Tale as old as time

Time to get back on a regular posting basis. Like I said, I have a lot of posts in mind, including my cruise ship adventures...(which I am all prepared to write, look for it maybe next week.) but since I did a less movie post in the last one, I wanted to return to a straight movie analysis here. Consequently, you are about to receive my rant on Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Random I know, but it was one of the movies featured at the "seaside cinema" during the cruise and as I watched, even in moments of my delirium,(because we fell asleep almost every movie we watched in that "theater"..) I found that I had very strong feelings about this movie and was seeing it with eyes very different from when I was a child.

Retro 90's Flashback Confession: As a child growing up in the '90's, Belle was indeed my favorite of the Disney princesses...I owned the cassette tape of the soundtrack, and on many occasions I could be found in my room with my hair in a Belle-esque ponytail, strutting around and singing along to Belle's song (because of that song nearly 20 years later I spent nearly a whole month in France mispronouncing the word "bonjour" before I figured it wasn't as exago as the song) .I LOVED pretending to be Belle. Why? Hello, because Belle is the smartest of the princesses duh. How does a five- year-old come to this conclusion? Because Belle reads of course! That must make her smarter than the others.  I kid you not, this was my logic.But she wasn't just smart, she was kind, beautiful and had a certain wit about her. Perfect example for anyone right? That is....until you become a jaded adult.

Now now, I'm not about to start ranting about how Disney ruined my childhood and never to allow your children to watch Disney films again. Quite the contrary, I love them and they were a great part of my childhood. I will definitely pass that legacy on to my kids. But what I am going to say is that watching this movie now in the stage of life I'm in, I just saw it in a whole new way that I don't know that I can un-see. (This is what happens when you become the official sound board to your friends and they lay out all the red flags of their love interests that they refuse to see and you just want to scream... ARE YOU BLIND!?) So what did I find from this harmless Disney film....well I'm just going to say it, and my apologies beforehand who I offend :) ....but.... Belle is kind of a hypocritical idiot and the Beast has serious anger problems that a week of good behavior ain't just going to cure.

So let's start from the beginning with Belle. We are introduced to her in a song that she and the townspeople sing about how she's a misfit who doesn't fit in because she prefers fiction to reality. Let's be honest....you've met people like this in real life too and that's a pretty good reason for them to be a misfit (cough FREAK!! cough) I mean sure, I obviously love fiction too which is why I write a site talking about movies. But fitting in with society is important too. Mind you, I'm not saying CONFORMING, but at least putting in an effort to be among the land of the living. I don't think Belle really does that at all, in fact, in the reprise she sings about how she's kind of above it all.. Very humble girl! So after our introduction to her, she winds up at the castle of the Beast looking to find her father who was just taken prisoner there. She begs Beast that he let her father go in exchange for her own freedom. Girl. your dad looks like he's pushing 70. Was that really the smartest choice? See what I mean. Girl isn't as smart as you think. Kind yes, but smart....not so much there. I mean seriously, how many years left can her Dad really have? But anyway the Beast agrees and I'm pretty sure says something along the lines that she will be his prisoner FOREVER. She agrees to these terms.

Feeling bad about locking her in the tower, Beast instead lets her have a nice cozy room elsewhere in the palace and then proceeds to tell her where she is allowed and not allowed to go within the castle. He is very clear that the west-wing is completely off-limits. There is no way to misunderstand this because the way Beast says it pretty much guarantees you will die if this order is disobeyed. So what then does Belle do? Well after having a dinner presented to her from singing kitchenware, she goes straight to the west-wing. Unsurprisingly, Beast goes completely berserk. So what then does Belle do? She plays dumb. "Oh I didn't know...I was only curious..." B, please. You knew dang well what you were doing and how murderously mad he would be if you got caught. Don't try and act all shocked. So then, after he gets rightfully upset (though again, RED FLAG at HOW upset...) Belle flees the castle and informs Lumiere and Cogsworth "Promise or no promise, I can't stay here another minute!" You haven't even been here one night.... And it was your own fault for ignoring the one thing he said that would really piss him off! ANNNNNNND you just promised hours earlier you would stay there FOREVER? Seriously. How good is this girl's word?

