Quick Hit: An example of a fairy tale that dares to think further than the source.
Belle and Beast are incredibly recognizable in this world. Through some extra hair on a guy and put him in a blue coat, and he’s instantly Beast to the world. Likewise, if you take a brunette and throw on a big yellow gown, she’s Belle in an instant. I personally think that is why this film was such a success. Whereas all the princesses have their moment at least once (and indeed, most start as princesses, not just marry into it), Belle is recognizable in both her blue and her yellow, whereas Cinderella is only recognizable in her fancy blue dress. Essentially, the success of the film lies in the ability to actually be any of its characters – they are the everymen of the Disney world.
And yes, I just wrote a paragraph about the comparisons of different Disney princesses. I must write for a film website or something.
Beauty and the Beast has been parodied and remade so many times, and been forced down our throats in so many poorly written TV episodes that it’s hard to believe this movie can exist in the same story plane as them. However, this film is terrific. Despite the age that has started to show around the CGI’d edges, I can’t help but think that this movie is one of the standards that animation should be held to (movies in general actually). That’s because – when characters talk, it actually means something to the plot of the story. There’s no extraneous dialogue, no unnecessary backstories. It’s all relevant and meaningful.
Along with that, the songs are terrific. I defy someone to listen to Be Our Guest and not actually come away humming. The fact that some of the takes of the songs actually were backups (Angela Lansbury’s recording of “Tale as Old as Time” wasn’t supposed to make the cut, but it was the best, despite her protests) is astounding, because the musical talent here is tremendous. And whereas some films (ahem, remakes soon to follow) stumble a bit over the handling of the big songs and big moments, that doesn’t happen here. They simply go together, like chocolate milk and cinnamon Poptarts.
Trust me on that last part if you haven’t tried it.
I’m not going to sit here and expound on the ability of the story to evoke emotion, or the way that Lumiere is one of the most memorable characters in the Disney multiverse. Instead, I’m just going to say that Beauty and the Beast is an “A”, and if you haven’t watched it yet, grow up and watch it.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"