Seeing Emma Watson as Hermione Granger was the last character I saw her in. As it was for all the cast of Harry Potter. Maybe it’s just me, but after Harry Potter, I couldn’t digest to see any of them in another role. I’d always been unable to erase the unwillingness to replace the imprint of themselves as the magical wizards and witches.
One day, I was looking up Emma Watson’s Wikipedia page where the announcement of a live action adaptation of the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast, starring her as Belle captured my attention.
The concept of Beauty and the Beast is about a cursed handsome prince locked inside a frightening beast’s body, who keeps a beautiful young girl as his prisoner. The first time I saw a live adaptation of it was the song Ennodu Nee Irunthal from the Tamil movie, I. The lyrics and the motion picture captures the concept flawlessly, right from the opening lines themselves.
Ennodu nee irunthal, uyirodu naan irupene
Meaning: If you stay with me, I will stay alive.
The beast’s rose in the original story sheds each petal to symbolise the end of his humanity is edging nearer and nearer. For humans, being alive is to honour their existence of humanity. It’s rather better to die instead of living as an out of control wild animal, which applies to all of us and not just the beast. That’s what I perceive the first line of the song as.
Incidentally, the title – Beauty and the Beast – frames Belle and the beast, but I suspect there is another imperative shade to the words. Some may look upon Belle’s love for the beast as Stockholm Syndrome, but I disagree with that idea. Because the frame I see for the title is the beast and Gaston, the brawny egomaniac who sets his psychopathic eyes on Belle and is ready to go to any vicious lengths – such as killing her father – to make her his wife. Under the assumption the sun shines out of his head, his opinion of loving a woman is having a maid at the house. In the end, he spares no patience or understanding to Belle’s repeated pleas to him to leave the beast alone and that he’s harmless. All he cares about is his pride over muscular strength and to use it on something to prove he’s the best man in the world. Throughout the story, we see a beast in a man’s physical beauty, and a beautiful heart in a beast. Hence the title, Beauty and the Beast. That beautiful heart wins another beautiful heart.
It’s interesting to see how turning oneself into an animal, physically, causes purity to blossom in their hearts. The beast realises the true meaning of humanity and being a man during his curse and in Brother Bear – one of the most underrated movies to exist and one of my most favourite – Kenai learns the true meaning of love as a bear.
After I watched the 2017 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, I wished I could have a positive opinion – even though a wonderful effort to create the beast’s appearance, his castle, the enchanted household items and furniture, and the overall fantasy element goes a long way – but sadly, it wasn’t possible. Though I love Emma Waton and she’s an incredible actress, I felt she wasn’t the right person for the role as Belle. I know I’m earning appalled reactions from people who loved her in the movie, however, I prefer Saoirse Ronan in her place.
But above who played who in the movie, I’m unable to warmly receive this story as a live motion picture after falling in love with the original animated version. It works both ways, the Baahubali TV Series to name another example. Live motion picture to animation doesn’t give me a good vibe either. This is not a subject of broad mindedness but the toying with originality. According to me, first will always come first.
Please share your opinions on Beauty and the Beast as well. I would love to see your views.