We all know the tale as old as time that is Disney's 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast. It was a smash hit when it came out and was the first animated film in history to be nominated for best picture. It wasn't nominated for best-animated picture because that category didn't even exist back then, it was nominated for best picture PERIOD! It didn't win but that was still impressive because an animated film being nominated for best picture was absolutely unheard of. It's still a beloved classic to this day and for good reason. The animation is gorgeous, the romance is amazing, the characters are likable and memorable, and the songs are incredible. Many have said that this movie is perfect and that there is nothing wrong with it. I personally disagree with that for reasons I'll get into later, but it's still one of Disney's best movies.
So with Disney's trend of doing live-action remakes of their animated films, it was only a matter of time before they decided to do a remake of Beauty and the Beast. The remakes have varied in quality with some being absolutely awful and a disgrace to the original films (Maleficent and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland films), some actually surpassing the original films (Cinderella and The Jungle Book) by expanding upon them and fixing the problems the original movies had, Pete's Dragon was pretty much just as unmemorable and bland as the original while being completely different from it as possible, and the 101 Dalmatians films (Despite being made long before this trend started) being just as good as the original.
As you can imagine, many fans of the original movie were skeptical but were still going to see it. There were also many fans that were excited about the movie. The result was a movie that didn't differ too much from the original movie but made some changes, added new songs (With the help of legendary Alan Menken), and expanded upon other things and bring something new to the table. The film was visually stunning, had a perfect cast, wonderful new songs, a phenomenal romance, and it was interesting to see certain aspects expanded upon to help give it more depth.
So it's no wonder that with a remake of a beloved classic, there is a lot of debate over which film is better. So as someone who adores both films to pieces, I thought I'd do an old vs new of these movies. Since I love these movies so much, I feel I can be fair without being clouded by nostalgia or just thinking a live-action film is instantly better than an animated film and all that bull crap. Which film is better? Well, these nine rounds should help figure that out. Keep in mind this is all just my personal opinion.
ROUND 1: Best Belle
Starting with one of the two main title characters, let's see which Belle is better. Both are wonderful characters that are strong, don't follow the crowd, can think for themselves, are kind but have their limits, love to read, and "want much more than this provincial life." The original Belle is beloved by many and for good reason. She learned to love her love interest for who he was and not how he looked but she's not a victim of abuse like many claim she is. She doesn't submit to his orders but rather stands her ground and calls him out on his crap, which none of the other castle residents would do. She was also willing to give up her freedom to save her father's life. Plus, she didn't fall for some good looking guy like Gaston because she knows he's a jerk and wants someone who is kind-hearted, smart, and treats her right, all of which Gaston isn't.
However, there are some problems with her character that were improved upon in the remake. First being that she's not just considered odd because she doesn't fawn over Gaston and reads, although that is still part of why she's considered odd. She's also an inventor that is ahead of her time. She invented the washing machine to help save time and gives her more time to read her books. She was also trying to help teach a little girl how to read, which seems to be a threat to the villages and their small minded ways. She was bringing new ideas that were ahead of her time that the people from her time think are strange because different ideas and things that are new make people afraid because they don't understand. She's basically threatening their way of life with her inventions, her love of reading, trying to teach another girl to read, and her wanting more in her life than just a husband like the other women in her village. This helps show how much alike her and the Beast are because they are afraid of him because they don't understand him, just like how they feel about her. True, they don't feel the need to kill Belle for what she does but they still seem to look down upon her because she doesn't conform to their way of life and refuse to accept new ideas. Her being an inventor also shows more of her being creative and her intelligence. People often think Belle is one of the smartest Disney Princess just because she reads, even though she mainly reads fairy-tales. So it really adds a lot more to her character.
Another aspect of Belle that was improved upon in the remake was that it's a lot easier for me to believe she's bored with her life in the village. Why? Because during the song Belle, she actually looks bored except for when she's reading her book or doing something that interests her. Some people have criticized Emma Watson's performance in this song because of how she's just walking around without any emotion and a blank expression, but that's the point. She's bored with the same predictable routine that she goes through in this village "every day, like the one before." She only shows expression and looks interested when she's doing things that interest her like talking to Jean Potts, getting across a pond by hopping on rocks, talking to Père Robert/the village chaplain, or reading one of her books. She only smiles when something she enjoys is happening and is bored and emotionless the rest of the time in the song number because that's the point. The animated Belle just seems to smile a lot even when she's complaining about how bored she is but it isn't as convincing because she doesn't look like she's bored or unhappy with her life in the village. Her voice doesn't even sound bored when she's complaining and is just too upbeat. Emma Watson's singing voice is nowhere near the level of Paige O'Hara's singing voice but Emma knew when she was supposed to look and sound happy and when to look and sound bored during the song.
