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Opinion: Live-action adaptations keep the Disney dream living on

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Lily James is Cinderella in Disney's live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale which brings to life the images in Disney's 1950 animated movie. Credit: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Lily James is Cinderella in Disney’s live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale which brings to life the images in Disney’s 1950 animated movie.
Credit: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Growing up just a mere 45 minutes from Walt Disney World, I lived out my childhood days regularly watching all the classic Disney movies, usually the movies that contained the beautiful, seemingly perfect princesses that I dreamed of becoming when I was older.

As a little girl, I couldn’t care less about whether the princess on the screen was a cartoon character or not; I just loved the colorful and cheerful scenes, the glorious singing voices and, of course, the moment that the princess and prince finally found true love and lived “happily ever after.”

Although I hold the same love for the classic Disney movies today, I prefer to watch movies that involve real-life actors and actresses, because I find that I can relate to them more than I can a computer-generated character.

Therefore, I am super-excited to see Disney and director Bill Condon pair up and recreate the classic tale of “Beauty and the Beast,” this time with actress Emma Watson playing Belle.  Who cares if people want Disney princesses to stay animated? Having an in-the-flesh actress play a princess won’t ruin tradition. If anything, it will help viewers of all ages, especially young girls, relate to the princess.   

On Monday morning, Watson announced via Facebook that she will portray Belle in the upcoming film, and just like me, it seems she couldn’t be happier:

“It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ My 6-year-old self is on the ceiling — heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

This re-creation is not a first for Disney, as it debuted “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp. Now, Disney is in production of “Cinderella,” starring Lily James, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham Carter, to name a few. The movie is set to open in March.

I honestly don’t care whether it’s amazing Emma Watson playing the princess or gorgeous Lily James, I just love the fact that Disney is finally modernizing its classic tales for a rapidly changing world.

This upcoming trend of reviving Disney classics will help girls, and even boys, realize that a young adult just like them can be a princess or prince.

Let’s be real here, viewing an animated movie might be fun, but never once have I felt a strong connection to a character who is the product of someone’s design. Instead, I find joy in watching human characters, with real bodies, their own voices and real emotions.

So, props to Disney for attempting to bring a modern twist to its classic films, which will allow the company to continue living “happily ever after.”

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