Random Thoughts While Re-Watching Beauty and the Beast
Random Thought #1
This year old Beauty and the Beast Blu-Ray looks like crap. 20 years ago this seemed like the very zenith of animation. I remember the ballroom dance scene taking my breath away. Belle was gorgeous and had the most exquisite complexion and perfect brown hair. In 2012, no matter what medium I’m viewing it on – it looks horrid. The colors are so blown out, bright and the animation is so quickly sketched, I had to call Dan in from the other room to make sure it wasn’t mine eyes deceiving me. The first few minutes I was watching an 8-year-old DVD, so swapped it out for a year old Blu-Ray. It looked the exact same, even though Disney was claiming it was digitally remastered or some shit.
How about no? It looked pretty on the movie advertisement I just watched for the 3D theatrical release. The black lines are less harsh. It was all in the black lines – there was white bleeding through all over the place. And in general, it looks like some second-rate bullshit.
Granted, I’ve been fed a steady diet of CGI loveliness for the last 10 or so years, but come on – The Princess and the Frog is beautiful and not so harsh on the eyes. Am I alone in thinking this particular film has some of the shittiest animation in the Disney cadre (not counting all of the sequels)? It looks like something Don Bluth was putting out at the time – it has none of the depth or quality that The Lion King or Aladdin did. Granted, The all these flicks referenced came out post-Beauty. But it was also post-The Little Mermaid, which looks better as well. *shrug* I dunno.
Random Thought #2
One of the biggest complaints in feminist circles against the movie/story is that Belle sacrifices her dreams for a grander life by shacking up with the Beast and falling in lurve. Uhm, guys? The story book she most fondly remembers (nay, even sings about) is a tale about a chick meeting Prince Charming. Sure, she doesn’t want to settle down and marry the chauvinist and manipulating Gaston. But she does want to find her Prince Charming. If folks are looking for a feminist heroine in Belle, they will end up disappointed every time.
Actually, on the heroine spectrum – I would say Belle most resembles Bella. And along that same vein, I would suggest that Twilight and Beauty and the Beast have some eerie similarities. There’s even a magical transformation in the end. Beast is kind of a dick, like Edward. He is overbearing, stalkerish and harsh. Belle is willing to sacrifice her entire life for her Dad. She falls in love with a violent, scary dude who imprisons others and threatens to starve her.
So yeah – that’s all weird. Is my reading off? At least the first Twilight book has Beauty and the Beast trappings, no?
Random Thought #3
I liked Beast better than Prince Whatever Big Nose. For looks and general attitude. Even as a kid I remember being totally charmed by the angry, yet comically bumbling bull/wolf creature and strongly preferring him to the creepy white guy who arose in his stead.
The messaging is all wrong. I know – the magic rose and the poor servants trapped as inanimate objects – but damn, Beast was kinda hot. I mean, hotter than the unattractive white dude he becomes. Also, what’s with the servants singing songs about preferring to serve? “Life is un-nerving for a servant whose not serving.” Huh. These folks would rather serve a bitchy master hand and foot than you know, have a twenty year staycation as a clock or candlestick? That’s a stretch for me.
I would have rather kept Beast in his Beast form. The servants could have changed if they liked. And maybe, as a show of gratitude, Beast could have released them from service since they did endure weird magics on his behalf. Just sayin’.
Final Thoughts: While this movie has some of my favorite musical numbers, it generally gets a bad rap for being creepy (imprisonment, forced engagements, and talking feather dusters) and that’s well-deserved. One of my favorites, with reservations.