My opinion right after watching film
You all are going to chew me out on this one. Anyways, my opinion right after watching the movie is that I like it; but it is SO not the best Disney film, at least when it comes to the plot. While the characterization and soundtrack is strong, the story has quite a few holes in it, which I think are more than minor. It has a good message, and the pacing is really good, but….I cannot ignore the holes and issues with it.
While they tried to do this film in the 1930s and 50s, it never picked up, but the official production of this film started in 1987 as Who Framed Roger Rabbit was about to premiere. Originally, this film was going to be a non musical (as they still thought Oliver and Company was going to be a bigger hit than it was at the time), and the first film in the canon to have a screenwriter, which was Eisner’s idea; meaning they wrote the script before the storyboards, which was NEVER the case in the decades beforehand. In 1989, Katzenberg saw the storyboards, and demanded that they start over from fresh. Issue is that they had less than 2 years before it was set to premiere.
So the director Purdum quit a few months later, and Musker and Clements was offered to replace him, but they said that they were tired as The Little Mermaid was just released (to only join production on Aladdin a few months later), so the job went to Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Ashman (who was trying to get Aladdin off the ground) and Menken joined the production to turn it into a musical. With their help, the furniture characters were added, and the script was successfully retooled. Ashman was dying of AIDS, so they did production in New York as they watched him die, which eventually happened on March of 1991.
I forgot to mention in my Down Under review that the CAPS program was pulled off by a small company named Pixar.
So the film starts with a stainglass introduction of how the Beast (Robby Benson) was a selfish, cold, bratty
boy, man, teen male who lived in a castle. An old beggar came to give him a rose and asks to stay the night since there is nowhere else, but he is disgusted by her ugly appearance and tells her to go fuck off. She tells him that beauty is found within, but he dismisses her again. This causes her to get mad, and she reveals herself to be a beautiful, young enchantress. He then apologizes, but because she realizes that he is a dick and has no love in is heart, she turns him into a beast and curses the entire castle until his 21st birthday. If he does not love another and receives their love in return, he will remain a beast and the castle will be cursed forever.
So we skip to years later, and introduced to our heroine Belle (Paige O’Hara), villain Gaston (Richard White), his ass kissing best friend LeFou (Jesse Corti), via the song Belle. I have always liked this song . It establishes the french theme, and gives us insight on the heroine and villain’s goals, with giving us insight on both of them, and we learn a lot about the setting and atmosphere about the town, who are very gossipy and believes that the men should run everything. They all think Belle is odd, but the town hero and hunter Gaston wants to marry her because she is hot (and all the other boys think so as well). Gaston tries to woo her by tossing her library book in the mud, but she is not impressed and calls him primeval. She sings about being bored by the town as well.
Gaston and his sidekick start dissing her father Maurice (Rex Everhart), which causes her to get mad at them and says her father is a genius. When something blows up in her house, she runs home, with them laughing at her. Her father is pissed that the stupid machine is still not working. He is about to give up, but she says he always says that and he will be a worldwide inventor. Spoilers, he never becomes an inventor, it is forgotten about, and he just lives at the castle, probably having a dalliance with Mrs Potts (Angela Lansbury). They have a talk about Gaston, and she reveals that she is disgusted by him. Maurice gets the invention to work, and is off to the fair.
Well the Beast finds him and loses his top about having a guest. He does not care that Maurice is lost in the woods and has nowhere else to stay, so he tosses him in the dungeon. I am confused with the castle; what does he own? It is not clarified that he is the ruler of the little town or anything. I did hear from one of the comments on Unshaved Mouse that parents built castles for their reckless and undisciplined children to live at, so maybe that explains it.
It is the next morning, and Gaston literally has a wedding right outside Belle’s door. He knocks on the door (where she rolls her eyes to when she realizes it is him) and opens the door for him to put his dirty feet on her table, and attempt to ravish at her aggressively into marriage. She tosses him out of her house and into the mud, for him to be humiliated by the entire town. This bruises his ego a lot and makes him DETERMINED to marry Belle. After a hell of a morning, she goes outside to sing about wanting more than a provincial life
like living in a castle is an adventure or much better . Her horse arrives and takes her to the castle. THE HORSE ABANDONED MAURICE WAY BEFORE HE EVEN GOT TO THE CASTLE. WTF. I hate dumb inconsistencies and plot holes like this.
So word travels fast in the castle that a girl is there, and when she finally finds her father she comes face to face with the Beast.
