Remembering Disney's Beauty and the Beast
For me, if there was one movie that really well captured my attention it was Beauty and the Beast. I bought the DVD edition which actually revealed a lot of times the film was shelved. And some research actually had these elements brought from the book like the Beast's curse as a result of his unkind heart in his younger years and another, Belle's name was really Belle in the novels.
Belle's story was altered yet again. Rather than give her two rude sisters, she's the only child. Her character has become a wide reader, my ideal type of girl to have. Plus the fact she stands up against her pursuer Gaston makes her no damsel in distress most of the time, though at time she has become one. I was thinking maybe Disney didn't have any idea what to do with Belle's sisters so they wrote them off into non-existence. Was just thinking if Belle had sisters, maybe she is the fairest of them and they will both also try to get Gaston's attention like they did in the classic French film. For me, Belle as a leading lady has the inner qualities I want in a girl though I'll admit, she is really hot but that's not what matters to her character at all. In fact, she's not even aware of how her beauty is also a curse to her when Gaston wants her for the wrong reasons.
The character of Beast is pretty complex. So biologically he's still human but the curse had also given him animal instincts. So assuming he had a child without the curse being broken. For one, I am amazed to see how his bad temper always gets the best of him so I really can relate to him. For one, he was selfish and spoiled which was the reason behind the curse like it was in the novels. But unlike the novel where he is hospitable, this version of Beast hates having strangers and treats Maurice far differently than that of the novel. This also laid a curse on his household to which I think the fairy had gotten too far. Well he has a hoeric side to which he saved Belle but one has to admit, the beginning of it all was lust. Yup he lusted after Belle by forcing her to have dinner with him (good thing nothing explicit). But he changes, which Belle slowly falls for him.
See what I mean? Disney changed some of the details. In the original book, his counterpart was given hospitality and only got Beast's ire when he stole a rose from the garden. Which again, was weird. In here, he was locked up which does give credit to Disney for actually not copying that part. Maurice here is an inventor, not a merchant and nothing is known of Belle's mother in either Disney or book. What both book and Disney fail to address is how come not everyone knew of the cursed castle or two, what country does Beast rule anyway?! Where are Beast's parents? Was he orphaned at such a young age? These questions were never answered and Disney didn't bother to come up with a good story.
For Gaston, he was the villain who for one, thinks he's a hero which is amazing just like Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame both novel (as a priest) and Disney (as a judge). One problem was that Gaston despite his good looks looked too obvious a jerk (I wish the artist made him look more like Avenant in the very old movie which I am yet to see). From what I read, Avenant from the old movie was an original character and two, he was more refined than Gaston was. Shame really, that Gaston wasn't that charming so he becomes more menacing. Now for the big deal about Gaston. Gaston is lustful and appears heroic so I guess he has the whole village support he'll have Belle (except for the dumb girls who want him). So what happens is that he literally plagues Belle's life. Adding Gaston added real conflict rather than just Belle and Beast. This reminds me to how we are plagued with false heroes everywhere that must be unmasked. Gaston's lust for Belle proved his downfall and one of the most satisfying defeats to watch... EVER!