This weekend, movie theaters across the nation were filled to maximum capacity with the eager faces of children, teenagers and adults alike.
The release of Disney’s real-life Beauty and the Beast invited viewers to ‘be their guest’ as the all-too-familiar magical love story unfolded on the big screen accompanied by vibrant costumes, impressive sets and the contagious sounds of the musical score.
And it was even better than expected.
The nostalgia for my childhood washed over me as I sat front and center, teary-eyed and emotional when songs like “Gaston” and “Something There” poured from the surround-sound speakers. Members of the audience, including myself, could not help but mumble along through each song almost thoughtlessly, as though the lyrics were written across the screen.
Similar to the release of Finding Dory, the long-awaited process of re-creating the magical wonderment of such a beloved movie was anticipated by many. Unfortunately, there is not much development as the re-created movie does not diverge from the traditional story-line of the animated film. Yet the movie does develop a stronger leading female character, ultimately giving the film more purpose than just a light-hearted atmosphere.
Emma Watson, portraying Belle, the protagonist, exists as who we all imagined the real-life Belle to resemble. Watson walks, sings and acts as boldly and confidently as the animated Belle. As a forefront feminist in the media today, Watson certainly suits the well-poised role as she represents a character of both intelligence and strength. Whether she is waving off the unwanted and incessant gestures of Gaston, the narcissistic town hunk or befriending the inanimate, yet magically animate objects of the castle, Watson drives the story of Belle forward towards success.
Belle is undoubtedly a headstrong character, which is considered an oddity within the small community as she often veers away from the status quo. Watson does not struggle to illustrate these characteristics and commands a sense of respect from the audience with her determined persona.
Disney movies reach out to a vast audience of young children and adolescents around the globe, so it is a wonder how much intention was placed behind certain political undertones. A flurry of criticisms has been released prior to and following the opening of the movie, yet I believe the popular opinion aligns with high-esteem towards the movie.
While these eager, young faces filtered in and out of theaters across the nation this weekend, they left with messages of femininity and friendship. I believe these messages are integral for the future of new and re-created Disney movies. Beauty and the Beast remains a large success across the globe for the artistic devotion to remain with the traditional plot line, yet also bringing important issues to light.
As the weekend has come to a close and box office ticket sales are calculated, it is no surprise that Beauty and the Beast has broken records across the board. Garnering upwards of $170 million in North America and $180 million overseas over the opening weekend, the success of the film is staggering.