Eight Reasons Why BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is Worth Seeing in Theaters Again
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has returned to theaters in 3-D, and has already done huge business. The folks at the Mouse House are swimming in the money from these classic re-releases, so what good reason is there to see a movie you’ve probably watched hundreds of times on a squeaky VHS tape at your parents’ place? Well…here’s eight reasons:
1. TANGLED EVER AFTER — Fans of Disney’s Tangled will be delighted by an all-new animated short featuring Pascal the Chameleon and Maximus the Horse (arguably the best thing in Tangled to begin with), as they engage in a frenetic chase around the kingdom to get back two wedding rings they have dropped in the middle of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider’s wedding ceremony. It’s a hilarious visual treat almost worth the price of admission alone.
2. THE ANIMATION — Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s finest animated films, and so much of it is lost on a dumpy little VHS tape. The lush backgrounds and intricacies in the way the beast’s fur ruffles or the castle’s eerie gargoyles dip in and out of light is truly something that deserves to be marveled at on a big screen. Little details like smoke during the Beast’s transformation or stars in the sky during their romantic dance are all but forgotten on a TV. The 3-D conversion accents the film without getting in the way, adding depth but never detracting from the artistry.
3. THE MUSIC — You can probably hum several songs from this film off the top of your head. The work of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice is truly extraordinary, and the songs deserve to be heard in a theater with superior acoustics. Even when the characters aren’t singing, the lyrical score, from the opening shots of the idyllic castle before the curse is placed, to the bombastic rooftop battle with Gaston, to the transcendent finale as Belle and her prince dance by the stain-glassed balcony, it’s a romantic treat not to be missed. Closing your eyes and simply LISTENING to this film in the theater is a worthwhile experience.
4. YOU’LL RECOGNIZE THINGS YOU DIDN’T WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER — It’s certainly not as self-reflexive as say, Disney’s Aladdin, but there are definitely a few gags that probably went over your head as a kid. When the Beast asks Cogsworth how to impress Belle he remarks (in an ad-libbed line from actor David Ogden Stiers), “Oh the usual things: flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep…” As an adult, braggadocio Gaston also comes off as hilariously meat-headed; nothing screams “romantic” like threatening your bride to marry you by throwing her father in the insane asylum.
5. YOU’LL SEE IT WITH KIDS — Even if you have a VHS copy lying around, when’s the last time you saw it with it’s intended audience? I saw the film in a theater full of kids, many of whom had probably never seen the movie before. They laughed at the enchanted objects, clapped their hands at the songs, and one of them even cried in the climactic battle when all seems lost for the Beast (“No, Beast Nooooo!”). Pixar films aside, Beauty and the Beast features a caliber of storytelling rarely seen in children’s films nowadays (and when’s the last time any of them had musical numbers?), and it’s almost as much fun to watch the younger set enjoy the movie as it is to watch it yourself.
6. YOU CAN BRING A DATE — When’s the last time a G-rated movie helped get you laid? Take it from me, boys…if a girl likes you at ALL she’ll be begging you to put your arm around her during the “Tale as Old As Time” ballroom sequence. Stockholm Syndrome implications aside, this is a very romantic movie, perhaps only rivaled by the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp.
7. YOU CAN OVER-ANALYZE IT — As a kid it’s OK to let some logic slip, but when you’re “grown-up” it can be fun to overthink these Disney fairy tales WAY too much. If Lumiere is a candlestick, won’t his face eventually melt off? How does he light his own fires without matches? We see Mrs. Potts putting Chip in an entire cabinet full of little cups with faces–how many kids did she have, and isn’t she kind of playing favorites? Are all the magical objects in the castle servants? If not, when the castle is released from the spell do the non-human objects “die”? If not, won’t that be a rather unfurnished castle? Looks like Belle and her prince will be taking a trip to fairy-tale IKEA. We also learn that the final petal of the rose will fall when the Beast turns 21…isn’t that a little young to be forced to fall in love? And in “Be Our Guest” Lumiere remarks “ten years we’ve been rusting,” meaning the Beast was only 11 when the spell was placed in the first place! What ever happened to his parents? And how come nobody else remembers this kingdom he supposedly ruled? Also, between magical conscious objects watching you around ever corner and the Beast’s magic mirror, there is seriously VERY little privacy in that place. Is the toilet enchanted? Do you poop in his mouth? Does any of this really matter at all? Nope!
8. IT’S ONE OF DISNEY’S BEST — OK, now that I got that last one out of my system, Beauty and the Beast is definitely one of Disney’s greatest classics. It’s not my all-time favorite (that award probably goes to The Lion King), but it certainly ranks high on the list. At the time it was made it was the only animated film nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Picture (only when the Academy expanded their potential nominations to 10 did Up and Toy Story 3 also get in the running), and for good reason. Hand-drawn animation is an all-but-lost art form these days, and the central story is tender and holds true even more so now that we’ve grown up a bit and possibly fallen in and out of love a few times. The songs are delightful, the characters memorable, and the imaginative world rich and beautiful. Sitting through the credits reminds you how many talented artists passionately worked to bring this miraculous film to life. It’s truly a Tale as Old as Time.