The non-animated version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is delightful and Emma Watson, as Belle, does not fail to charm. The film debuts in the United States on March 17, 2017.
Watson says the movie puts a different spin on the original Disney version. Her character is similar in that both Belles are book worms and do not seem overly interested in societal norms. However, Watson explains the differences.
In the 1991 version, the heroine is meek, who is seen in the first scenes obliviously walking through town with her nose in a book. Gaston, an overly arrogant man, pursues her with relentless determination.
Feminist Twist on a Centuries-Old Fairy Tale
Watson’s feelings on feminism are clear. She is quite vocal about her opinion, so it seems logical that the projects she chooses to work would reflect her viewpoint.
She thought that Belle’s story was vague. What was the girl doing with her time? Why was she considered to be odd? In pre-production, they decided to give the character more of a backstory.
In the original Disney version, Belle’s father is an eccentric, absent-minded inventor. Whereas, in the 2017 version of “Beauty and the Beast,” Watson tells Entertainment Weekly that the protagonist invents the first prototype of the washing machine.
The actress explains that Belle sought to free herself from the traditional drudgery of washing clothing by hand. The machine enabled her to spend more time on the things she loved, particularly her books.
Watson Explains Beauty and Beast’s Relationship
Some critics of the fairy tale contend the relationship between Beauty and Beast is that of a prisoner and captor. Watson felt this was also a problem for her. So, she explained, she researched Stockholm Syndrome because “it’s something I really grappled with in the beginning,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Watson determined that Belle was not a victim of the Syndrome due to several factors. The first that seems to be on the British actress’ mind was the prisoner falls in love with the captor out of desperation.
The fact that Belle constantly argues with Beast causes Watson to think that her character is not a victim. She further explains that Beauty maintains her independence and is certain of her freedom.
Although Beauty is truly a prisoner in the beginning, eventually she and Beast come to a tenuous agreement. He has difficulty with congenial behavior, however, Beast makes the effort to befriend Belle. The more his demeanor thaws the more she finds nice things about her captor and the rest is history.
Watson Sings and Dances Her Way Through “Beauty and the Beast”
She chose not to wear a corset in the film, which caused some derision among traditionalists. Watson did not really need one, as viewers will see, she cuts a fine figure in her costumes.
The dancing scene between Belle and Beast is delightful and Watson charms her way throughout the film. Her voice is enchanting when she sings. The Harry Potter alum convincingly interacts with dancing and singing cartoon characters. Viewers and fans are sure to be wowed by Watson’s performance in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”
By Cathy Milne
Entertainment WEEKLY: Beauty and the Beast: Emma Watson addresses questions over Beast relationship
New World Encyclopedia: Beauty and the Beast
IMDb: Emma Watson
IMDb: Beauty and the Beast
Image Courtesy of Kingsley Huang’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License