I could be wrong but I think a lot of us willed this film into existence. We campaigned that Emma be cast as Belle, a beautiful young girl in a small town in 18th century France who, unfortunately, also has a brain—a fact her townspeople cannot digest. Emma, who is also attributed with the same two qualities in real life, was, of course, the only choice for the part and our collective conscience didn’t fail us.
You saw the doe-eyed Belle drawn by an artist on screen all those years ago, but it still escapes me how Emma could be just as perfect for it. She has Belle’s stern, confident charm, but is the sweetest petal of rose when you need her to be.
Of course, that gorgeous, very familiar voice makes you think it is a friend, but it is so perfect that you discard that thought. All her three songs in the film evoke a different mood. She dreamily hopes for an adventure in ‘Belle’, the opening number, strikes a sombre note in ‘How Does a Moment Last Forever’, and is just a girl falling in love in ‘Something There’.
Dan’s Prince Adam is the first, very painted face we see and we hate him instantly as he ridicules the enchantress who ultimately curses him and his castle. But even from under his thick beast-suit and from on top of his stilts, he manages to change our hearts about him. His booming voice and the kindness in his body work despite his non-expressive, furry face.
As for the changes from the original, there are quite a few very subtle, but significant ones. Belle’s father, Maurice, was a town idiot in the original and we couldn’t care less if he got eaten by wolves. But this time, Kevin Kline plays a man with a painful past, raising the stakes further when he gets taken prisoner by the Beast.
There is not an entire library in the town just for Belle and she visits Père Robert, the only considerate man in town who lets her borrow any of his ten odd books. Belle is not only an avid reader herself but also tries to teach other