Something I really loved about the live-action version of Belle was that she was more straightforward with people. I mean, in the original movie, people talked about Belle behind her back, but she apparently talked behind the Baker's back by mocking his baked goods. That kind of makes her look like a hypocrite because of how she doesn't like people talking about her behind her back and saying she's odd but she just does the exact same thing. I know it was minor but it still kinda bugged me. The remake had Belle just go right up to the Baker and bluntly say, "The same old bread and rolls to sell" while paying for one of his baked goods. I also loved the expression on his face when she said that and just walked away. It wasn't very polite but at least she was being straightforward with people and not talking about them behind their backs like they were to her. She also is blunt with her father about how it's obvious where she got the idea that she's odd, from the entire town singing a damn musical number about it. I also love how she's just blunt with Gaston and gets straight to the point that she's not interested in him, isn't playing hard to get, and will never marry him as polite as she can be. I mean, the original Belle tried to let Gaston know she wasn't interested in him but she wasn't quite blunt enough because she was a little too polite. Clearly, this is a guy who needs to be told flat out that she doesn't want anything to do with him because he just takes it as playing hard to get and that she'll instantly say yes to marrying him. He didn't get the message that she wasn't interested in him until she had him fall into a pit of mud. Before that he had planned a wedding for them before even asking her if she'd marry him, as well as assume they'd have six or seven sons that would basically destroy her body from being pregnant with so many kids. The remake had Belle make it perfectly clear to Gaston she wasn't into him, could think for herself, would never marry him, and wasn't going to be submissive like the other women in her village.
Both versions of Belle are great but the remake took the original version and added more depth to her, expanded upon the character, and improved her while still being true to the spirit of Belle. Emma Watson even said that the animated Belle was one of her role models that helped mold her into the person she is today and therefore wanted to do the character justice, so there was a lot of love done with the character in the remake. So point goes to the new!
ROUND 2: Best Beast
Now we've come to the other title main character, the Beast or Adam as a lot of people call him. Both characters are complex, well-developed, have anger issues, are self-entitled but learn to care about others, and are insecure about their... well... beastly appearance. These two are both really similar and really different at the same time. The original was apparently cursed when he was eleven, so I guess he's a lot brattier and definitely suffered through puberty worse than anyone else. This also makes his anger and temper tantrums a lot more over-the-top and exaggerated. This does work for animation but because he seems to be all muscle, he doesn't come off as very intelligent. Even when he starts becoming gentle and kind, he didn't really seem very intelligent. I'm not saying he's dumb, far from it, but it just seems like they did that to make Belle look better. Uhh, Disney, he was cursed to become a beast for being cruel to an old woman that was really a beautiful enchantress when he wasn't even a teenager yet, you didn't need to do that. There was also a deleted scene that was later added to the DVD in the song Human Again where apparently he doesn't know how to read, which is considered canon apparently. I find that to be really hard to believe because even if he was cursed at the age of eleven, he should at least know how to read because that's a basic skill for someone that age. Plus, he's a prince, he should be well-educated because of all the lessons and classes royalty is required to have at a young age, particularly when you're the heir to the throne. At that age, he should be more well-educated than most adults that weren't from high society because royalty are given more lessons than other kids their age. Hell, at his age he has more to do than a college student would for their all the years they'd be there before graduating. How could he not know how to read? He said he learned a little a long time ago, but he should know more than just a little back than. It just really hard to believe and makes it look like he's supposed to be an imbecile compared to Belle in order to make her look better.
The remake gives him basically the same personality as the original, except that he's not as over-the-top with his anger and tantrums and acts more like a refined gentleman. This is a cool callback to the original fairy-tale because of how the beast behaved like a refined gentleman, aside from when he gets hungry he hunts animals in the woods instead of eating regular food with Beauty (What Belle was called in the original fairy-tale). This makes sense because being as over-the-top as the animated version wouldn't work in live-action and would just look weird. We also learn more about his backstory with him being close to his mother but she died when he was a child and his father made him as cruel as he was. So he's cursed because of how he was raised, how emotionally hurt he was from losing his mother and not wanting to open himself up again in fear of feeling that pain once again, and his anger towards his now dead father. It helped to add more depth, layers, and complexity. As well as help his development because of his love for Belle and helping her grow because of her mother issues. He was also more of an intellect that was well-read, so he's more of an equal to Belle and she finally has someone to talk to that can also challenge her.
However, that doesn't mean the remake isn't without his problems. He didn't really see Belle being at the castle as an oppurtunity to break the spell until his servants suggested it. I guess you could say that he really lost all hope but considering that his servants would end up dying and becoming actual furniture, he should've jumped at the chance to break the spell. Plus, it takes away some meaning and depth there was in the original character in that particular scene. He was impressed that Belle was so selfless she would give up her freedom to save her father. It also showed his softer side that he has deep down inside with how he felt guilty about not letting her say goodbye to her father, so he gives her a room and says she can go anywhere she wanted in the castle, except the West Wing. That was an important part of the Beast's growth but it doesn't destroy the character. It just made it slightly more difficult for me to get as invested in him as I would later on.
