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%