Thursday, March 24, 2005

Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

It has been three days since I watched the Disney On Ice: Princess Classics. I have repeatedly watched the clips I recorded of the performance, especially the “Beauty and the Beast” sequence, where the Beast transforms into the handsome Prince. The pitch blackness to the tensed music along with small sparkling lights in the background, then the burst of fire and the enchanted boom and all the lights come on at once, and the cloak of the Beast is lifted to reveal a man! Very grand moment! I even watched it in slow-mo, how the guy got out of that cloak.
And thanks to Gina from 4/4, I now know how he changes so quickly. When Gaston stabs the Beast, a lot of smoke is produced and the lights around the doorway are switched off, then the actor as Gaston pushes the guy in the Beast costume into the door who quickly, switches with the actor in the Prince costume who comes out under an identical purple cloak that is on the Beast costume. He is hidden in the smoke and the darkness gives him better cover. Plus, attention is pulled away by Gaston as he climbs to the top of the ‘castle’ and falls to his death. Then everything goes dark, the tragic drama, then the description I stated from the pitch blackness, the music, the lights, the fire, the boom, and there we have the prince! Thank you for your keen observation, Gina! I did not catch that since I was video taping and there was a lot of smoke. But I was thinking it.

Well, that exquisite performance had refreshed my love for “Beauty and the Beast”. And after three days, the urge was too overwhelming to ignore, thus tonight, I watched “Beauty and the Beast” after about three months! