It’s been a while since my last re-watch and what better way to get back into it than with a classic Disney Princess. Throughout my childhood Belle was my Princess of choice and watching the film again it is not hard to see why I loved her so. She reads, dreams of adventure and gets to live in a really cool enchanted castle that is scary and friendly at the same time.
So here were my musings whilst I watched my favourite princess in action:
- The opening sequence gives me goosebumps! That theme is so beautifully haunting. After complaining in my first two re-watches about boring intros, Disney certainly got it right here. A fairy tale prologue told through images in the castle’s stained glass window.
- Also the opening shows how central the castle itself is to the story. In fact watching it now after man years of English Literature study I found myself saying ‘Oh, so the castle represents the beast. It’s all dark and scary looking but once you look a little deeper there is warmth and friendliness there’.
- Bonjour! Bonjour! My, the bustling town looks a lot brighter than I remember it. Have they done some cleaning up in the animation of this? I can’t put my finger on exactly what but something is different!
- Love how Belle’s favourite book describes all the main elements of the film; “Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise.” It means Belle gets to live out the adventure she was hoping for…except for the sword fight, it’s more of a mob brawling with furniture. But it’s still pretty daring!
- And the award for the worst possible pick up line goes to Gaston for “Belle, it’s about time you got your head out of those books and paid attention to more important things. Like me.”
- Oh and as Poor Old Maurice reaches the castle with the wolves howling behind him can it look any more frightening or impressive? I really do want that castle.
- Love how Gaston’s bragging song also includes the boast ‘I use antlers in all of my decorating.’ Home styling techniques are very important.
- Poor old Maurice really does have the most miserable time in this story. And he is at his most pitiful crying ‘Will no one help me?’ when he is cast out in to the snowy night.
- But back with Belle in the castle. Maurice thinks she is locked up in a dungeon, but actually she is getting five star luxury service from house hold appliances. Seriously, ‘Be Our Guest’, should be used to train hotel staff. Imagine Lumiere and Cogsworth running a hotel, it would be magnificent.
- By the way I especially love Cogsworth little dance move in the final moments of ‘Be Our Guest.’ It’s only for a second but he does a little bop and a little wiggle. Adorable!
- And it all goes wrong after that with some trespassing, temper losing and terrified fleeing. Belle ends up surrounded by wolves and then picks up a big stick and her hair comes undone and she goes into hero mode. And I have huge prompts for Belle, because she is rightly terrified at this point but she stays put and tries to defend the horse Phillipe. Even though Phillipe did not do the same for Poor Old Maurice. But we will let him off as he is a horse.
- Beast comes to the rescue and after a rugged display of fighting. The two begin to make friends.
- Erm. I don’t remember this bit. What’s going on? This is a new song! Sneaky Disney added extra footage! And for the first time we see the lengths the servants went to, to get Belle and Beast to fall for one another. And this adds to the Castle-represents-the-Beast theory. The castle is getting spruced up and so is Beast.
- Another great lyric now in the mob song ‘We don’t like, what we don’t Understand, it frankly scares us. And this monster is mysterious at least!
- But the mob is not going to get very far because the furniture fights back with hilarious results. Who wouldn’t be scared of a dive-bombing wardrobe?
- And as we enter the final battle I am particularly impressed with the Beast’s snarls and roars. The growl in his voice has been cool though out but here it really is scary.
- And then the bad guy falls, the couple kiss, the spell is broken and in the closing scene even Poor Old Maurice is smiling. And they dance and live happily ever after! And Belle remains my favourite princess.