So she offers to switch with her father, which the beast accepts, and sends off Maurice without letting them say goodbye. When she sees the beast in the light, she is shocked. Lumiere offers him to give her a better room, which he initially scoffs by, but realizes it is a good idea. When he visits her, she hates him because he did not let her say boy to her father, and he feels bad for it. He tells her that she is getting another room, and when they are on their way, Lumiere offers him to invite her to dinner, which the beast does, but the way he does it, he demands her to and says it is not a request before slamming the door. She falls on her bed and cries that she gave her life away.
The alive home decor has already evolved a plan to hook up Beast with Belle, and he is worried about her breaking the curse as well. They all tell him that they need to control his temper. Cogsworth tells them that she refuses to join him for dinner, which causes him to lose it. They get into an argument, and Beast is pretty close to being physically abusive. He demands that she will not eat if it is not with him.
Belle sneaks down to get something to eat, and Lumiere and Potts are more than willing to serve her, which leads them to the awesome Be Our Guest. While it is a good song, it is pretty much pointless. It does tell us that they have been objects for 10 years. Hold the hell up; they have been objects for 10 years, meaning Beast was about 10-11 when he was cursed. Then why does he have the photo (the one that I showed in the beginning about his human picture) like he has not aged since he was in the end of the film? They should not have had the 10 years line if it was insignificant. Plothole much? And it is not the only one. It is nice to see how much they want to entertain her and got them optimistic, but this song is useless because she is already their guest.
So she bails on the tour Cogsworth and Lumiere are willing to take her on to go to the West Wing, when she knows she is not supposed to be there. She sees the pic of the prince and likes what she sees. When the beast gets there, things turn almost physical.
So she runs away to only be almost killed by wolves, and is saved by the Beast. They are both grateful for saving one another (she took the beast back to the castle when he was scratched up) and some of the ice between them is broken. Maurice just left to get Belle, and Gaston is ready to set his plan to get Maurice in the Asylum, but no one is there and sends his
bitch best friend LeFou to be the watcher of the house, in case Maurice and/or Belle comes back.
So we then get 3 songs back to back; Something There, Human Again, and Beauty and the Beast, which takes about 10-15 minutes. So it is the next morning, and Belle is wearing Green (signaling her comfort and happiness) and Beast gives her a library because he suddenly wants to do something for her. It switches to another day (the final day to break the curse. And I know it is another day because Belle is wearing Pink), and they are playing with snow and eating, when they realize that there is something else between them, though their situation is not the typical Prince Charming type.
While Belle is reading Beast Romeo and Juliette like it is a romantic epic
that couple(Romeo and Juliette) makes the Classic couples look like geniuses, the objects are singing Human Again, which gives us a bit more insight on the side characters and what they want to do when they were human again, and what they were doing before the I realized that they waited until the last 3 days to actually do something. This film does not take place in months because…we will get there.
We get into the third song, as Beast is getting prepared for their dinner date, ready to confess his love for her to her. Beauty and the Beast starts with Belle and Beast meeting one another as they go down a long step of stairs. Mrs Potts is narrating their feelings about how they are both scared to love one another, and it was a surprise to them, and a big change for them. I think this expresses their relationship in a nutshell, and it is a magnificent song. So the couple goes outside and he asks how she likes it here, and she says she enjoys herself. She then drops a bomb about missing her father, and then he goes to get her mirror, where we see her father laying in the forest.
So she leaves the castle (which saddens everyone) to take her father home. Soon enough, there is a knock at the door, and Monsieur D’Arque (Tony Jay) arrives to pick up her father. She refuses to let that happen, and Gaston offers a bargain; she marries him for her father’s freedom. Not even that will get her to marry him, which shows that she always thought Gaston was worse than the Beast. She shows them the mirror that the Beast does exist, which leads to the Mob Song. I forgot to mention that Gaston and the town have a lot of similarities to Grom and Sleepy Hollow in Ichabod and Mr.Toad.
They go to the castle and all of the men get their asses kicked by the furniture and abandons the castle. Beast vs Gaston takes place and Gaston is whooping his hairy ass since he is too depressed from Belle leaving. When Belle shows up, it gives him motivation to drag and throw Gaston like a rag doll, and has him begging to let him go and will do anything like a bitchass. Bele goes to Beast, and he demands Gaston to get out. As the couple reconcile, Gaston pulls a punk move and stabs him, and the villain falls to his death by bad balance.
