By Alex Doria
The stories that you grow up with have a tendency to stay with you. When you’re a kid, you don’t just watch a movie or read a book passively; you take the stories in and they become an essential part of yourself.
For me, one of those essential stories is Beauty and the Beast. When the news broke that Disney would produce a new live-action remake of my favorite childhood film, I could feel the little kid who used to wear her Halloween costumes while she watched Disney VHSs begin to wake up.
My inner child became even livelier when she saw the new teaser trailer and proceeded to watch it fifty times over on YouTube. From the gorgeous previews of the Beast’s majestically revamped castle to the familiar music of Alan Menken, the trailer promises a beautifully reimagined film that will still hold true to its predecessor.
What’s especially great about what we see in the trailer is what we don’t see. We hear the Beast’s growling voice (as well as Lumiere’s) and of course our courageous heroine, Belle. Belle is aptly being portrayed by Emma Watson and we catch a small glimpse of her face obscured by the enchanted rose. Trailers these days tend to show way too much of the film so that by the time I actually sit down to watch the movie, I feel like I’ve seen it already. This trailer’s subtlety was a nice change of pace.
Although the trailer is brief, it was a reminder of why I have always found this story so beautiful; it’s about a young woman, whose love of reading made her perfectly accessible to my bookwormish self while growing up, who yearns for more in her life.
Cue the scene where Belle runs off into a field after rejecting Gaston (Ew, I can only imagine how awful he will be in this new film) and sings the words that have always been playing in the back of my head ever since I heard them: “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere / I want it more than I can tell / And for once it might be grand / To have someone understand / I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”
Belle is referred to by the residents of her town as “a beauty but a funny girl.” The “funny” thing about Belle is that she reads books for fun and doesn’t fall into the designated categories that a woman should be i.e. a preening princess who swoons after Gaston. She is criticized for her curious mind and for not caring about the things that her society deems the most important (one of those things not being literacy, I guess…)
But watching Belle while growing up showed me that none of that commentary matters because the girl who reads wins the day in this story. Her character, her intelligence, her kindness, and her love, tame a beast. Yeah, sure, she walks alone through town with a book in front of her face and doesn’t fit in, but she has every head turned. Belle saves the day and breaks the curse because of who she is, not what the rest of the world wants her to be.
Since the new film will not be out until March (sigh), I will have to content myself with watching the animated film over and over again. But let’s be real, is that such a bad thing? And besides, we all a need a dose of Disney from time to time.