This is a hard choice because both are wonderful characters but I think I'm gonna have to give this point to the new. I love how he's more awkward, is an intellect that can challenge Belle and be an equal to her, has more complexity, and has a more natural character development.
ROUND 3: Best Villain
But what is a Disney movie without a great villain? Well, in some cases it still works and that's also the case here. Gaston was never really a good villain and felt more like a bratty child that threw a tantrum because he couldn't get his way. He's really just some stupid, good-looking, arrogant, macho meathead. He doesn't really have any brains and acts too much like a silly obstacle until the last third when they come to take Maurice to the nut house and all the scenes afterwards. So it really makes it hard to get invested in him as a legitimate threat. I mean, there are villains like Ursula, Hades, Yzma, and Gothel (Just to name a few) that manage to find the right balance between comedic and being a real genuine threat to the heroes. The animated version of Gaston most of the time felt like a lame side character or a bumbling evil minion to a real villain and didn't feel like a real villain himself. I felt he was a poor man's version of Charming from Shrek 2 (NOT in Shrek the Third) but that movie made sure that Charming was just a minor villain while the real villain was a character who was a legit threat.
The live-action version of Gaston was by no means a great villain either but they actually made him genuinely threatening. He had fought in a war before the events of the movie and you get the feeling he loved fighting and the killing. There's evidence to support this with how Lefou was trying to calm Gaston down by having him think about the war with murder and grieving widows, which disturbingly calmed him down. When people fight in a war they get PTSD afterwards but Gaston seems to have loved every moment of that, showing he is pretty sadistic. He even goes further with things by actually leaving Maurice in the woods to be devoured by wolves when he wouldn't give him his blessing to have Belle marry him. Also, while he's not an intellect or a genius by any means, he is a lot more clever in the remake. He thought of trying to win over Maurice to gain Belle's favor and manages to come up with a plan to get Maurice out of the way when he claimed Gaston left him in the woods to die. He also manages to intimidate Lefou without having to use brute force like in the original, which makes him feel more like a threat in general.
So while neither are great villains by any means, the live-action version at least felt like a genuine threat and not just some goofy obstacle. Point goes to the new!
ROUND 4: Best Supporting Characters
This round is going to be a little difficult to talk about because in many ways a lot of the characters are the same in both movies but also have differences that make them better. So first I'm going to talk about certain individual side characters that were in both movies, then do a paragraph about some other characters that were in one or both of the movies, and then say who the winner of this round is.
To be perfectly honest, I think both of them are equally as good because they both feel like the same character. They're both natural born leaders, are energetic, kind-hearted, clever, fun-loving, mischievous, romantic, optimistic, kind of cocky, determined, and a good friend. They're both equally developed and involved in the plot of their respective movies. Not to mention both have a lot of fun tormenting Cogsworth and having witty banters with him.
While both are great, I feel like he was better in the original animated movie. Both of them are sticklers for the rules, cowardly, pompous, and full of themselves. However, I felt like the animated version was more entertaining because he was more energetic, pompous, and just an adorable dork. In the remake, he felt more cowardly than pompous and wasn't that energetic. Plus, it really rubbed me the wrong way with how he'd prefer to be an inanimate object (Even a lifeless one) than to be human again and be with his wife, who obviously loves him so much. That just really irked me, even though I still like him in the remake. So the original Cogsworth is better in my opinion. He felt more involved in the plot of his movie, had more dimensions to his character, and was just more memorable and entertaining.
She's a great character and a wonderful motherly figure to Belle in both version but she was better in the original. She still felt like Mrs. Potts in the remake but she just didn't feel as involved in the plot and wasn't as fleshed out as the original. I think it was because she had a little less screentime in the remake than she did in the original because there were other characters and elements they were trying to develop and flesh out. However, she is one of the key characters of the movie, so that kind of effects the film, but not majorly. She's great in the remake but is just better in the original.
This is really no contest because Chip in the remake is pretty much just there and isn't involved in the plot like he was in the original. He was actually there to help Belle so she could try and help the Beast in the original movie. He's still cute and entertaining in the remake but considerably less so. He's by far better in the original.
It's funny how they are both in some ways the same character and yet completely different at the same time. In the remake, he's still kind of an oddball but not nearly as much as he was in the original. He's no longer an inventer but is an artist and makes music boxes that represent different parts of the world, so Belle can experience the world without having to leave the village. He's very overprotective of his daughter due to how he lost his wife to the black plague when Belle was only a baby. He still paints pictures of his deceased wife. He's still a loving father to Belle who tried to make her feel better about being odd because of how her mother was odd. He's great in the remake but I felt he wasn't as eccentric and entertaining as he was in the original. He was so much more of a goofball that it gave Belle someone she could talk to that would understand without judging her. Plus, in the remake when he's being taken to the asylum, it wasn't as convincing because of how he never came across as someone that would be considered odd enough to be insane like in the original. People always thought he was crazy in the original and it was better established than it was in the remake, where it wasn't really established at all. So I feel like he was better in the original.
