It has been 25 years since I walked into a theatre in my hometown and watched Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Though, at the time, I was annoyed because I wanted to see Hook, I didn’t know that I would be watching a princess movie that would have more staying power, warmth and intelligence than a film made of the combined powers of Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts.
Here are the top 7 reasons that I think make Beauty and the Beast awesome.
Beauty and the Beast has multiple musical moments and they all shine — from “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast,” to “Belle” and “Gaston”. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman created some of the most memorable and enjoyable songs for the modern movie musical. Whether it was in “Be Our Guest”, with the dishes flying through the air and the kitchen accessories seating Belle at the table or with Belle traipsing through her village singing her title track and bringing us into her world, the viewer cannot help but tap their feet or feel emotion as the music plays. Of course with Angela Lansbury singing the movie title track “Beauty and the Beast” you the viewer fall in love with the characters.
Should you really like the villain of the story? This is what Gaston can do for many viewers of Beauty and the Beast. You want to like this guy, even though he is terrible. Gaston is the pompous tough guy of the village. He is the best at everything, he has the biggest muscles, kills the biggest animals and is adored by everyone in town, including all of the single ladies. Everyone in town, except for Belle, thinks Belle should marry him. Watching the story revolve around his quest to marry Belle, including doing some underhanded things like imprisoning Belle’s dad, Maurice, shows his true nature. He might be the best at everything, but he is not the best choice for Belle.
Lumiere and Cogsworth
Every great film has two dynamic characters who steal the show but are not the main stars. They are the ones who keep the main characters on track throughout the story, and they provide humor when the story needs it. The best part about Lumiere and Cogsworth is their bickering nature and how their opposite personalities make their screen time shine. Jerry Orbach as Lumiere and David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth are the perfect match of opposites and help bring the viewers into the world of the Beast’s castle. Cogsworth’s uptight nature vs Lumiere’s easygoing personality makes it easy to route for Lumiere, but Stiers’ personality in the form of Cogsworth allows the viewer to like the uptight Cogsworth.
The moral of the story
Beauty and the Beast examines the theme of beauty. What happens when we do as the young prince did and reject someone for their outward appearance the way he rejected the ‘witch’ causing his transformation into the Beast? What happens when we see past someone’s exterior the way Belle did as she fell in love with the Beast? This idea of not “judging a book by its cover” and that “true beauty lies within” is a theme that will be relevant forever. When told through brilliant story-writing and beautiful music it is simply magical!
Belle is not a classic example of the damsel in distress. Belle is a spirited, independent girl who doesn’t take notice of what others want, and instead does as she wants. When everyone in town is encouraging her to marry Gaston, she opts not to. Belle is intelligent and loves her father so much that she would trade places with him to free him from the Beast’s castle. She is fearless and shows a strength that is equal to or if not better than other heroines in film.
He’s got issues, and he is a reluctant hermit that is brooding over his own mistake. Beast has spent most of his young life being so angry that he has become a brute to the only family that loves him. But when he meets Belle, we get to watch his change for the better, and his fight with Gaston proves how far he is willing to go to for others, especially for Belle. Beast morphs from the man who was scared of everyone, but he was willing to risk his life for the one he loved.
Maurice has been left to care for is young daughter. Maurice is a father who obviously loves his daughter very much and who would do anything for her. He is an inventor, an eccentric, who is trying to make ends meet. Belle’s independence may be attributed to the aloofness of her father, as it certainly seems that she takes care of the both of them. Despite his best efforts, Maurice never seems to do anything right – this makes him an easy target for Gaston. Maurice is the catalyst in the story. Had he not been captured by the Beast, Belle would have never met her true love. Were it not for Maurice being imprisoned by Gaston, Belle would have never seen how much the Beast really loves her. This father has always tried to be there for his daughter. How well he did this may be questionable, however, he raised a strong, independent and fearless daughter. Well done Maurice!