Beauty and the Beast may be a tale as old as time, but the tradition of updating classic stories for a new generation is almost as old. Disney’s live-action remake starring Emma Watson as Belle succeeds in keeping the structure of the 1991 animated version intact while adding in new subplots and songs. Screenwriters Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos must have also perused the Internet while penning their script, because the new Beauty and the Beast fills in over a dozen plot holes left by the animated film.
In fact, four years ago I myself had twelve questions that needed answering. As of today, every single one of them now has one. In honor of that achievement, here’s a look at how Disney updated one of their most successful family films by adding a mere half an hour to the runtime.
WARNING: Minor spoilers for Beauty and the Beast beyond this point.
#1: We finally kind of know who the Beast is.
The 1991 film glosses over establishing who the Beast is because it doesn’t really matter. The Prince doesn’t even get a name. To this day, he doesn’t have a canonical one, though most agree it’s Adam due to the Disney wiki. But what you can get away with in a children’s cartoon doesn’t fly in live-action. While Dan Stevens’ version still never gets a name, we at least know now that he is indeed the child of the French king, though it’s still not clear if the Beast is the heir or the spare.
#2: Disney fixed the Enchantress being a jerk to a child.
Using numbers and ages given within the animated classic, you can conclude the Prince was approximately ten years old when the Enchantress cursed him and his entire castle for breaking the rules and letting strangers in the house. The new film sidesteps this entirely by having the Prince be a haughty and hedonistic adult. It’s far more satisfying to see a rich manchild punished for judging by appearances than wondering how a decade as a mythological creature would warp the psyche of a teenager.
#3: Belle no longer lets Gaston into her home.
Belle borderline hates Gaston in both versions of the Disney film, so it never made any sense why she wouldn’t just pretend to not be home when he came knocking on her door with another unwanted marriage proposal. Watson’s Belle is instead accosted outside her home — made possible by the fact the film has Belle and her father living in town instead of on a farm. Having Belle retreat inside her home and shut the door in Gaston’s face is a small, but welcome, change.