I think we all know which version is going to win with this character. The original Lefou SUCKS! He's not a real character but rather just a punching bag and Gaston's kiss ass lackey. He was only there to not look as appealing as Gaston and to help boost his already overly-inflated ego. In the remake, he's undeniable SO MUCH better than he was in the original. He wasn't just some idiot but was actually really smart and actually made Gaston look stupider in comparison, like when Gaston was leaving Maurice to be eaten by wolves and Lefou said: "Have you considered maybe a less gruesome alternative?". He wasn't a bad person and would feel guilty about being part of the terrible things Gaston would force him to be a part of. He later reforms after being betrayed by Gaston and even decided to start helping the castle staff fight against the villagers, he even saved Mrs. Potts from falling to the ground and breaking. He's really funny and so entertaining without feeling forced or anything. I also feel like Josh Gad adds so much charm to the character. It's obvious the remake version of Lefou is MUCH better!
The Feather Duster:
I love both versions because both are flirtatious, fun-loving, smart, sweet, loyal, and just so entertaining. However, she's more fleshed out and developed in the remake because she's given more of a part to play in the film. So there's really no question about it that the remake version, named Plumette, is better than the original version (Whose name is either Babette or Fifi) because she's just more fleshed out as a character and is more active in the story.
Both of them are insanely entertaining! They're energetic, flamboyant, kind, caring, stylish, are hilarious, and have such flair. I feel like she's better in the remake because she's more fleshed out and active in the plot. She was even more entertaining during the fight scene in the remake than she was in the original and that fight scene in the original is a major part of why I fell in love with the character in the original. She's even given an actual name in the remake (Madame de Garderobe) and we actually get to see her human form, which we never got in the original. Plus, they have her singing randomly a lot even when it's not for an actual song, which is awesome because she's played by freaking Audra McDonald. She's definitely better in the remake, even though I love both versions.
Another important character to talk about is The Enchantress, though that is more so with the version from the remake. In the original movie, she's only seen in the stain-glass window opening and wouldn't make an actual physical appearance until the sequel Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Chrismas in a flashback scene, which was well-done. However, she's not really seen outside of that and wasn't given much of a role in the film beyond that. Personally, I kind of felt she should've been the villain instead of Gaston because of how lame a villain Gaston is and how she'd be an actual legit threat and an interesting villainess. As for the remake, now named Agatha, she plays more of a role in the film with a fleshed out personality but still remains mysterious. She's a ravishing beauty but hides that by appearing older than she looks in her normal form and more undesirable, in order for her to not draw attention to herself so she can help be a guiding hand in the events of the story.
Her curse is crueler in the remake because if the Beast fails to find and earn love before the last petal fell, not only would he remain a beast forever but the servants will permanently be inanimate objects and will no longer be alive. She even erased the Prince and servants affected by the curse from the minds of the people who loved them. Many people think she was being crueler to the servants but I feel like compared to the Beast, she was being kinder. Should the Beast fail, their suffering is over because death is too easy a punishment and their loved ones wouldn't have to deal with the pain of mourning their loss. The Beast would still remain in his monstrous form and would forever be alone and have to fend for himself. Being alone and not able to be among humans because of his appearance would make him go insane and likely give in more to the beastly nature to where he'd lose his mental humanity and become a beast mentally as well. The curse was essential to better the kingdom because of how cruel Prince Adam was when he was human, so by giving this punishment and being a guiding hand in the events of the story, Agatha was helping to save the people of his kingdom.
She's more active in the story and therefore more interesting than she was in the original. But she's still really mysterious and unpredictable because you're never sure what she's up to when you first watch the movie. So she's definitely better in the remake.
The only new character from the remake I find entertaining would be Jean Potts (Mrs. Potts husband and Chip's father) because of how he is forgetful, funny, and doesn't really look down on Belle or her father. He's actually one of the few people in the village who are genuinely nice to Belle and she's genuinely kind to him as well. He was even hesitant about Maurice being locked up in a madhouse. The other new characters like Cogsworth's Wife or the Piano that is the husband of the Wardrobe and so forth aren't all that interesting or memorable. They're not bad but not enjoyable either. The Bimbettes are more entertaining in the original because they're more energetic and over-the-top than they are in the remake. Plus them disliking Belle because their mother dotes on her really wasn't very necessary and didn't really add much to the story. They just weren't as entertaining in the remake. The dog (Named Sultan in the original but called Froufrou in the remake) and Philippe had more personality in the original, due to being animated and therefore weren't too grounded in reality. Philippe could actually have facial expressions in the original to show some personality.
Overall, while the remake did an admirable job with the characters we know and love, I feel the original did better. It limited its characters and gave most of them a fair amount of screentime and personality. The characters in the remake that were added, aside from Belle's mother and Beast's parents, didn't serve much of a point to the plot. So point goes to the old!
