The Tale as Old as Time Hits the Big Screen Once Again

“Beauty and the Beast” is an all-time classic from traditional French fairy tale circa 1740’s to a Disney 1991 animation to the live-action remake that hit theaters mid-March of this year. The original story is famous worldwide, making the release of this new version hotly debated. What’s the same? What has been changed?

“Beauty and the Beast” is incredibly close to its original; the story is broadly the same, as well as the narrations and music. However, that’s not to say there aren’t still some big differences in there. Here’s the biggest you need to know about.

Spoilers Ahead


Image via Disney

The Curse

In the original story, the curse had several plot holes in it that people took no time in pointing out. In the animation, the Prince has until his 21st birthday to find true love and, as the castle has been cursed for ten years, that means the enchantress basically punished a child (not cool). However, there’s no “ten year” line in the remake and the time measure is simply dependent on the rose petals. Each petal of the rose falling leads to the castle crumbling a little more and the cursed inhabitants becoming more like their household objects.

The effects also reach further to include the castle being cut off from the outside world and stuck in a perpetual winter. Originally, people questioned why the villagers didn’t remember the castle or its inhabitants. They just disappeared out of thin air; odds are, that’s bound to raise questions. To answer this problem in the remake, the villagers’ memories had been wiped when the curse took place, causing the villagers to forget their ruling class.

All this said, the biggest change made with the curse is the role of the enchantress. In the original, she is simply conveyed in the opening stained-glass windows, but here we not only see her in the flesh but have her as a recurring presence. Early on Gaston flippantly references the village’s resident spinster, Agatha, who reappears throughout the movie at key points and at the end, she reveals herself as the witch and reverses her spell, actively forgiving the Prince and making her seem much less callous as a result.


The “Beauty and the Beast” remake introduces teleportation as part of the witch’s curse. The Beast shows Belle a book that allows him to teleport to wherever in the world he so desires. How it works exactly is kept vague on purpose, but it essentially relies on dreams. It’s real, full-on teleportation too – not a vision or imaginary – with Belle actually bringing an object back through with her.

Belle uses it to travel to Paris by placing her hands on the book and picturing where she most wants to be. The two end up in an attic of an old windmill, where Belle was born and where she finally finds out what happened to her mother, which leads me to. . .

Image via Rotoscopers

Mommy and Daddy Issues

If there was one thing that people questioned from the original story it was this: where the hell are the Beast’s parents and what happened to Belle’s mother? Well my friends, we got our answer! We learn that the Prince was the subject of a troubled upbringing; his mother died when he was young, after which his heartless father raised him to be as cruel as him. The beginning shows Dan Stevens at peak douchebag, holding a grand party and acting like a spoiled brat. This look, however, is contrasted later in the film, with a flashback of him singing to his mother on her deathbed. Mrs. Potts further states the reason she and the rest of the servants remained when he was cursed is because they see his innate goodness.

Of course, Belle has her own parent issues. The Maurice in the film is an artist instead of an inventor, he’s more sincere and less zany, and longs deeply for his deceased wife, who he refuses to talk about. The fact that Belle had a single parent went untouched in the original and raised questions as to what happened to her mother. In the remake, she learns through Beast’s teleportation book that her mother died of the plague and Maurice left her deathbed to save their daughter.

The Music

The music from “Beauty and the Beast” is well known, with great hits like “Be Our Guest” and “Belle”. What’s of interest, however, is that the movie has three new songs: “Days in the Sun,” showing Belle and the Beast adjusting to life in the castle together; “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” a touching song from Maurice’s introduction and reprised by Belle after learning what happened to her mother; and “Evermore,” a dramatic lament from the Beast where he accepts his fate after letting Belle go back to save her father. None of them are as big a showstopper as those in the original, but they each are beautiful and expand the movie into a musical even more.


Sure the movie isn’t perfect, it has its flaws, yet it definitely holds up against the other live-action remakes made recently. Disney has for sure caught on to something here, slating future movies such as “The Lion King” and “Mulan.” The trend has dipped like a roller coaster: starting strong with “Maleficent,” plummeting down with “Tarzan,” and rising back up triumphantly with “The Jungle Book,” which got a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Beauty and the Beast” is definitely one of the greats and we should expect much more live-action excellence from Disney in the future.