So the beast does, and is revived into a human by Belle saying she loves him. So everyone turns back into a human, and it takes her a few seconds to recognize it is the Beast, and they share one of the most passionate kisses in the canon. They are later in the castle celebrating and dancing, with Lumiere about to chase Babette (Mary K Bergman), but ends up fighting Cogsworth, and Chip (who got Belle and Maurice out of the truck and to the castle in the climax; also voiced by Bradley Michael Pierce) talks with his mother with Maruice standing right beside them. The films ends with a stainglass picture of the couple.
The characters are awesome in this film. I like that they have more characterization and depth (more than ever at this point), and they all are really fun. It is rarer for me to not hate or dislike at least a character in a movie, but I honestly cannot say that I dislike a character in this movie.
I have to say that the animation is an improvement over both The Rescuers Down Under and The Little Mermaid. The CAPS looks more organic and like they know what they are doing. The character designs are brilliant (though Belle does look different in certain scenes) the background settings look exquisite, and the coloring is perfect. The settings are really well done, but sometimes, some things are really choppy and weird looking, but this is with the background characters and minor objects. They did have like a year and a half to animate this film.
The music is awesome. Most of the songs give extra depth to the characters, extremely catchy, and smartly lyric-ed. I like the french Broadway theme, and I think it is perfect for the pacing and the setting of the film. Show-stoppers like Be Our Guest, Gaston, and so many others will be forever stuck in your head. They are perfectly placed, and I honestly have mo complaints against it.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on November 13, 1991 internationally and November 22nd, 1991 domestically, it broke records. It is the third highest grossing film of 1991,and the first animated film to gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, making $145,863,363. It made $206,000,000 internationally, with a worldwide total of $351, 863, 363
I do not know why they complained about Pocahontas‘ box office, when it made $5 million less. This was a HUGE and overwhelming success for the company, and this caused them to officially make musicals their thing.
When it comes to critical reception, it was praised even more than The Little Mermaid. It was compared to being as good as or even better than the films in the Golden Age, liking it for being relatable to modern times, but still keeping the classic fairy tale theme. People went crazy over this film in early 1992, so much that it was nominated for Best Picture, which was unheard of for an animated film. Because of this, they would make massive changes to a project that was just getting into production: Pocahontas.
Well, the songs Belle, Be Our Guest, and Beauty and the Beast (which won) was nominated for Best Original Song in the Academy Awards, and that was rare for 3 films of a film to be nominated, which only happened to The Lion King, Dreamgirls, and Enchanted. It was nominated for 2 other Academy Awards, a Golden Globe (as it won the other 3 it was nominated for). The soundtrack charted #16 on the Billboard charts, and is deemed 3X Platinum.
Do I even have to say it? It is still a mega-classic. Some see this film as the best Disney film to be ever put out, and it is still a huge money maker. It is extremely successful on Broadway, spawned 2 sequels from 1997-98, is very prominent on merchandise and theme parks. This movie is one of the first things that pop up when Disney is mentioned or seen.
= 34/40 = 85%
38 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Beauty and the Beast”
FYI, this is my longest review yet, with over 3,700 words. Aladdin’s review will be over 4,000, and the other Renaissance reviews will be around this length. Animatedkid’s blog’s anniversary is the same day as when I post the Aladdin review. WOOHOO.
Congrats on blogging for a year Animatedkid. It is quite the achievement. The alleged plot holes of BatB is becoming almost viral around the web. I hope it does not tarnish its reputation, which you may argue otherwise. In any case, I will be addressing these plot holes on my blog sooner or later. I’m curious as to what you will think of my interpretation of these events.
Thank you Kevin Tae. You have been one of my biggest supporters, and I cannot believe that I actually lasted a year. As things age, and as the internet only grows, certain things about these films gets more and more exploited, and the plot holes here got exploited. It is like many people now saying that Aladdin not aging well, and Robin Williams’ Genie weakening the film, and the film overall being really 90s. It did not tarnish Beauty and the Beast in any way, as most still regard it as the best. I would love to see that blog.
I would have given two more points for the story (the timeline-fudges are more or less the only true issue), because it has more layers than in other Disney movies. The parallels drawn between the Beast and Gaston and their relationship to Belle are quite fascinating. (The Beast is becoming more and more human during the movie, Gaston is becoming more and more beastly…I also love the aspect that what Belle actually wants is being accepted for her mind instead of her looks, so she shares with the Beast the desire to find someone who looks behind the façade from the get go), but otherwise, I agree with your rating. I would have taken a point for the characters, too, mainly because I dislike the archetype Maurice presents, and I wish that we would know a little bit more about the Beast, a hobby, an interest, anything which isn’t curse-related. And I agree concerning the animation. It is really impressive, but often a little bit rushed. Half a year more would be a good idea to correct countless snafus (the most obvious being that Gaston apparently shots arrows out of his gun barrel).