ROUND 5: Best Songs/Music
This is gonna be hard because there are new songs added in the remake. So the way this will work is I'll talk about the songs that were in both movies, as well as the servants longing to once again be human songs in each movie to compare which was done better, and talk about the new songs added and how well they fit in with the movie and if the movie could've stood without them as a whole.
Both are wonderful but I feel like the remake did a better job with this song than the original did. There's more energy put into the choreography and as I've said before, Belle actually looks and acts bored in this scene except for when she's supposed to be interested in something. Sure, Emma Watson's voice isn't as good as Paige O'Hara's but she acted the scene out better and really conveyed how bored Belle is with this provincial life.
I feel like Paige O'Hara was better in having the emotion of her voice with the reprise of the song Belle than she was in the previous song. She sounds frustrated and her beautiful voice helps with the power of the number. I also felt the visuals helped build up the big "I want adventure" power in Belle's voice. The remake did an admirable job and Emma Watson did a good job in showing Belle's frustration. However, the visuals just weren't as powerfully built up with the instrumental music and Emma's voice isn't very powerful, which makes when she sings on top of the hill not seem as grand and epic. The original did this better in my opinion.
I love how the remake really put so much energy into the choreography than the original did. Plus, it's really funny how Lefou is paying everyone to help Gaston's overly inflated ego to get even bigger and they didn't just join in so easily like in the original. Plus Josh Gad has a great voice, which is a lot more appealing than the singing voice of the original Lefou. Luke Evans also has a great voice and captures the spirit of Gaston, the egomaniac. His voice isn't as good as Richard White's, but he's still amazing. One flaw with the remake was how they had Lefou unable to spell Gaston's name, which would've worked in the original but doesn't work in the remake because of how he's actually really smart. Overall, the remake did a better job here.
Be Our Guest:
The remake definitely did a stellar job with one of the most iconic scenes from the original movie. It was visually stunning, full of energy, and Emma Watson really tries her hardest to act enchanted by all of this, despite that she's really just sitting there working off of nothing. However, I feel like the original had a bigger scale and better visuals. Plus, Belle was able to be more invested in this scene because she wasn't having to work off of nothing there like an actress in a live-action movie would. The remake did this scene proud but the original is still better.
Both are well-done and I felt showed the characters getting closer together with a blooming romance. The original definitely had better singing (Though Dan Stevens definitely has a better voice than Robby Benson) and a good amount of emotion in their voices. I did like the acting better in the remake and it showed how well their relationship was developing more gradually. Both also have very appealing visuals. I guess I prefer the original more because of how the singing is better, the visuals are better, and it still shows a strong connection between the two main characters. It all takes place in one location, which gives it more of a simplistic and intimate charm to it.
I'm honestly not a fan of the song Human Again. It's really unmemorable, it really drags on, feels like the plot is stopping just to do this song, and if it was taken out we wouldn't miss anything in terms of story. The visuals are stunning but the song wasn't needed and isn't even good at all. Days in the Sun is a song showing the servants longing to be human again but isn't as cheerful as Human Again, which really helps you get a feel on what they're dealing with. However, they all seem to have a glimmer of hope for the future. It also shows more of the past from the Beast, which adds to his character. It also shows Belle growing as a character because she's wiser but isn't sure of what can be done. Plus, the song has freaking Audra McDonald, so it definitely wins!
Beauty and the Beast:
I feel like both Angela Lansbury and Emma Thompson are on the same level of vocal talent but Angela is slightly better. The visuals and reimagining of the most iconic scene in the original movie were done very well in the remake. However, it didn't feel as grand and epic because it didn't feel as big. The ballroom in the original was MASSIVE, which put it on a bigger and grander scale. It also looked more visually appealing than the remake. The dancing was wonderful in both versions though. I'm gonna have to go with the original on this one.
The Mob Song:
Both were done amazingly, had a dark atmosphere, were well choreographed, and good singing. However, I feel the original was better because the singing was definitely MUCH better. Although, I did like how the remake added a part for Lefou where he realizes that Gaston might be the real monster and not the Beast.
Beauty and the Beast Finale:
I feel like the remake did a better job with this song because it kept the chorus at the end but added more to it. The choreography showed more than Belle and Adam dancing around but showed everyone rejoicing and singing together. I also loved the new lines that were sung by Mrs. Potts and they really add to the song. Plus, it has the singing of Audra McDonald, so it definitely wins.
Beauty and the Beast (End Credits):
I loved the cover done by Ariana Grande and John Legend, both who are singers with amazing voices, and I think they did an admirable job with the song. My only problem, which is sadly a big one, is that the instrumental music didn't feel as grand, epic, and timeless as the original cover with Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. It felt more like the instrumental music that would be for karaoke than for an actual movie. The original end credit version felt like something truly grand and magical with its instrumental music and two of some of the most talented singers of all time singing it. They definitely have better voices than Ariana Grande and John Legend. So the original wins here.
