Freshmen applaud casting choices, stunning visuals in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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The Beast (Dan Stevens) and Belle (Emma Watson) dance in the ballroom.

On March 18, freshmen Emma Boersma and Anna Frankel saw the greatly anticipated live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” When Belle’s (Emma Watson) father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), unknowingly steals from the Beast (Dan Stevens), she decides to give herself up to the Beast in exchange for her father’s freedom. However, as days pass, Belle grows to love her jailor and his enchanted house-items.

Emma: Holy cow! I loved this movie so much! I want to see it again right now.

Anna: It was without a doubt the best Disney movie I have ever seen! Nothing else even comes close.

E: True that. It was the best movie I’ve seen this year. Emma Watson was perfect for the role! Dare I say she was an even better Belle than a Hermione?

A: LOL. That is exactly what I was thinking! She was a flawless Belle. I usually have a hard time getting into the plot of movies that have the “Harry Potter” cast in them, but Belle’s character was so captivating that I didn’t even think of her as Hermione. It felt like she was meant to play that role!

E: Whoa. I didn’t even realize I was thinking that until you said it.

I loved how even though Belle is a Disney princess, she wasn’t portrayed as helpless. I loved how her intelligence was played up and how the script really emphasized that. Especially by having Gaston, a stupid and brutish man, be the villain. I know this was part of the original movie, but I felt so empowered when Belle refused to marry Gaston due to his rude and ignorant personality.

A: I totally get what you’re saying! Belle is such a strong woman! I loved how she really wasn’t ashamed of being different. Instead of trying to squash all of her hopes and dreams, she embraced them. I know that Emma Watson really wanted to make Belle appear this way.

One of the scenes that showed this was when she was teaching the younger girl how to read, even though it was against the social norm. I was so proud of her!

E: Yo, but when the villagers threw Belle’s laundry out of the barrel and into the mud because she was teaching a girl to read, I got mad.

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Four of the main characters of the film: Belle (Emma Watson), the Beast (Dan Stevens), Maurice (Kevin Kline) and Gaston (Luke Evans). .

What did you think about the Beast? I liked him, but not as a love interest. I thought he was too childish, and I don’t mean in an immature way, but I felt like his thought process was similar to that of an elementary schooler’s – a very well-read elementary schooler.

A: This is where I disagree. Belle and the Beast were actually the cutest couple. They complemented each other perfectly. I was honestly a little sad when he transformed back into a human.

I get what you’re saying about him being childish, but compared to the original movie, he was pretty mature. In this one they actually seemed to have adult conversations. In the animated version, I could never get over the fact that she acted more like his teacher than anything else.

E: You’re right about their relationship in the animated movie, but only half way right about the Beast’s body being better than his human one. I think that I was just more used to him looking like a beast, so when he did turn back into a human it was a little unnerving. But when the Beast and Belle started getting all touchy-feely – that was cringe-worthy. All I could think about was, “How are they going to kiss when (1) the Beast has fangs, and (2) his head is twice the size of hers?”

A: Don’t forget that she is like half his height!

But I think the biggest problem was just that we didn’t have any time to get to know the prince once the spell was broken. We had fallen in love with the Beast’s character, and then he was transformed into this totally different creature with a completely different face. He didn’t have a lot of lines after the transformation, so there was no way to convince my brain that it really was the same person.

E: No, the biggest problem was that none of the characters clued me in about the curse! If I hadn’t already known about the curse from watching the animated version, I would have been so confused.

Speaking of plots, I really like how there were two plots that connected in the end. I liked watching Gaston try to trick Belle into being his wife and Belle and the Beast’s relationship developing. To top it off, there was a little side plot about the servants playing matchmaker with Belle and the Beast. I would have forgotten their lives were at stake and they had as much to lose if the curse wasn’t broken if the house-items hadn’t butted in so often.

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A scene from the original cartoon version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

I like when that happens because otherwise I’ll get bored. But on the flip side, usually I get more invested in one plot over the other, but that didn’t happen this time.

A: You mean how they were micro-managing the Beast’s relationship?

E: I guess that’s one word for it. But if they hadn’t, the Beast would have messed everything up for all of them! Mind of an elementary schooler, remember?

A: You’re probably right. Anyway, I get your point about the multiple plots. It kept the movie interesting and moving at a fast pace. There were so many different things going on, yet it never got too cluttered or confusing.

It was over so fast, though. When the lights came on in the theater, I honestly felt like crying. The movie had completely absorbed me. For those few hours, it really felt like my life was a fairy tale.

E: Hmm, not for me. The movie was really long, but I never wanted it to end. It was just so pretty! All the visuals were so detailed and just pretty. I could have stared at it forever.

I loved how detailed the servants were, especially Cogsworth and Lumière. Their original versions looked like the person drawing them gave up halfway through when compared to the live-action ones. Cogsworth is literally a box in the original version!

A: The whole set was pretty remarkable. Imagine how much fun it would have been to film on the set of a beautiful castle.

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A poster for “Beauty and the Beast.”

E: Yeah! Imagine being in that cute little village. Yes, the villagers were close-minded, but I totally want to live there! That was probably my favorite scene, when Belle was walking through the village and all the villagers were singing “Belle.” I loved how bright the scenery was.

“Belle” was my favorite song, too. I’m listening to it right now. Did you hear Emma Watson’s voice? Who knew she had bars like that?

A: I completely agree. That opening scene was perfect in every sense – music, energy, set – I honestly might have been singing along in the theater. It’s like her smile was contagious.

E: Yup, I don’t know if it was just me, but it seemed like she was truly happy to be in that movie. Like she and the other actors were enjoying every second of it.

A: I don’t know how she couldn’t have enjoyed it! She got to live a fairy tale!

E: Well, she didn’t just get to live it, she got to star in it.

Anyways, I genuinely liked all of the characters – even Gaston. And while I loved Belle, I think my second favorite character was LeFou. He was so funny and endearing, and even though he idolized Gaston, he saw the light in the end, so I wouldn’t even call him one of the bad characters.

I also liked how LeFou was gay. I liked how it was really subtle, but played a big part in how he acted. If he hadn’t had a crush on Gaston, I doubt he would have helped him so much and gone along with all his insane schemes.

This was another thing that the live-action did better than the animation: they gave the characters more depth.

By Emma Boersma and Anna Frankel

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