I told you from May (when I wrote this review) that I would not outright bash it like I did for the past year and a half.
I added most of the points with the dynamics of the 3 characters in the Characters session instead of the story. They did it perfectly with Gaston being more of a monster and Beast being more of a…….beast.
Since Maurice is not a big focus in the movie, and the fact that he is not an outright goofball like Sultan, Mr. Porter, and others, there is still some seriousness and ambition in Maurice that does not make him too over the top.
It is funny how Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin were so rushed, and are highly regarded, while Pocahontas was in production for 5 years (longer than any other Renaissance film) and is…not very good.
But has better animation than both of the other movies. Way better. Pocahontas is not a good movie, but when it comes to the animation, that’s the best Disney has to offer after Sleeping Beauty.
I definitely see the plot holes in this film, namely the timeline with the Prince, but I consider them pretty minor since they don’t really affect the overall story and messages. I like how you mentioned the similarities between Gaston and Sleepy Hollow, which I see too. It relates to how he becomes more evil as the story develops, which I love instead of having a defined villain right away. Overall, I think “Beauty and the Beast” is still the best Disney movie ever made, but I like how you gave it a fair review based on how you saw the characters and story. Props for also rating Belle as a great protagonist! 🙂
I guess it is just personal preference if the holes bothers something. It is just that many people say that Belle and Beast’s relationship takes place in months, but the holes contradict that.
There are a lot of similarities with Sleepy Hollow/Town, and Grom/Gaston. It is nice to have those comparisons with 2 good films/shorts.
I have to be fair. To be honest, the only reason why this film got as high as it did in the scores is because the musical format gave a lot more depth to the characters. A lot better than almost every movie in the canon.
Have you seen “Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Chrsitmas”? It’s interesting cause if we take that movie into the timeline consideration, then Belle could have been at the castle for a few months. It seemed like she got there around the fall (since the leaves were fall colors at the time she went) and stayed as the winter came, including Christmas. But even if we don’t, I always felt like Maurice was in the forest only for a few days at the most.
I agree that the musical format gave much more depth to the characters than previous Disney films (although I thought Little Mermaid did a great job too, but not as good as BATB).
Maurice left to go after her within 24 hours after Belle arrived at the castle. I watched Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Christmas years ago, maybe in about a decade. The Disneytoons sequels (which I will be covering next year) screwed up A LOT about the original movies.
I’m still confused, lol. How do we know Maurice left within 24 hours after Belle arrived at the castle? I always assumed he didn’t go back until like a month or two later.
I know that because the scene switches from Belle running to cry in her room, then a thunderstorm moving from the castle to the pub, where Gaston sings his song, and Maurice returns to the town to get help, only to go after Belle that same night, by himself. After all of that, the scene switches to Belle being in her room, refusing to eat.
After Gaston sings, Maurice says, “Will no one help me?” The next scene is then back to the castle with Belle crying in her room. We then don’t see Maurice until after the Asylum scene (which happens after Belle was attacked by the wolves). I can see a minor plot hole here, where we don’t know how long Maurice was in the forest, but I don’t see how he left within 24 hours. The Asylum scene could have taken place a few days after Gaston first thought of the idea. But again, these are just minor things for me compared to the overall story. 🙂
Meant to add that we don’t see Maurice until after the Asylum scene, when he’s in the cottage packing up to go back to the castle. Plus, he walked on foot this time rather than travel by horse, so it probably took him more time to get there.
It takes him days…or months (depending on the person) to walk towards the area? All of that is happening as Belle is warming up to the castle, in the same day (as it is still night as all of these events happen, and chronologically night time). The Asylum scene where Gaston gets the man to come to his pub?
Yep, where Gaston meets the man who will put Maurice into the Asylum unless Belle agrees to marry him. Right after that scene, we go to the cottage where Maurice packs up to go to the castle and then leaves before Gaston arrives. That’s where I don’t see Maurice leaving within 24 hours. If we assume that this scene along with Gaston meeting the man happened within hours after Gaston sings, then sure. I can see where he could leave within that timeframe. But I guess I assume the Asylum scene happens maybe like a few days later (maybe even the next day) because it’s nighttime when Gaston sings and it might be impossible to find the man that late at night, lol. Also, when Gaston arrives at the cottage, sure it’s dark, but not as dark as say when the mob comes later. In this sense, maybe it’s not necessarily nighttime of the same day. The weather’s different too. It’s not as snowy and windy as when Maurice left the pub, so that could indicate it’s a different day as well. And yes, it could take days to walk to an area, especially for Maurice since he seems to get lost easily, lol!