The song Aria didn't really add much in terms of story other than to show the glamorous life Adam was living before he was cursed. But it was mainly there to show off the gorgeous voice of Audra McDonald, which isn't a bad thing. The two movie versions of How Does a Moment Last Forever were nice and did add something to the film but were too simplistic and short. Lets face it, the version everone remembers is the end credit version sung by Celine Dion. The song Evermore really does add a lot to the film and the character of the Beast. It shows his development, his love for Belle, and his remorseful regret about the person he used to be and how he believes he deserves to suffer. Plus Dan Stevens has a great voice! Overall, I felt the music in the original was better because it felt more epic, was shown on a grander scale, and had better singing (But Audra McDonald beats everyone in the original Beauty and the Beast). Point goes to the old!
ROUND 6: Best Visuals
Both movies have absolutely stunning visuals! I have to say I love how the remake has a lot of people of color in the background and it's not a big deal because it's a stylized thing. The costumes are more historically accurate for the most part and stood out just as much as the clothes in the original. I felt Belle's clothes in the remake were a disappointment compared to the original. I did really like the updated look for her blue dress because it suited the character and her adventurous nature a lot better and just looked better and more detailed in my opinion. I also loved her wedding dress, it was so gorgeous. But the rest of her outfits, aside from her gorgeous wedding dress, couldn't hold a candle to her outfits in the original. I really wish they had done a better job of making the outfits, especially her gold dress and her pink dress, come to life. I do love the update of the other costumes on the other characters, especially with Gaston and the Beast (Particularly his blue suit).
However, some things don't translate as well to live-action as they do in animation, so some things are gonna look off. I am impressed with how well they were able to make the castle staff look in their enchanted object forms. I particularly love how they used a china pattern to have the faces of Mrs. Potts and Chip, as well as the updated look to the feather duster. However, they don't look as appealing as their animated counterparts (Aside from the feather duster), which I felt had more personality to their appearances. I think Cogsworth and especially the Wardrobe look particularly weird. The enchanted objects just look more appealing in their original animated form. I thought the effects on the Beast looked fantastic but I wish they had Dan Stevens in the hair and makeup that they were originally going to do for the film, it would've looked so much better. He does look great in the live-action movie but I thought he looked better in the original. Plus when Belle reveals to the villagers that the Beast is real, you can barely see him in the magic mirror in the remake. In the original, it was a lot more clearer and the magic light from the mirror made it even more clear. The huge shocked reactions in the remake makes me think that they must all have eyes like hawks if they could see it.
I also felt that the visuals of the castle and other locations looked better in the original because they felt like they were on a bigger and grander scale. Plus, the inside of the castle had more of a variety of colors while in the remake it seems to be mostly gold, which doesn't help it stand out as much. I felt more of the atmosphere and the beauty from the animated film and its visuals than I did from the remake, even though it was still gorgeous looking. So point goes to the old!
ROUND 7: Best Writing
This will be difficult to talk about because of how both films have different approaches to how they tell the story of Beauty and the Beast. The original is more simplistic and shrouded in mystery while the remake is more detailed and gives explanation without it being a lot of boring exposition. So for each I'll just talk about the pros and cons of both to see which is better overall.
In the original, due to it being an animated movie that had to be limited to an hour and a half, doesn't have as much explanation for certain things and is more like a simple fairy-tale. It runs more on emotion than it does logic, which the remake does too but the original ran a lot more on emotion because of its lack of explanation. We don't get to see too much of Belle and Beast progressing as a couple in a slow way but rather it's left up to the interpretation of the audience. They could've been together for days, weeks, or even months. This is a good idea because of how the audience can think that they spent more than just a few days together and did have more time to get to know each other. However, some might argue this makes the romance feel rushed and doesn't feel as natural as the progression that was shown in the remake. The romance in the remake is shown in only a few days but it also goes a lot slower in showing the two main characters developing true feelings of love. They have deep conversations with each other, learn things about each other, share a love for reading, and even help each other. However, I'll get more into this when I get to the final round. Also, because of how they leave how long Belle has been in the castle up to interpretation and most people like to think she had been there for months (Due to how it was Spring at the end even before the curse was broken), it opens up a few plotholes. How was did Lefou manage to stay outside in that same spot in the cold without dying from the cold? Even if he was only there for a few days he'd still die from the cold, not to mention a lack of food. What was Maurice doing during these months when he had left to find the castle the same night that he had been sent back to the village and couldn't get help from anyone? It really makes it kind of messy, even by fairy-tale logic standards.
The remake does expand more on other elements, due to how a live-action movie is usually longer than an animated film. It explains more about the Beast's backstory and how he became the person he was before he was cursed, so we can feel more for him than for him to have been just a spoiled and bratty child. We also get to learn a little more about Belle's mother and the effect it had on Belle and her father. It also explains why the Enchantress decided to curse the castle staff as well instead of just Adam. It also explains why no one questioned why their prince and their loved ones that worked in the castle just disappeared.
