As everyone returned to work Monday morning, it’s safe to assume rooms were buzzing with discussions about the highly anticipated “Beauty and the Beast” remake that debuted over the weekend.
Some may have been covering their ears, while others thoroughly examined each and every detail -- good or bad -- of the live-action update of the 1991 animated classic.
So how did the remake compare to the original?
Well, that’s still up for interpretation, but one thing is clear: There were many plot twists and updates that gave the newly released “Beauty and Beast” a completely different feel from the original.
Questions were answered, characters changed and some key scenes and moments in the film made the remake stand out -- not simply as a copycat but as a film that can stand on its own.
Here’s a look at nine ways the “Beauty and the Beast” remake differed from the original:
Warning: This post contains spoilers.
1. Belle is a teacher (kind of) and an inventor
In the remake, Belle (Emma Watson) is more than a bold, beautiful bookworm and devoted daughter -- she’s also a teacher and inventor.
It’s clear Belle is one of the only literate women in town. While other women are more concerned with clothing and beauty, Belle’s nose is buried deep in a book -- and she’s not ashamed of it. In fact, in the film she even tries to teach another young girl how to read before being ridiculed by residents of the town for doing so.
She held this impromptu lesson while doing her laundry. Rather than washing the clothes by hand, Belle attached a barrel to a mule and had the animal walk around in circles around a well, creating a washing machine, likely unseen before in the town.
2. Belle has a backstory, and the absence of her mother is explained
In the original “Beauty and the Beast,” the audience simply knows “crazy Maurice” (Kevin Kline) as a widower and Belle as his apparent caretaker. It was never clear who Belle’s mother was or what happened to her.
But thanks to the remake, those questions have finally been answered. With a little help from a magical book -- courtesy of the enchantress who cursed him -- the Beast (Dan Stevens) and Belle travel back in time to Paris, where Belle was born. The pair are transported into a tiny, disheveled studio apartment with a view of a busy street. It’s “much smaller” than Belle imagined. It’s here the Beast tells Belle what happened to her mother.
After spotting a doctor’s mask on the floor, the Beast concludes Belle’s mother died from the plague. A flashback between Maurice and Belle’s mom (Zoe Rainey), sick in bed, saying their farewells proves this to be the case. The woman tells Maurice to take Belle away so she doesn’t catch the disease as well. So he does, and the rest is history.
3. The Beast, too, has a backstory -- and there’s an explanation for his cruelty
The Beast was a rich prince, pompous and entitled -- but he wasn’t always that way. In the 1991 animated movie, the audience assumes the Beast was born like that, his attitude simply accompanying the crown. In the remake, we found out that’s not entirely the case.
While Belle asks Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and some others why they remain loyal to the Beast, they explain that they failed him when he was a boy. The Beast lost his mother at a young age, and the castle staff said his cruel father kept him away from her while she was on her deathbed. Therefore, they feel responsible for his behavior, because they never “protected” him from his dad, who they say turned him into a “Beast” well before his physical transformation.
4. “Gaston” features new lyrics
It’s true. Lyrics to one of the movie’s most popular songs, “Gaston,” sounded a little different than the original. While they were new to moviegoers, “Beauty and the Beast” composer Alan Menken said they weren’t technically “new” -- they were simply unused lyrics by the late Howard Ashman that didn’t make the cut in the original film.
“[They’re] not actually new lyrics, they’re actually Howard Ashman’s that were outtake things,” Menken told ComicBook prior to the premiere in Los Angeles. “We had also put some of the outtake lyrics from Howard in the Broadway show. And the reason that they hadn’t been used in the animated was that they were quite edgy.”
For example, the added lyric “I hunt, I sneak up with my quiver and I shoot in the liver” was too edgy for an animated film, but for this one, Menken said it was perfect.
5. Like Belle, the Beast is also a bookworm
Unlike in the original, the new Beast is highly educated, boasting about his expensive education while quoting Shakespeare and critiquing Belle’s admiration for “Romeo and Juliet.”
This is a sharp contrast from the original movie, where a bored and seemingly illiterate Beast needed Belle’s help sounding out words in the books. The Beast is anything but bored with the books and agrees with Belle that his huge library really is wonderful. The Beast doesn’t need any help reading a book, and Belle even catches his reading a romance alone in the garden at one point.
6. Chip is an only child, we assume
What happened to Mrs. Potts’ children, Chip’s brothers and sisters? While Chip (Nathan Mack) has always been front and center, it was made clear in the 1991 movie that he wasn’t alone.
In the original film, Mrs. Potts told Chip to join his brothers and sisters in the cabinet. This time around, Chip tucked himself in within an empty cabinet late at night with no explanation as to whether he had any siblings. We assume, this time around, he’s Mrs. Potts’ only child.
7. Gaston leaves Belle’s dad, Maurice, behind to die
Not cool, Gaston (Luke Evans). While trying to win the affection of his “future father-in-law,” Gaston pretends to believe Maurice’s warning that a strange Beast has taken his daughter, Belle, captive. So he and LeFou (Josh Gad) take a horse and carriage out in the middle of the night, asking Maurice to lead the way.
When Maurice approaches the path to the Beast’s castle, he discovers a tree that had been knocked down by lightning standing upright again. Gaston and LeFou exchange glances, implying that Maurice has lost it, and tell him it’s time to turn around. But Maurice refuses, explaining that they should head toward the right. Gaston loses his temper with Maurice and says he only entertained Maurice’s wild story because he wants to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. When Maurice says that will never happen, Gaston realizes Maurice will just get in his way, so he knocks him out and ties him to a tree, leaving him to the wolves.
LeFou, clearly uncomfortable with the idea of leaving Maurice for dead, pleads with Gaston to reconsider, but Gaston pushes forward and returns to town without Maurice. Little does he know, Maurice will beat him back to town, telling locals the story about how Gaston left him there to die. If only they believed him...
8. LeFou is Disney’s first confirmed openly gay character
The live-action “Beauty and the Beast” remake made history by featuring Disney’s first-ever “exclusively gay moment.” In the new film, Josh Gad’s character, LeFou -- Gaston’s best friend and confidant -- was presented differently than the 1991 animated version.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon told Attitude magazine. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings.”
At one point in the film, Gaston asks LeFou why he doesn’t have a lady. LeFou shrugs his shoulders and says he’s “too clingy.” At the end of the movie, LeFou is dancing at a big celebration inside the castle with Belle and the prince. He starts out dancing with a woman, but soon switches to partner with one of Gaston’s henchmen, who, earlier in the film, was pleased when the enchanted wardrobe dressed him in a puffy dress, wig and makeup.
9. The ending
In the 1991 animated movie, the Beast has until his 21st birthday to break the curse. In the remake, there’s no set deadline -- he simply just has to find true love before “the last petal falls,” referring to the enchanted rose.
And in the 2017 remake, that last petal does fall and the Beast -- who was shot by three bullets, rather than by arrows and a knife -- dies as Belle holds him in her arms on the balcony. At that moment, it appears the curse is final. Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) slowly become inanimate objects and say their final goodbyes. Belle take a long pause before finally telling the Beast she loves him as a tear slowly drips down her cheek.
Behind her stands the transforming enchantress, who originally placed the curse on the Beast and his castle. As she overhears Belle’s last cry, she lifts the curse, bringing the Beast back to life as a man and transforming all of the household objects back to their human selves. The enchantress then disappears without a trace.