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Top 10 Differences Between 1991 and 2017 Beauty and the Beast

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Savannah Sher There are many elements that remained the same between the 1991 and the most recent 2017 version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Some loved new fresh version. Here’s our list of the top 10 Differences Between 1991 and 2017 Beauty and the Beast! The top differences we noticed are The Beast’s magical book, Le Fou’s character changes, the curse is different, we learn more about Belle’s mother, and we learn more about the beast.

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Top 10 Differences Between the 1991 and the 2017 Beauty and the Beast

It may be a tale as old as time, but some alterations have been made. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Differences Between the 1991 and the 2017 Beauty and the Beast.

For this list, we’re looking at the most significant changes that were made in the 2017 live-action version of the popular Disney film. A mild spoiler alert is also in order.

#10: There's a New Character

While the story has always focused on the two titular characters, the original animated film endeared viewers to all of the other residents of the Beast’s castle. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip all play charming roles in both the 1991 and 2017 version of the film, but in the live-action one, there is also a brand new character in addition to the ones we know and love. Maestro Cadenza (played affably by Stanley Tucci) has been transformed into a harpsichord and is in a relationship with the Wardrobe (known as Madame de Garderobe in the newer film.)

#9: The Beast's Magical Book

For the most part, the 2017 movie follows the same narrative and structure that fans are familiar with from the classic childhood favorite. One notable exception though is that a new magical object is introduced: a book belonging to the Beast that can seemingly transport readers to anywhere they want to go. Belle chooses to visit the home that she shared with her parents when she was an infant, which is also the place where Belle’s mother spent her final days. The scene is a touching one and solidifies the relationship between Belle and the Beast.

#8: LeFou's Character Changes

One piece of information that was revealed before the launch of 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” caused quite the stir. The film’s producers announced that the movie would feature the first ever explicitly gay character to appear in a Disney movie. While Lefou was definitely somewhat enamored with Gaston in the 1991 original film, there was nothing obviously romantic about his feelings. Also, Lefou acts with more moral agency in the newer movie, questioning some of Gaston’s choices and expressing doubt over his violent and villainous actions.

#7: The Enchantress Plays a Bigger Role

In the animated classic, the enchantress who puts a curse on the Beast and his castle is for the most part an off-screen character who fits the trope of “faceless bad guy.” In the updated version, however, the film’s creators decided to give the enchantress more screen time, as well as a more developed character. The enchantress is seen in a variety of moments throughout the story, and is portrayed as a resident of the village that Belle and her father live in. This ultimately ties into the film’s message that appearances can be deceiving.

#6: There Are Several New Songs

The original “Beauty and the Beast” is one of Disney’s most beloved musicals, with memorable songs like “Be Our Guest” and of course the number which bears the film’s name. While renditions of these classic songs appear in the 2017 as well, composer Alan Menken also returned along with lyricist Tim Rice to cook up a few more tunes. The new additions include an ensemble piece entitled “Days in the Sun” and the bittersweet “How Does a Moment Last Forever.” The latter song resurfaces multiple times throughout the film with Celine Dion lending her vocals during the closing credits. Most notably, the Beast gets his own solo performance with “Evermore” that gives viewers insight into his character.

#5: The Curse Is Different

One of the most significant changes made to the storyline of the modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” is the fact that the curse is even more extensive than in the original. Not only are the residents of the castle cursed, but the villagers have also had a spell put on them that prevents them from remembering their loved ones who worked in the castle. On top of that, when the last rose petal falls, the castle staff are doomed to turn into inanimate objects. In this newer version, Belle doesn’t tell the Beast she loves him in time to break the spell, and what follows is a scene that is genuinely heartbreaking.

#4: Gaston Is a More Serious Villain

Even in the animated movie, it’s clear that Gaston is a pretty bad guy, but the writers for the live-action version decided to ramp up his character to be even dastardlier than before. While cartoon Gaston may be a little egotistical and presumptuous in his assertions that Belle will eventually agree to marry him, he doesn’t go as far as what is essentially attempted murder. Having Maurice thrown into an insane asylum is one thing, but leaving him to be eaten by wolves is something else entirely.

#3: Belle Is An Inventor, Not Maurice

Belle has always been known as one of the more feminist Disney “princesses,” with her love of reading and her ability to stand her own ground with the Beast. In the 2017 film, however, the producers decided to take her character a step further and make her into even more of a brain. Live-action Belle is an inventor who used her creativity to make her life in town simpler. Fans of the animated original will remember that her father, Maurice, was an inventor in that film. Now, he specializes in making music boxes instead.

#2: We Learn More About Belle's Mother

After watching the 1991 version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the audience is left wondering about Belle’s mother, why she isn’t present, and what her story was. With the extra time available in the 2017 version, the writers decided to explore what happened to Belle’s mother and how it has affected her. Maurice is reluctant to tell his daughter much about his deceased wife, so Belle has to do some digging on her own, which she accomplishes with the Beast’s aforementioned magical book. She learns that her mother died because she was afflicted with the plague and finally gets some closure.

#1: We Learn More About the Beast

One of the most interesting parts of the newer 2017 film is the opening scene where viewers get a glimpse into the Prince’s past before being transformed into the Beast. The audience actually sees how vile he is and how poorly he treats the people around him. It is also revealed that like Belle’s, his mother also died when he was very young. In the 1991 movie, we don’t actually get to bear witness to his past at all, so it makes the character feel more real and relatable when you can understand a little more about him. Also, while the animated movie brings up the prince’s age, the newer version keeps it more vague.

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