Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

Beauty and the Beast PosterBeauty and the Beast is a 1991 Disney animated film that is part of the Disney Renaissance.  It is an adaption of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast.  This version is quite different from the original, but still keeps the essential themes of looking beyond the surface and not judging a book by its cover.

Melanie likes the film and Kasey doesn’t.  On one hand, it’s a very beautifully animated film that’s rich in detail.  The themes it portrays are universal and it has a good message for children to learn.   On the other hand… Belle is such a Mary Sue.  A completely and totally Mary freakin Sue.  And the couple fall deeply in love in like a week.  Sure that’s improvement upon love at first sight but…

What do you think of Beauty and the Beast? Was Kasey’s hate for Belle justified?  Do you think it portrays positive values or does it just reinforce negative gender stereotypes? Does Gaston’s friend Lafou really have a gay crush on him?   Let us know what you think!

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9 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

  1. much of the questions you asked are answered in, at least, one of the midquals, where you find out that the winter night that started the curse happened to be christmas eve and he was eleven.

    i actually hated the puzzled look on belles face after he transformed. i mean SERIOUSLY! HE JUST TRANSFORMED IN FRONT OF YOUR FREAKING FACE!!!

    what really bothers me about this movie is the lack of knowledge of the curse. they imply that the servants are just transformed into inanimate objects, but then at the same time every piece of furniture, every cup, and every piece of silverware are servants. what happened to the original stuff? or did the servants merge with furniture? I have a similar gripe with Rapunzel’s magic hair.

    having seen this movie MANY times, i have a couple different imaginary scenarios that happen after the movie ends. one involves belle asking the prince to put on a beast mask while in bed. the other is about what the beast would do to the village. being that it is renaissance france and based on what i know about middle age french royalty, he would have the whole town burned to the ground and all of it inhabitants killed.

    did i hear fable 3? i want fable 3! i like the fable games.

    • You already got a gift Charlie… or at least Melanie was supposed to give it to you. Did you ever get that anime dvd?

      I feel pity for you that you had to endure the midquels. You need to get your daughter better movies. lol Do you own Labyrinth or The Last Unicorn? If your wife is stuck on getting the Disney movies you could get Mulan and Lilo and Stich.

      I assume the Beast just forgives everyone I guess… I’m not sure what kind of authority he’d even have though since he appears to not have a standing army. Who would enforce his revenge? The town militia could probably go in and just take over. They might want to since they all had just undying devotion to Gaston. I’m sure there was a day of mourning and everything. lol

      • i have yet to receive those. i think we have labyrinth and i know we have the last unicorn, albeit on vhs.

        the midquals explain that he is a prince, so i’m assuming that the French army would do that.

        yeah the midquals are terrible, but they do add some to the story, but belle still comes off as a poster child for stockholm syndrome.

  2. I have to side with Kasey on this one, I never really liked Beauty and the Beast, I’m pretty ‘meh’ about it. I just don’t really care for the characters or the romance or even the plot and the songs just aren’t as good as the ones from The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. My favorite Disney movies are generally pretty low on romance, like Mulan, The Great Mouse Detective, Treasure Planet and the Emperor’s New Groove.

    I’m surprised you didn’t bring up the whole Stockholm syndrome thing, most people seem to when they criticize the movie. And how it’s a bad example for little girls to try and change guys, that are abusive towards them. And that it tells them, if you just love him enough and endure enough, he will become a better person. I don’t really think that the movie sets a bad example, but like I said, I never really liked the romance in this, it just leaves me cold. But then so do most romances, I’m pretty picky about that.

    • Stockholm syndrome was on our list of things to talk about it, but we strangely never got to it. I do agree with Melanie that Belle didn’t start to like him untl he was nicer to her and the change in the beast (at least in this version) came from the Beast trying to change himself rather than Belle attempting to change him. I guess Beauty and the Beast 2 or 3 or however many they made of them say otherwise though. For my own santiy I’m never watching them.

      My favorite Disney movie is actually Lilo and Stitch. I think it’s really underrrated. I also saw it as an adult and it still held up well. I really liked the Little Mermaid and Aladdin as a kid though. Mulin kind of bipassed me since it came out in this odd period of my life where I thought I was too old to watch cartoons (age 10-12 or so weirdly enough). I’ve only seen it once but I remember liking it.

  3. I can’t believe this movie came out in 1991… O_O
    It’s sooooooo beautiful! It might be the best looking movie of its time.

    The curse was cast by an “enchantress.” That’s the word they used.

    LOL, your timeline discussion was hilarious. I have never questioned a prince with no parents in a castle in the middle of nowhere that nobody knows about. Why have I never questioned this??? I love that you guys brought this to my attention. 😀
    My wife theorizes that maybe the curse had something to do with this. Like it made everybody forget about the place or something.

