardrobe], and Ian McKellen [as Cogsworth]. All in all, the actors did a fantastic job in their performance.

Not only does this movie spark my childhood nostalgia of favorable Disney films, but this recreation of Beauty and the Beast shines a new profound light on the film’s story line, characters, and impact on the audiences. I enjoyed seeing the petrail of beloved characters, and at certain points I would feel moved by the characters, whether it was sympathy for the Beast’s troubled upbringing, Belle’s passion and love towards others like her Father, Maurice, or hatred for Gaston’s mischievous plan to take Belle as his wife. Another factor I liked most was the comedy sprinkled throughout the film, coming mostly in part from Le Fou, the dynamic duo of Lumiere and Cogsworth, and the Beast himself. One thing that really caught my attention was behind the scene elements that made up the movie. The composition of actors seemed to be very diverse, consisting of African American, Homosexual, and female cast members. I heard later on that Emma Watson refused to wear a corset for her role as Belle because of her feminist beliefs. Through it’s vibrant display of this romantic Disney tale, Beauty and the Beast has made an example of how progressive thinkers pledge to impact the movie industry and the developing minds of young generations. There was a heavy reliance on digital animation for inanimate objects, which distorted the characters’ movements and appearance. Although they were expertly designed, it took away from the realism the movie was trying to give off. Then again, actors cannot take on the roles of tea cups and candlesticks as themselves. They must depend on the avatars of household objects with only their voices to bring life to the jovial characters.

The moral of the story presented in the film expressed that you cannot always judge someone for what they look like on the outside, but for what is on the inside. This has been portrayed in many ways throughout the movie, such as the Enchantress who casted a spell on the Beast. Even though she was rejected by the Prince for her ugly appearance, she revealed to him her true form as a ethereal spirit, and punished him for his dastardliness by transforming him into a Beast. You also have Gaston’s attraction towards Belle as an example, where he only loves her for how beautiful she is and not for her personality. This moral can again be seen in the Beast as he is recognized for his coarse and arrogant temperament, but has unveiled compassion and love towards Belle. The audience can apply this moral into the real world and teach others to not consider things at face value.

The targeted audience of Beauty and the Beast can be directed towards all different age groups, but is most specifically meant for children. It is a very family friendly movie and is great for spending time with the ones you love as you watch the impeccable story of two polar opposites fall into infallible adoration. I give this film a 4.5 out of 5 stars.