Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve was the original writer of the French fairy tale, La Belle et la Bête, or Beauty and the Beast. De Villeneuve’s fairy tale was originally over 300 pages. After her death, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont rewrote and shortened the tale. In the abridged version, de Beaumont gave no credit to de Villeneuve and is still credited for the version we all know and love today.
Much of the original story has been altered over the years. Originally, Belle was one of six children. There were no magical furniture people and no Gaston. The concept of the castle residents being alive and enchanted was unique to the Disney version in 1991.
If you watch the video below, you can see that the live-action Beauty and the Beast (2017) is almost an exact replica of the 1991 animated Disney version. This past weekend, the new version earned $350 million worldwide!
Being a Disney fanatic and a girl who used to wear her Belle dress while carrying around a Belle Barbie doll, these details tugged at my heartstrings and evoked a ton of nostalgia. Some critics found this frustrating, as they were expecting new twists and turns in the live-action version. There were a few new scenes and added information. For example, Belle is portrayed as an inventor, her parents now have a back story, the Beast sings his own song, and LeFou is a more dynamic character. Other than that, the 1991 and 2017 versions are almost exactly alike.
I loved this. Despite the critics, I found myself constantly comparing the live-action version to the one I remembered from 1991. It was like a game, and it was fun! I would see Belle walking through the street and think back to the animated version and realize it was exactly the same, down to her movements. Even though the film is relatively the same visually, the story is more fleshed out and multi-dimensional.
So, if you’re going to see Beauty and the Beast in theaters, don’t expect to see something completely different. You will see a few new scenes and envision the world with real people, but the magic of the 1991 version remains.
Featured image courtesy of Geek Culture