Beauty and the Beast: Tale As Old As Time, But Does It Hold Up?
If you were like me, a child of the 90s, you definitely grew up with the heavy influence of Disney animated films. Whether it was Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Hercules or even the classic Beauty and the Beast, these films represent our childhoods. From sliding the VHS Tape out of its paper cover to rewinding the tape over and over to watch scenes or listen to catchy songs again. While the Disney Renaissance defined the 1990s with their animated mega-hits, Disney is now trying a new formula: remaking animated films with a touch more magic by converting them into live action.
I could drone on and on about how great the movie was, but after all this is a music publication not a film review. Just like the original, the Beauty and the Beast remake is a love story seeped in music. Just as he did with the 1991 animated release, Alan Menken has yet again returned to his old tunes to give them a new spin. Of course the movie features classics such as the title track “Beauty and the Beast”, performed by Emma Thompson in the film, and also the iconic “Be Our Guest” is present with Ewon McGregor on lead vocals as Lumiere. In addition to this, the songs “Belle” and “Something There” are virtually untouched as well. If you were to listen to them side by side the only noticeable difference would be the actors and actresses on vocals, but if you listen very closely you will be able to hear more of a French flare in the instrumental too.
Now that the songs that have remained the same are covered, it’s time to jump into the differences between the new and old soundtrack. Because so many adore the music from the original many will be shocked and dismayed to hear new songs and changes to old ones, but worry not! The only remaining song that has a few minor changes would be “Gaston” which is performed by both Josh Gad and Luke Evans. The only difference here would be the brief instrumental break in the song and small lyrical changes, but overall the song is the same or even just as good in my opinion. Outside of “Gaston”, there are three major songs that have been added by Menken to the 2017 remake. The first song would be “How Does A Moment Last Forever”. Within the film this song appears many times either in instrumental form, but it is mainly performed by Emma Watson. To avoid spoilers, I will refrain from explaining the meaning and context of the song, but also on the soundtrack only version there is a version by Celine Dion. The next song is performed by the Beast at the climax of the film at it is titled “Evermore”. To me this is the best of the new additions because it gives the Beast a chance to sing a love song, unlike the original animated film where he sang a few lines in “Something There”. Also, on the soundtrack version “Evermore” is performed by Josh Groban. Lastly, we have the melancholic tune “Days In The Sun” that features the castle staff lamenting their cursed states.
At the end of the day this soundtrack is just as good, if not better than the original version from 1991. To me, I feel as though this was another chance for Menken to go back and tweak his pervious work. While it may be odd to get used to the addition of new songs within the film they fit perfectly and make it a better musical experience solely based on the instrumenals and also the talented voice cast. If you haven’t seen the film yet…go see it! Also, if you’d like to give the new soundtrack you can find it on Spotify right now too!