Many of us remember or grew up on the 1991 cartoon of “Beauty and the Beast”. I used to watch it as a small child. I have watched it in recent years, as well.
Of course, I understood the story better more recently than as a little kid. A selfish prince is cursed with becoming a monstrous beast and his servants turning into furniture or props. The enchanted rose loses petals unless the beast loves another, and she loves him back by the time the last petal falls. That is the only way the spell will break.
A provincial village girl named Belle is seen as strange by her community. Her father goes out on a trip somewhere, but gets lost. Despite the servants’ kindness, the beast imprisons him. Belle finds her father and is willing to take his place. But that means she has to give up her freedom and live in the castle.
The 2017 live-action remake features Emma Watson as Belle, after being known for playing Hermione in the “Harry Potter” movies. Her voice might not match or even sound similar to Paige O’Hara, who voiced Belle in the 1991 cartoon. I also noticed that she couldn’t sustain certain long notes in certain songs like Paige O’Hara. But I still admired her portrayal of Belle.
The live-action remake also focused on mysteries that didn’t make it into the animated version. For example, there was a lot of emphasis on what happened to Belle’s mother, who died from a disease when Belle was a baby. The beast lost his mother, too, and his father abused him. That is why he mistreated others before turning into a hideous creature.
One question that the narrator answered at the beginning explained why no one had wondered what had happened the prince. It was because the curse also wiped the outsider’s memories. While that covered the unanswered question, I felt that the narrator had forced it in instead of making it sounding more natural.
Minor parts of the story were changed from the 1991 film, as well as songs. Some songs were added or changed up a bit. One wasn’t sung and that was the song, “Human Again”, when the servants saw the progress Belle and the Beast were making with their romance.
Because I expect differences from originals to remakes, I found both adaptations to be equally good. The cartoon was lighter in mood, compared the live-action reboot.
Movie-makers usually don’t like to copy the original sources of either the films they’re remaking or books (except for the live-action remake of “The Lion King” in 2019). They feel that they won’t succeed as much.
Many people like the original movies or book sources much better than the reboots or book-to-film adaptations. I don’t blame them, especially if scenes and/or characters they enjoyed are either cut or changed from the source material they first viewed.
Nevertheless, I would rate each version of “Beauty and the Beast” 5 out of 5 stars. I felt that they were too different for me to decide which was better or not as good.