However, while it did fix certain problems with the original, it still has its own problems. One particular problem was how the Beast had a magic book that could transport anyone to any location they desired. This did work with helping Belle to figure out what happened to her mother and be able to move on with her life. However, it makes her going back to save her father on horseback really pointless. She could've used the book and saved him and then use the magic to take them back to the castle away from everyone. Also, why doesn't anyone in the mob question why Belle is in a fancy ballgown when she said she came from the Beast's castle? Wouldn't that be proof enough, since no one in the village would own something so extravagant that only a princess or an aristocratic lady could afford? Also, while the romance between the Wardrobe and her husband is kind of cute, there isn't much time spent with them together for us to really care about it. Also, why does she keep falling asleep? Why can't she go downstairs to see him? She does it in the climax when battling the angry mob, so why didn't she just go and see him?
I also felt the prologue was done better in the original because of how it was told through stained-glass windows until we got to the Beast in the West Wing. It added a bit of mystery to it that we couldn't see anyone physically because they were trying to build it up. The remake does its own thing by having us actually see the events physically and it has its pros and cons. I do love seeing the actual Enchantress in her full beauty and power, we get to hear Audra McDonald sing, it's more interesting to have the Enchantress doing the narration because it shows what a big part she took in all of this and how she'd play a bigger part in the story, and I felt that they kept the Beast hidden better in the West Wing because all we see is his hand. But we see Adam's face during the prologue and it really takes away from the build up. Sure, he's covered with a lot of makeup and a powdered wig but it still takes away from what would be the big reveal of his face at the end when he becomes human. They should've hidden his face from the audience. Also, by showing the scene they also left out when the Enchantress in her disguise warns him not to be deceived by appearances and he dismisses her again.
However, the big reveal of seeing the Beast in the light was built up better in the remake because of how you can clearly see the Beast in the dark in the original. They should've made him look darker and harder to see like in the remake to make the built-up better. Although, the reveal was better in the original, though the build-up wasn't as good as the remake.
The remake does fix a major ethical flaw that was in the original, which really is a HUGE problem. The fact that the Enchantress cursed Adam when he was only eleven-years-old and was kind of just acting out of stranger danger. Children are taught that you shouldn't trust strangers or let them into your home and Disney even taught this with the movies Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio. It seems WAY too harsh for the Enchantress to judge a child that doesn't really know any better so harshly, much less his innocent staff. The remake cursed him when he was an adult, where he's at an age where he should know better and therefore could be judged and punished for his actions with the curse more fairly. Plus you could tell that Agatha, the Enchantress, was playing a guiding hand in the events, both with her magic and physically being there, and was trying to help both the prince and his subjects, even though her method was extreme, to say the least.
Also, why didn't the remake actually reveal the Beast's real name? They expanded on other things, why not give him a name like the Cinderella remake did by giving Charming the name Kit? Did they just assume we'd think his name was Adam because of how that seems to be the name that 85% of people associate with him as his real name? Well, calling him by that name instead of just the Prince or the Beast would help. Also, if his parents are both dead, why is he still a prince and not king? Is there a custom that he has to marry first in order to become king in order to ensure an heir to the throne?
However, I did like that they had Belle know about the curse, though no one told her how to break it because it would put a lot of pressure on her to fall in love, which would keep it from being genuine. It also shows how smart she is to have figured out that everyone was cursed instead of just always being curious but never figuring it out other than it just being an enchanted castle. She even sees a ripped picture of a young man in the Beast's room but she never seems to come out and say she knows everyone was cursed and no one tells her. That makes her come across as a little slow, as opposed to the remake where Belle not only knew the obvious about the castle being an enchanted castle but that everyone was once human but were cursed.
Overall, it's pretty hard to decide which is better. Both have different approaches and they do well with their styles. I guess it depends on a personal preference in whether someone prefers something that is more developed in explanation or more clouded in mystery. I'm gonna have to go with a tie with this round. I usually don't when I've done other versus articles in the past but I feel like that is the only answer for this round in this article. Both have an equal amount of pros and cons, despite how fans of the original claim the film is as perfect as a film can get, so I can't really decide which is better, neither in an objective way or in my personal opinion. So both the old and the new get half a point in this round.
ROUND 8: Best Ending
I didn't include this with the writing because it's a really important element in both movies that deserves its own round. I'm just gonna say right now that the old wins this round because of one particular thing the remake did that rubbed me the wrong way. Belle technically wasn't the one who broke the curse. The last petal fell before she told the Beast that she loved him and this was done to have an emotional moment where the servants are turned into inanimate objects and basically die. It was a really emotional moment and I was wondering how they were going to have the film end happily but it also really hurt an important role Belle was supposed to play. I don't blame this on the character because she's a very well-done character, I blame it on the writing of the ending. I guess she still plays a part in the curse being broken because of how Agatha sees how much Belle loves the Beast and uses her magic to revive the rose and break the curse. But it really took away from how powerful this scene was because of how Belle did this herself by admitting she loved him and showed her being the hero on a grand adventure like she always dreamed of. The finale was done better in the remake, as I mentioned above, but this was a serious plot point that overtakes anything else in the ending. But Belle asking Adam how he'd feel about growing a beard was adorable! So as I said before, point goes to the old with this round!
