Perhaps nothing is more important, when it comes to Beauty and the Beast, than its music. The slowly withering rose is a close second of course, but if Beauty and the Beast wasn't a musical, I suspect it wouldn't have such the cult following and box office success that it has had. And the lyrics really have stood the test of time. "There must be more than this provincial life"? That one's a go-to. The jaunty sway of "No one fights like Gaston!" is classic. And of course, it's hard to beat "A tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme..." That's why any lyric changes in the new Beauty and the Beast live-action movie matter.
Now, the good news is that the makers of the live-action film are pretty dedicated to remaining loyal to the original, which fans love so much. Composer Alan Menken has stuck with the franchise in all its iterations: the original animated film, the Broadway musical, and this new film. And he's spoken to a number of outlets about the ways in which the music for the new film is similar to and different from the old one. Trust me, this guy is smart, and he cares. So you can check out the list below, of the biggest lyrical changes to songs in the new Beauty and the Beast, knowing that they were all done for a reason, to make this the most magical movie ever.
1. Marie! The Baguettes!
In this hilarious moment from the animated film's opening song, "Belle," Belle is trying to explain the plot of her book to the baker, but he interrupts to demand "Marie! The baguettes! Hurry up!" in a cadence and disgruntled tone that is hard not to love. As Refinery29 discovered, many an indignant Beauty and the Beast fan was stirred to comment when it was confirmed that this line, more spoken word than song, was removed from the new live-action film. I tend to agree with the sad fans: "Marie!" is a classic.
2. Gaston Gets Gory
In the new version of "Gaston," the character gets a little more visceral (and mean), singing "I hunt, I sneak up with my quiver and I shoot in the liver." Speaking with Comicbook.com, composer Alan Menken explained that these were original lyrics, written by the late Howard Ashman, that were cut from the animated film. The image, he said, was "a little hard for an animated film, but I thought it was great for this...You know, I think there may a little bit of extra aggressive edge to ‘Gaston,’ which is fun." I'm with Menken, I love this gross line.
3. "Be Our Guest" Gets More Vague
MTV writer Crystal Bell noticed that there was a slight change in a line from "Be Our Guest," from "10 years we've been rusting" to "too long we've been rusting," which makes gets rid of any ability to pinpoint exactly how long the Beast has been trapped and makes it easier to have realistic timelines and ages for the characters. Pretty small change for a pretty smart reason.
4. Gaston's Demagogue Side Comes Out
In the crucial and kind of frightening "Mob Song," Gaston leads a furious mob of townspeople to go kill the Beast. In the new live-action version, there's some added lines: Gaston sings "Call it war, call it threat, you can bet they all will follow, for in times like this, they'll do just as I say," and then Lefou sings "There's a beast running wild, there's no question, but I fear the wrong monster's released." These are completely new lyrics, not ones written previously by Ashman, and Menken explained to The Hollywood Reporter that director Bill Condon "wanted this sense of Gaston as a demagogue at that point, and the turnaround of Lefou." I'd say this was a pretty successful addition, and gives the film a sense of timeliness.
6. Seasons Change In "Beauty And The Beast"
And finally, there's a lovely new gem of a line in the new film's closing rendition of "Beauty and the Beast." The new line, which Menken told Comicbook.com was written originally by Ashman for the animated film but was ultimately removed, is sung by Emma Thompson's Mrs. Potts and goes, "Winter turns to Spring, famine turns to feast, nature points the way, nothing left to say, Beauty and the Beast." It's a gorgeous image and adding it back in is a lovely homage to Ashman. I adore this lyric change.
These lyrics may have changed, but only to allow the spirit of the original to remain the same. Farewell, sweet Marie, we shall nosh on baguettes another day.