Beauty and the Beast - Disney Films Project
I've been so excited to reach this point in our our Disney Films Project because this is one of my very favorite films! I grew up with blonde Disney princesses like Cinderella and Aurora and I used to ask my mom why there weren't any brown haired, brown-eyed leading ladies in Disney movies? Snow White seemed to be the only one with dark hair. I wanted to see someone who looked (and acted) like me. I can only imagine how little girls from other backgrounds must have felt! My mom actually saw Beauty and the Beast before I did and she told me "you are going to love Belle!" She was right! Not only did she have brown hair, but she was a bookworm. I had found my princess!
I love Belle for her brains, wit, compassion, and beauty. She is a great role model. My favorite part of the film is that when the Beast transforms into the prince at the end, she doesn't immediately go ga-ga over him, she has to be sure it is really him on the inside before she kisses him.
This movie has always been near perfection for me but this time we watched the 25th anniversary edition that has the added musical number of Human Again. It really distracted me and felt so out of place. I can see why they cut it originally. There are too many musical numbers in a row when it is in and it is not the same quality of animation as the rest of the film. It feels like they put a quick Disney Channel short in the middle of this masterpiece. I've always given this movie a 10 out of 10 rating in my head, but the inclusion of this song probably knocks it down to a 9. I've debated how to rate it for this review and I feel like I have to go with 9 Mickey ears because this is how the film is sold now. So disappointing! If you have an older copy, hang on to it. I gave mine to my nieces one year for their birthday because they had never seen it and it wasn't available for purchase at the time. I couldn't bear the thought of them growing up without Belle. When the 25th anniversary edition came out, I bought it on iTunes and I was sad to find out that it plays with the added song now.
Other than that small beef, I love Beauty and the Beast. The setting of the French countryside is beautiful and the animation of the ballroom scene is incredible. It was a turning point in the studio's history because it marked the first time they used traditional animation combined with CG effects + the Pixar-developed Computer Animation Production System (CAPS). The result was amazing and allowed for sweeping views of the ballroom as they danced the night away. Somehow the grandeur of this scene meets perfection with Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Potts' voice singing the beautiful title number.
Ok, I just changed my mind again. I have to give this 10 ears. But please note that I prefer the original version. It's one of my all-time favorites!
Second Helping with Alex Nelson, your sous-chef. (With more content than usual?)
It’s been a while, no? We apologize for the delay in service! I accidentally wrote the Aladdin review first, and had to wait until I’d forgotten that. That’ll be coming up.
This film winds up being cited as incredible by most everyone. It almost won the Oscar for Best Picture, after all. Let’s look at some samples of the film that I found to my taste. (Enough food puns now, I promise.)
First off, the animation is fabulous. Distance shots have parts still moving, which is excellent. No frame is wasted. Of particular note is the ballroom shot, which is excellent animation in CGI, at a time when that was not as common as it is now.
Belle is a good character. The only problem I have seems to be that she’s too clever by half. This causes developments and problems alike. Still, it’s a step in the right direction for the modern Disney Princesses. She’s also rather intelligent for her situation, which I like.
I suppose I’m meant to sympathize with her more? Sorry. I kinda related to the Beast on other viewings.
I’m not saying he’s focused at first. It’s the arc of development given. If we believe the narration, he’s been like this since he was 11? Or Lumiere is exaggerating.
Even so, there’s enough balance between his actions and his feelings for there to be hope. Not that he knows much about interacting with humans at first, but he grows to control himself over the course of belle’s stay. The servants/furniture is helping, but he has to do this himself. And that can be hard. He’s not entirely able to deal with this stuff first time round.
He does noble things, though. Treads into the woods to save her from wolves, and when her father’s sick, gives up what he thinks is his only shot to help her.
On the other side, we have Gaston. Physically, he looks alright. But his moral code and mind are low, and continue to devolve as we go. Anyone who’s willing to send your father into the madhouse to get his “perfect wife” is just sickening. This man is an example of what NOT to do, EVER!
I need a bit of a distraction. Let’s take a Question from the Audience!
Question from the audience: Isn’t this film basically Stockholm Syndrome for Belle?
Oh boy. This sprung up quick on the net. Listen, Beast isn’t appealing at first, though on secondary viewings this might be attributed to his confusion on how to even interact with belle, I think. And while he’s better at it as time goes, it’s more that he’s understanding how she works, like what happens with most people you meet. If Belle’s truly wooed over, why does she care so much about helping Maurice?
So is the movie as good as it seems? Well, no. It was. They added a song called Human Again. Here are my unfiltered thoughts on it as it was happening:
This song was slapped on in Eisner's desperation to be better than standard. I hate this. The animation is Disneytoon quality, there's dated pop culture references here and there, and we just got out of a musical number! Listen guys, I don't think you understand the pacing.
The exposition is so clunky! We already know this stuff and what we don't know we didn't need to know. This song is only cause for Eisner to stroke his ego over being involved in the production, and it was cut from the original theatrical release for a reason. And if I wanted to see it performed, wouldn't I just go see it on Broadway or in a theme park? Or in the deleted scenes section?
Awkward sequence with Romeo and Juliet in the middle, also lower quality. We have an interruption within an interruption! *Noise from Inception*
We don't see Gaston going about his business, we don't see Maurice going about his business, and we don't see anyone else in the town going about their business, so why was this inserted? Just cause? You can't say it's for passage of time because you can just do a jump cut! And the gags are nothing new. Also, there are gags. Isn’t it a bit close to the romantic moment?
And that’s about why I dislike the sequence, more or less. With it, the film dips in quality to 5 stars or so. Without it, we get to a solid 7. I prefer giving the 7 ear rating, because this film is excellent, though not all of it is my favorite.