Tale as Old as Time

Posted on September 28, 2010


The famous ballroom dance sequence.

Image via Wikipedia

Beauty and the Beast.

It has to be my favorite Disney movie of all time.

Why? I’ll give you five good reasons.

1) The story centers around a strong heroine.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about Aladdin and Hercules and Simba. Disney’s made several great films with men as the leads. But, of course, of all the Disney princesses, Belle has to be my favorite. She was never a pretty princess locked away and waiting to be loved or rescued by some great hero. She was the Beast’s (ulimately, the Prince’s) savior. Gotta love me some girl power.

2) There’s more to the story than falling in love.

Right, right. Many Disney movies contain several other elements besides love. But Beauty and the Beast’s overarching theme is not love, but inner beauty. I love how the closet light shines brighter than the flashy gowns and gooey love stories of other animated Disney films.

3) The protagonist is relatable.

OK, I know – another element that’s findable in most films. Understood. But for me, I find it much easier to relate to a young woman seeking out more than marriage in life, than, let’s say, a daughter of an evil stepmother or a princess that’s forced to marry a prince in said number of days, or a princess befriended by seven elves, or a princess who falls asleep and most be awoken by a prince. Calm down – I’m not bashing all those great animated classics. I’m just saying . . . :-)

4) Good and evil reap what they sow in the end.

I have no comparison for this concept. I’m simply acknowledging that the Beast (or the Prince) learns how to love and be loved, and transforms back into a prince; Belle, the “good guy” of the story and the protagonist, finds more “than this provincial life,” saves the Prince’s life, and learns to love someone who is ugly on the outside; Gaston, the evil antagonist, dies – all in the end. There’s a satisfying conflict resolution that also interweaves concepts for the everyman (loving the “unlovable,” looking past an outer core, not judging based on appearance).

5) Real characters in an unreal setting optimizes concepts while providing enchantment.

Belle – She’s the girl every other girl relates to. She craves more out of life than she has.

Gaston – He’s stuck-up and big-headed. Every person knows at least one Gaston.

Belle’s father – Strange. Odd, but not so odd that we’ve never known anyone like him.

The Beast – The one guy (or think girl, if you’d like) who thought they were better than other people, experienced a life-changing situation, and became better because of it.

Cogsworth – The know-it-all kiss-up. ‘Nuff said.

Lumière – The friendly, funny guy everyone laughs at.

Mrs. Potts – She brings out the mother in everyone.

Chip – The curious kid who never stops asking questions.

Lefou – Oh, the loyal sidekick. Annoying, tries too hard, and his only cause is to please other people.

Obviously, I’m a loyal fan. If you’re a big fan as well, you should go to a supporting theater playing it! On September 19 and October 2 only, there will be sing-along viewings at participating theaters. Check out this website for more information on it: http://www.fathomevents.com/premiere/event/beautyandthebeast.aspx. I’m looking forward to the movie coming out on Blue-ray and DVD on October 5. Make sure you pick up your copy!

Posted in: Entertainment, Movies