    Yeah, I think you nailed it saying that falling to their death is a good way to kill a villain without leaving a body. If you think about it, anytime in most movies like this, if the body of the villain is still around, he/she ALWAYS comes back to life! This is a really good point about movie storytelling in general. The villain has to be completely gone, no body.

    You guys couldn’t be more wrong about Belle, though. It’s clear from the exposition that it’s the townspeople that have made no effort to understand her, not the other way around. The entire opening musical number is about this, during which she tries talking to a few of them (or at least, just the baker) and gets brusquely, but kindly, dismissed. Since she is always treated as a curiosity and an outsider (or sex object, in the case of Gaston) she has become accustomed to spending time alone, not by choice. Did you not pay any attention to her interactions with ANY of the other major characters? She treats talking tea kettles and clocks with kindness and empathy without so much as blinking at what makes them different from her. Why? Because they treat her like one of them, like she belongs. They actually WANT her around, an attitude she never gets in the town. The reason the bookstore owner gets along with her so well is that he is the only one who has made any attempt to understand her interests and who she is. The opening song is not about the townspeople saying Belle is better than them. There isn’t even a suggestion of such a concept. It’s about how different she is from them and how they don’t understand her at all and wish that she would just be more like everyone else.
    I have no clue how you could have concluded that she has CHOSEN to be an outcast except that you just didn’t pay much attention to her character, which is surprising considering how on-point your analyses of Gaston and The Beast are.

    LOL, the three blonde chicks are made less pretty by there being THREE of them. The market is saturated! 😀

    I love the idea of genderswapping this story. That’s a really interesting idea. Some fantasy-themed “Shallow Hal.”

    “Candelabra Guy” = Lumiére

    You guys lost a sense of the timeline as well, not that it’s exactly clear (it never is in Disney films). They went from pleasant, early Autumn to probably around mid-Winter, at least past Christmas. That’s more than “a few days.” 😉

    I also completely disagree with your criticism of the music and songs, although this is mostly a matter of personal taste. That being said, this movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”). So neener neener!
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101414/awards

    I’ve actually never seen the extended edition.

    Heh, Kasey, you can definitely tell that you have no nostalgic feeling for this movie.
    I like a lot of your criticisms of this movie, but a lot of them were simply a result of your not caring to pay attention.
    Then again, my pervasive apologism for the movie’s faults are almost certainly a result of my massive amounts of nostalgic feeling.

    Once again, another great podcast! I usually always argue with you on something, but this time I happened to argue with almost EVERYTHING! WHEE! Look forward to more.

    -Arvis

    • Have I been replying to your posts? I hope so. I’ve been so tired all the time lately it’s hard to remember. I don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate them though. They’re a bright spot in my day.

      I think Melanie actually has a lot more positive feelings toward Belle than I have. I kind of overpowered her in this one. I have to say I find her really unlikable. She’s so flawless. She’s not flawless in the same way a lot of earlier Disney heroines were in a flat way. She’s just bursting to the seams with virtues. The more the movie tried to make show how wonderful she was the more I shied away from it, I guess.

      It’s funny when you see Belle getting ignored by the Baker in the movie I see Belle walking around ignoring everyone with her nose in a book. Different perspectives I guess.

      I never understood all of the Academy Awards this film got. Its defintily beautiful though… It could be that the memory of the Lion King just wiped everything out for me. I did see this in theaters as a kid but it wasn’t something I rewatched over and over. If we ever podcast The Little Mermaid I’ll probably be a lot more forgiving. I’ve got some thick nostalgia goggles for that one.

      If an entire season passed then the timeline with her dad is even more confusing. lol

      • “Different persepctives??” PSHAW! There can be only ONE perspective! MINE!

        I admit, I kinda forgot about Belle’s dad and his failed rescue attempt. That definitely muddies up the waters a bit, but it could still be assumed that her dad spent a month or so in town trying to drum up support. Still… it would be nice if the film were a little more overt about the passage of time.
        The weather isn’t exactly a reliable indicator, either, now that I think about it! It snows for the majority of the movie, but then during the epic rooftop battle, it’s RAINING. Did we somehow get to Spring over the course of the movie?

        From a gender viewpoint, I can see why Belle would be an unlikable character. How can you identify with someone with no flaws? In comparison, a princess like Ariel (who is full of flaws) is much more identifiable.
        For a young, awkward boy (like I was) Belle gave me hope that not all hot chicks have to act like hot chicks. So I automatically liked her. Too bad it was all a big lie (until college). 😀

        I think doing podcasts on Disney movies is a great idea. Most of them have some kind of Fantasy theme to them, and listening to you guys chat about them is a great way to stroll down memory lane. Hope you’ll do more!

      • Whoops! Also:

        Thank you so much for your kind words about my comments! We all want to believe that people care about the crap we write on the internet.
        You keep making podcasts, I’ll keep commenting, for sure. :)

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