You dare say bad things about BATB?! How dare you, sir?!!!
Lol, j/k! But like the others said, the “time span/distance” is really the only issue that I see in the film and that doesn’t bother me at all.
I did, and I LOVED it.
To each their own, I just thought that it was a bit too sloppy for me to really ignore. Not as jarring as the plotholes in Hercules.
I absolutely adore “Beauty and the Beast”. Maybe there are some holes, though. That one about Phillippe never visiting the castle and taking Belle to it doesn’t really matter to me. He did drop Maurice off, but it wasn’t that far from the castle to me. Maybe Belle just rode him there?
Regarding the Beast’s age at the time he was cursed, I believe that it was believed that the rose would BLOOM until the Beast’s 21st birthday. From Disney’s stance, the rose bloomed for five years and wilted for the next five. That would make the Beast’s age in “Beauty and the Beast” 26 (21+5=26). So, 26-10=16. The Beast was apparently 16 years old when cursed, so maybe that portrait could fit? I could be wrong though.
I was thinking about Maurice being stuck in the forest for a long time too. It’s been a while since I watched “Beauty and the Beast,” but I think I recall Gaston telling LeFou to wait by Belle and Maurice’s house until “Belle AND her father returned home.” I think that maybe Maurice did return home at least once between the two days, but LeFou may not have gotten Gaston because for the plan to work, Gaston needed Belle AND Maurice. Gaston would need Belle to KNOW that he had Maurice so her could blackmail her into marrying him. What point would it be if Gaston only had Maurice? Again, just my thoughts. I could be wrong and feel free to say I am. 😉
I’m fine with Belle having little to no flaws. It’s not like she was the one to go though the character arc anyway, right? Technically the Beast was to learn the lesson anyway. Admittedly, it may be a little shallow as the Beast still fell in love with a beautiful person and didn’t learn how to love a person DESPITE their appearance, as that was what caused him to be cursed in the first place. But still, he learned how to love, so the film still offers a great message.
But overall, great review, but unlike you, I still kind of consider “Beauty and the Beast” to be the best Disney film in terms of quality. Which do you consider to be the best?
*he could blackmail her
Maurice going to the pub and going after Belle happened in the same day as Belle arrived. Why? As soon as we see Belle cry in her room, we go through a snowstorm and to the pub (with it STILL snowing afterwards). Gaston sings his song in the pub, and Maurice pops up (I HIGHLY DOUBT he would wait months and weeks to go to the pub to tell them Belle is with a monster). They reject Maurice, and the father goes BACK outside to get Belle. From that scene, we are taken to Belle STILL in her room, and Beast trying to get her to eat.
You are right. It would bloom until his 21st birthday.
Yes, Gaston put LeFou there after Maurice already went back for Belle. It has been revealed that LeFou was there the entire time. They were trying to get Maurice in the asylum, but could not because he was already gone. He needed both of them, but Maurice already left to get Belle.
Belle should have though because she is the main character, not the Beast. The message is good, and I do think the Beast’s love is a bit shallow, as he never says why he is in love with her. He instead rants on about his love for her without explaining or really seeing why he loves her. He keeps on mentioning that she is beautiful.
Since I have written (not published) most of the reviews, this film has the highest mark, and that is only because the musical format and the depth in the songs were able to move on the plot and add depth to the characters from it’s slightly sloppy story.
Ahh, good points. Yeah, I see it. Kind of hard to get around thoes holes.
I always thought that Belle and the Beast were co-protagonists. Both having pretty much equivilant roles with each other. A little strange, but if you’re right about Belle being the main protagonist, then yes. I agree. She should have had more flaws.
I agree with Cardeen. I see Belle and the Beast as co-protagnosists. The story is about how the Beast needed to learn to love (his redemption story) and he learned through Belle.
“Regarding the Beast’s age at the time he was cursed, I believe that it was believed that the rose would BLOOM until the Beast’s 21st birthday. From Disney’s stance, the rose bloomed for five years and wilted for the next five.”
That makes so much sense! I buy that reasoning!