It’s really hard to top the original Disney Beauty and the Beast film from 1991. After all, it was the first animated feature to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and is still the only one to have done so when the nominations list was limited to five. #Impressive.
But, the new live-action Beauty and the Beast comes pretty darn close in a lot of ways, from its stunning visuals to new takes on our favorite songs (hello again, Alan Menken and queen Celine Dion!). Even though the new movie DID leave out a lot that we love the original for, it also added a lot of new stuff that ensured the spirit of the original was intact while giving the story a bit more depth. Like…
1. Belle’s inventing prowess.
Were we the only ones silently cheering when Belle just had the tools Maurice needed in times of crises, like getting out of the psych ward buggy with her hairpin? The laundry machine made out of a horse and barrel was also genius, and we bet the woman who yelled at Belle for teaching her kid to read was just jealous.
2. The relationship between Maurice and Belle.
This dynamic isn’t really fleshed out so much in the animated version, but whether it’s a nod to the writers or the acting of Emma Watson and Kevin Kline (most likely both), the depth of the relationship between father and daughter is really defined in the live-action version. Oh, and Belle asks for a rose from his trip — sometime that wasn’t in the Disney animated version, but is in the original story.
3. Gaston being less…Gaston-y
Don’t get us wrong, because Gaston was still over the top in this movie. However, his actions felt a little bit more realistic and raw than the animated version’s. His pompousness was toned down a smidge with a tad less sexism, and we could almost understand why Belle was at least polite when rejecting him (the first time). We still hated him just as much by the end, but Luke Evans’ Gaston made that hate more of a slow burn where you were almost rooting for him to be different.
4. The new songs.
We’re still sad “Human Again” didn’t make the cut, but we’ll be singing “Days in the Sun,” “Evermore,” “How Does a Moment Last Forever” — and of course, all the newly recorded versions of our favorite original songs — for a very long time.
5. The bigger role of the enchantress.
The enchantress, a.k.a. Agathe, doesn’t just show up at the beginning. She is present throughout the film, first to lay the curse on the prince, then to rescue Maurice, and finally, to lift the curse after Belle professes her love to the Beast. She narrates the prologue too! With this, we get a little more of a peek inside the human side of the enchantress, and yet another character to add to our favorites list.
6. The snowball fight…well, that ONE snowball.
You guys remember the snowball fight in the movie, right? It’s pretty gentle, as snowball fights go, and no one is out for a winter-wonderland homicide. In the live-action version, the Beast just goes for it and knocks Belle flat on her back with an icy projectile to the face. It’s hilarious after you realize she is not, in fact, dead.
7. The magic book.
There are a lot of criticisms about the book that transports Belle and the Beast to Paris around the time when Belle was a baby, after her mother died, but this seemingly “unnecessary” plot point does so much for the story. It finally tells BATB fans what happened to Belle’s mother, brings Belle closer to Maurice, and adds an element of deep friendship and vulnerability between Belle and the Beast. It’s absolutely wonderful.
8. Belle catching the Beast reading a romance story.
There’s a moment where Belle comes up on the Beast reading about Guinevere and Lancelot and she totally makes fun of him. He tried to defend himself by implying he’s reading more for the King Arthur legend side, but Belle and the whole audience know he’s lying and it’s adorable.
9. Literally everything about LeFou.
LeFou serves as little more than a comic-relief character in the original film, but thankfully, Josh Gad’s live-action version is so much more than that. He is a fantastic example of how a person can change into something better through a personal journey, and a great lesson in loyalty. LeFou switches sides by the end of the film, and even finds love during the final dance scene. A LeFou spin-off film is not something we’d say no to.
10. The household objects “dying.”
This is the moment I, personally, cried the hardest: The moment the last petal falls, right before Belle tells the Beast she loves him and all the objects in the household have to tell each other goodbye. From Lumière holding Plumette, to Mrs. Potts calling wildly for Chip, and the coat rack catching him before he falls, I just actually need to stop writing this right now before the tears start coming again. This scene was extremely well done, and brought so much more humanity to the objects that made the movie that much more emotional of a journey.