This is part of my series “Thoughts on Disney movies,” where I’ve gone back to watch all of the animated Disney features, starting with Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, and then share my thoughts on the blog.
Highlights: Um, everything? This is my favorite Disney movie. The characters, the music, and the story are all fantastic.Belle is one remarkable Disney princess. There is something about her that is just great. She has more spunk that the meek, earlier princesses, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and she’s a smart cookie. She’s kind of dorky too – I like a girl that walks around town reading books all day! And watching it this time around, I am also moved by her bravery. The fact that she follows her father out to this spooky castle, and then volunteers to take his place, is quite impressive for a young girl. There are so many fun characters in the castle. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip – all of them are quite fun. And the beast is pretty adorable, in a frightening sort of way. In some sense he becomes the awkward teenage boy who manages to do and say all of the wrong things when he’s around the girl that he likes.
Low points: If I had to pick anything, I guess it would be the “Stockholm Syndrome” tendencies. I don’t believe that’s the case for this movie but I know some people love arguing about it. If anything I’d try to show more of the relationship and transition so it’s clear that this really is true love (I mean the rose says it is!).
Music: Beauty and the Beast continues the tradition of this time period (known as the Disney renaissance) with an amazing soundtrack. Again, it’s not just one or two great songs, it’s all of them. It’s hard to pick a favorite – I love both “Belle” and “Be Our Guest.” But I would suppose that “Be Our Guest” is probably the most iconic and the most Disney-esque. And, of course, the song “Beauty and the Beast” is a beautiful one. And Gaston’s song is so funny! Overall the soundtrack is great, which is probably why it makes such as good stage play as well.
Villain: Gaston is so arrogant and completely obnoxious, but he lacks the true evilness of other villains. It’s just obvious that everything he does is because of love for self instead of more evil motives (though arguably, being that pompous and disrespectful of other people is evil in and of itself). Of course, his most evil moment comes at the very end. The Beast spares his life and Gaston returns the favor by stabbing him in the back. So Gaston completely deserves the end that he gets. And he has that epic, cringe-worthy line of “How could you love a beast when you could have someone like me?”
Fun Fact: The 2002 release of the DVD added in a previously cut song, “Human Again.” This song also makes an appearance in the Broadway musical version of Beauty and the Beast.
Where in the World: Beauty and the Beast is pretty popular in WDW. Hollywood Studios has a whole 30-minute show dedicated to it, which is basically a condensed version of the movie. In the Magic Kingdom the new Fantasyland area has a whole Belle section, including Enchanted Tales with Belle, Be Our Guest restaurant, and Belle’s village. Belle is a popular character around the park, making frequent appearances in shows and at certain dining venues. You’ll often find her in France in Epcot’s World Showcase pavilion
My rating: 10 out of 10. One of the best.