May 18, 2010

A blast from the past: Beauty and the Beast

Today we got to enjoy a splendid spring storm! Heavy rain and thunder... Me and my roommate had a very clever idea, which involved us jumping around in the rain and getting really wet. Are we sensible and mature adults or what, haha... To continue the day's theme, I decided to re-watch a childhood favourite, only in  the original language this time. Beware, the following will inculde a lot of overwhelming praise. A lot.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise. Voices by Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White.
Long story short: A curse is set upon a young arrogant prince, as he fails to show hospitality towards a poor old woman. The curse can only be broken by true love, of course. As it happens, the beautiful and good-hearted Belle ends up as a prisoner in his castle...

One word: nostalgy. If the memory serves me right, Beauty and the Beast was the first movie ever we got on VHS. As a Christmas present. Aaw, good times, good times. This is one of the best Disney animations, GOD I can't tell you how much I love it. (A lot.) This was the first time I saw it in English, and it was brilliant this way, too. Though I can't help but love the Finnish version, the songs and all, because I know them by heart and I remember what I thought about them as a kid and aaaaaaaaaah this nostalgy is wonderful.

Here are some things I love and adore about Beauty and the Beast.
The CHARACTERS. First of all, Belle is awesome. I dare say, one of the best female characters ever. She's a real heroine, kind, clever, independent, subtly sarcastic, brave, caring, and soooo pretty. I love that little strand of hair that she has to tuck back all the time. She's very possibly my favourite Disney princess. (Cinderella is great too, but she doesn't have Belle's awesome attitude.) And isn't that yellow ball dress just every girl's ultimate dream? I know it was mine.

Beast (I read that his real name is Prince Adam. Blah? I prefer Beast. 'Adam' is a bit too sissy) is wonderfully sweet and awkward, and scary as hell when he feels like it. Gaston is so thoroughly disgusting, easy to hate. Gaston's sidekick Lefou offers light slapstick humour for the kids, he's not that funny to me - except in the scene with the asylum boss, as he unintentionally (?) mocks Gaston. And those three identical blond idiots who worship Gaston, haha, great...

And then the enchanted servants, what individuals! The smooth Lumiere, the cranky Cogsworth, the sweet, sweet Mrs. Potts and his cute son Chip. And I love how they still kind of look like the objects they were - a teapot, a clock - after turning back into humans.

Second thing... The SONGS. They are just... I'm running out of words of praise. Well you know how they are. Two of my favourites are the Belle song in the beginning and the legendary Tale as old as time. Oh and of course this one, though for some reason I like it more in Finnish. But OH MAN this music is fantastic. Unfortunately they don't have songs like these in the new ones anymore.
Third... The VISUALS. Oh, the good old days when people were used instead of computers. The Beast's transformation sequence is just, um... magnificent! (There, a new word!) The castle is gorgeous and all the scenes in the woods are creepy, the wolfs and all.

The new Disney/Pixar animations are awesome, but nothing can really beat these old Disney classics. They are timeless. I can't wait to show them all to my own kids, or first to my nephew. They have to love them, they don't get to choose! Ah, if only I could be four again...

(This is kind of funny, though. They were under the curse for ten years. The beast can't be much older than Belle, who is, I'd say, in her twenties. That would make the prince about ten (eleven, I read somewhere) at the time the curse was set upon him. Isn't that a little harsh for a little boy...? Who (apparently) lived alone...? And another insignifigant thing that popped into my head. Are all the spoons and cups enchanted servants? Just how many servants does a little boy need, haha? I suppose some of them were just objects, come-to-life, like the armours... Oh well. These things don't really matter at all. And they don't change the fact that this movie is AMAZING.)

"It's not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting IDEAS, and THINKING..."
 "Gaston, you are positively primeval."
"Why thank you, Belle."


Eve said...

(We got the storm at night... It was great trying to sleep with all that noise!)

Oooh, I LOVE this movie! It's my Mom's favorite too. We didn't own this when we were little, but still I saw it manymany times. And I'm so going to buy the DVD as soon as the new Diamond Edition comes out!

Usually I hate dubs, but these Disney classics are a bit different... Since I've seen them in Finnish so many times as a kid, it's hard to love the original voices as much. When I'm watching something in English, I usually keep remembering the parts in Finnish and it's a bit distracting :D

Eeva said...

Yep, Finnish in the classics is the "right" language for me too. Different thing with the newer ones, some are impossible to watch in Finnish, because it sounds so fake! And many jokes get lost in translation, so better stick with the original.

But the classics... I don't know if the dubs were done better back then or it is only because you can't dislike something that was so dear to you as a kid, but Beauty and the Beast for exmaple, so so good in Finnish, too.

("Madame Gaston, en olla tahdo! Madame Gaston, hän tahtoo niin. Ei ei, ei nyt, nyt eikä koskaan en tahdo täällä mennä naimisiin!" <3)

Pia said...

Ah, that reaaaal-ly is one of the greatest film from childhood! it can make me cry now, in the age of 25, but not 18 years ago :D

Eeva said...

Yeah, same here! I suppose as a kid you are too busy concentrating on the talking teapots and stuff. :D

Harri said...

Beauty and the Beast is ...awsome (I tried to think up a better word but 'awsome' is the only one to describe this). Even though I prefer Bambi and Pocahontas to this.

Tales As Old as Time is one of the best disney songs ever (and that's a lot, really). And I really love the story, it's quite simple but very touching and ageless. "Tale as old as time" like they say.

I really should watch this again once more, I think that my VHS-version is still working.

Eeva said...

Pocahontas is brilliant, one of my faves, too! I think I've only seen Bambi once or twice, and about 15 years ago... A re-watch might be necessary. Lion King is also at the top of my list, as is Cinderella, Snow White, The Hunchback of Notre Dame etc etc etc... I really hope kids still watch these nowadays, otherwise they miss like the essence of childhood!