FINAL ROUND: Best Couple:
We've now come to what is the most important element of both films because of how it is the driving force behind it, the best couple. Just like with the last round, I'm gonna come right out and say which movie wins this round, the new. Why? Well, there are quite a few reasons for that so let us begin. Shall we?
First being how the original, while the couple is still amazing, kind of makes it conform SLIGHTLY to the cliche of the smart and competent woman with the slow and not as competent man. True, it's nowhere near the extreme as a lot of other couples out there that make it really annoying, but they still make Belle seem more flawless by comparison. Like for example, Belle never seemed to do any wrong when they were spending time together and opening up. She was even able to beat him in a snowball fight and he never got the chance to throw even one single snowball at her. Also in the Human Again scene, he somehow didn't know how to read, which I've already gone over, so I won't go into that. It also felt like his personality made a complete 180 and he didn't keep any aspects of his old self at all. Don't get me wrong, he shouldn't be aggressive or anything like that but he should keep certain aspects of his original personality to make it feel more natural. It makes Belle look like a Mary Sue that could change him without much effort. Again, they're still great but they have their problems. Plus we don't really get to see them have conversations or get to know each other after they stopped arguing. True, we can imagine that they got to know each other over a certain passage of time like months or so. However, the problem with that is that it slightly feels more like they're telling us they're in love instead of showing them falling in love more naturally. In fact, I'm starting to realize they aren't as great of a couple as I originally thought. Don't get me wrong, they're still amazing and have wonderful chemistry, but I'm noticing more of the flaws with this couple. Ariel and Eric actually have more conversations where they get to know each other than Belle and Beast do and Ariel doesn't even talk for most of the time she's with Eric.
The remake actually develops the chemistry and the romance that is supposed to bloom between the two main characters. They actually have deep conversations with each other, talk about their insecurities, discuss their emotional baggage, and compliment and balance each other like a real couple. Belle isn't so perfect and the Beast could actually challenge her on things and be right. Like when he challenges her about how there are better things to read than Romeo and Juliet with his large library. This helps to show what kindred spirits they are and gives Belle someone who can challenge her intellectually. She's lived in a small town where the place she's been getting books was limited to like less than ten books, so she has someone who can provide what she's been wanting, someone she can talk to outside of her father, Père Robert, and Jean Potts. Plus, unlike them, Beast can challenge her and help her expand her horizons because he also shares her love of books. No one in her village was interested in reading or the things she was interested in. So Beast doesn't come across as someone inferior to Belle but someone who can be her equal. He even beats her in a snowball fight!
The two of them have real conversations and talk like a real couple would. Like when she catches Beast reading a story that had romance in it, which he mocked her for with Romeo and Juliet, and he tried to hide it but she still pointed out it was still a romance. So she was helping him to expand his horizons as well because he decided to read something he wasn't interested in before. Plus it showed he maintained aspects of his original personality because of his stubbornness to admit he was trying something that he originally mocked. It wasn't Romeo and Juliet, but he did read a romance that was much better than two dumb teenagers killing themselves because of hormones. They compliment one another very well because of how they act like a real couple that have conversations that makes their romance feel more genuine. The progression was much more natural and felt like they were showing us them falling in love and experience it as well. It also helps that they have two amazingly talented actors that have such incredible chemistry. These two really make me feel for them when one of them was going through something emotional because the other felt their pain as well. The moment when the Beast died really killed me, especially seeing the tears and the absolute heartbreak that was shown on Belle's face, thanks to Emma Watson's phenomenal performance.
This is a couple that is really hard to pull off. There are other adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and a lot of them fall flat because of how they don't show the progression of their friendship and eventual romance. The original couple were wonderful but I'm noticing more flaws with them as a couple as I was writing this article. The remake expanded upon the development to make it more genuine and improved the couple so much with the help of two talented actors that have stellar chemistry. I even felt their chemistry still being there when the Beast took human form. This is the most important element of all in these two movies, which is why I saved this round for last. As I said earlier, the final point goes to the new!
Well, this is a first, I've never had the results come out a tie in any of the versus articles I've done. But honestly, I feel like this is the best possible outcome for this article because I never felt either film was better than the other. With the remakes of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, I felt that they blew the original movies out of the water. In contrast, the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movies and Maleficent were absolute disgraces to the original movies. But with the remake of Beauty and the Beast, I feel it's in the same category as the live-action 101 Dalmatians movies, by being just as good as the original. I feel like people are going to like the version they're gonna like because of personal preference but I feel like they're both objectively on the same level as each other. So this comparison ends with a tie because it's my article and I can do whatever the hell I want. Enjoy these two absolute masterpieces that will forever be Disney classics no matter what.