5/24/2016

Beauty and the Beast Source: Disney Pictures
There have been dozens of interpretations of Beauty & the Beast over the years, but science-fiction has yet to get it right.

This week Beauty and the Beast took the internet by storm. The trailer for the live-action adaptation of the popular Disney animated movie starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens has audiences enthralled. The French fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve about a girl who falls in love with a monster was published in 1740 and has been beloved for generations.

It would seem that the material is made for science-fiction with its themes of acceptance and a loveable monster, but it just hasn't worked. Like the classic tale, the idea has married good and bad elements. Here are the best and worst genre adaptations of the classic fairy tale ranked from worst to best.

6. Beauty and the Beast (1962)


The 1960s saw a resurgence in the popularity of classic movie monsters and this film tried to capitalize on the trend. It tells the story about a beautiful woman (Joyce Taylor) who unknowingly marries an Italian duke, (Mark Damon) who turns into a werewolf at night. The special effects are cheap and the story never goes above "B Movie" levels, but it's good for a laugh. A sad, depressing laugh.

5. X-Men: The Animated Series (1993)


"Beauty & the Beast" is an episode of the animated TV series based the comic book. In it, the animalistic genius mutant is known as "Beast" and falls in love with a blind girl. Her father is a rampant mutant hater which leads to him being hunted as a monster. The episode serves as a way to give the character a focus for the episode and not much else.

4. Beauty and the Beast (2009)


After a series of horrific murders are blamed on Beast (Victor Parascos) he and Belle (Estella Warren) must work together to find the real killer. Cheaply produced in Australia it was released on the SyFy channel to poor reviews. Although it's been called "plain old silly B-movie fun". Or just silly and stupid.

3. Beauty & the Beast (2012)

In 2012, The CW network had a hit series of shows combining science-fiction and teen drama, so they decided to reboot the popular 1987 CBS series as a crime drama. The show focuses on a New York City police detective Catherine Keller, played by Smallville star Kristin Kreuk, and a mysterious man named Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan).

Unlike the 1987 show Vincent is a military vet who was part of a genetic experiment that turned him into a monster. The show is panned by critics, but won several People's Choice Awards and is being canceled after three seasons.

2. The Quantum Rose (2000)


The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro is a science fiction retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" as a space opera. Kamoj Argali the ruler of a poor province is forced to marry the brutal ruler of a neighboring province named Jax Ironbridge. But before they could be married she's kidnapped by the monstrous Prince Havyrl (Vyrl) Lionstar.

While the book is enjoyable it's also notable for using the characters and plot points to play the roles of mathematical and physical processes of coupled-channel quantum scattering theory. The book won the 2002 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2001 Affaire de Coeur Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. This book isn't a faithful adaptation of the story so it shows that sci-fi can't get the concept right.

1. Beauty and the Beast (1987)


Classic series starting Terminator star Linda Hamilton as a tough New York attorney and veteran sci-fi character actor Ron Perlman as a deformed lion-like man living underground.

While his origin is shrouded in mystery it's strongly implied that his appearance and nature came from scientific experiments. The show took the classic tale and reinterpreted it as a crime drama but it was the love between Vincent and Catherine that made the show. It touched on themes of loss, prejudice and acceptance.

While the show got rave reviews Hamilton left the show after the second season and it was canceled after the third season. Although it has a short run it has a strong cult following even today. That said, the fact that the show flopped after the love story ended shows the concept never had much appeal without it.

Which is your favorite interpretation of Beauty and the Beast? Which is your least favorite?

About the Author: Maurice Mitchell
I'm an avid science fiction fan, former professional graphic designer, and certified blerd. After the death of my Star Wars action figures, I use my powers for good and not for evil.
Visit my concept art blog: http://filmsketchr.blogspot.com

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