So she flees and the Beast chases after her but then saves her from a pack of wolves and proves that he does have some good in him for...not letting her die? Trying to keep his prisoner in tact? And suddenly he becomes all nice to her because she bandages him up and is the first girl ever willing to scream back at him. And this is healthy? Well whatever.. a few montages later Beast is a decent guy...erm creature, with a heart of gold! Because he gives her a library she would be lucky to have him. You don't calm a temper like that in a matter of days people. This is merely the honeymoon stage. Don't be so naive as Belle when she tells her dad "somehow...he's changed!" And you've known him HOW long? The moment Belle does something wrong again, if she's not careful her head could LITERALLY be bitten off. And that leads me to another disturbing point that I just have to say...

Beast does not resemble a human being AT ALL. Gaston is right on when he says if he didn't know better he'd think Belle had feelings for this monster. Okay monster is harsh....but well he is (in looks and personality!) The only thing that is human like is that he wears pants and walks upright and can talk. Nevertheless! It's too bad he just didn't look like ogreish...or like a deformed human. Also I may have mentioned this before, but isn't Beast like 21? He must have been a kid when he angered that enchantress (ie Ten years we've been rusting, needing so much more than dusting). Tough break she wasn't more understanding enough to know boys will be boys, and probably made the situation 10,000x worse (who knows though...maybe he was just a REALLY evil kid...which makes Belle's fate even worse). Sure a bratty kid is gonna become a monster when you curse him for eternity to be one. But just because the spell is off doesn't mean those red flags that have been there for 20 years go away! [side note: kinda ironic that Belle goes for a guy that is probably nicer and better to her than Gaston..though this is debatable...but still has a lot of the same inherent bad qualities as him that she detests ie possessive, angry, jerk...he just isn't as vain...and it's not like he can be. Have you SEEN Beast after his transformation?] But Belle might not have the least successful marriage of the princesses. That honor probably goes to Ariel. Leave behind your whole family and prior life for a guy you've known 3 days? Oh and you're 16 on top of it? Seems legit. Well that oughta do it....I still have more thoughts but this is probably long enough. But for more on the subject check out these articles (but be advised for strong language):

Beauty and the Beast: Just Because He's Abusive, Doesn't Mean He's Not a Really Good Guy

Speaking of Disney Princess marriages though, I feel that I better link this one even though I know that I've already made everyone I know watch it...



Anonymous said...

Dear Emily
It's me Ev again. I used to live in Utah, in Kearns, and we saw Beauty And The Beast. I still love it to this day. Well I am going to work at my job at the theatre, Carmike, I believe there is one in Kearns. Hope to hear back from you. Ev.

Joey said...

Emily, you make me feel bad that I scarred you for life by taking you to all of those Disney movies. :) And, don't tell Dad, who is pushing 60, that Belle made a bad choice.

I'm afraid listening to friends has made you jaded....we need to talk.

But, this did make me laugh out loud. A lot!

Emily said...

Oh it didn't scar me as a kid. I'm just scarred NOW ha! And your comment about Dad made me laugh out loud hehe

Amelia said...

I see your point, but I still think you are a bit harsh on the story. And Belle. There's a lot of good to her too, haha I won't go into it. Also that way weirds me out that Beast would've been a little kid when he was cursed!!

Sarah said...

Here's something you need to remember about all of these Disney princesses: they are ALL teenagers. It puts their bad decisions into perspective. Nearly every teenager is a hot-headed drama queen who makes bad decisions at some time or another. Her core, however, is good, kind, and selfless.

I still really like Belle. And as for the Beast, I think we caught him on a really bad day when we were introduced to him. :) Perhaps his sweet self is the norm, but on the day Belle and her father arrived at the castle he was a little off. :) And besides, I thought that when he was a man, he was handsome. A mix between George-of-the-Jungle-era Brendan Fraser and a Michelangelo painting. Nothing wrong with that!

I don't agree with your assessment of this movie. It's still one of my favorites. :) And it has a high re-watchability factor (which is important when your child wants to watch the same movie over and over and over for a week straight). I definitely prefer re-watching Beauty and the Beast over The Aristocats or Oliver and Company. And as for The Black Cauldron, I've never been able to get through that once (at least in my memory). But I was very entertained by your rant on the subject. :)

Emily said...

I don't think Belle's age is ever mentioned...she seems older to me than most of the princesses. And I know you still love it...so predictable :P And we caught Beast on a bad day? That sounds like a rationalization Belle would come up with too. And at least Aristocats and Oliver have cats in them :)

Laurie & Clint said...

if beast was just having a bad day how do you explain that his servants are constantly walking on eggshells?

Joey said...

Give me Peter Pan!