Because Beauty and the Beast is my very favorite fairy tale, I've been trying to figure out how you could make that story work without the magic. Turn it into a 'real' fairy tale, like Ever After. It's *not easy* to do to my satisfaction. The reason the BatB tv show worked was because we knew the Beast would never transform. That was part of their tragedy. But to pull off a traditional telling of BatB with the roses and the transformation *without* the dramatic physical change...very difficult. One makes it an emotional change, generally, which is *part* of the fairy tale, but not all of it, when this story is approached. Or you do the physical transformation of the geeky character into the beauty, but to me that's not enough. That's more like an homage to BatB, not the real story. debela had a quite fine idea on how to do it using social class and personal uncertainty to make it work, avoiding a literal physical transformation but transforming status and emotional growth instead. It might just work.
But then the flip side I'm also wondering is if you could tell the story in film today and *do* the actual fairy tale. Use the magic and the roses and the transformation and still make it ... Ever-After-ish. Would people go for it, do you think? Would it still be...*real* enough, if you used the magic? I think it'd be much easier to pull off now, after LotR and Harry Potter, than it would've been ten years ago, but I wonder.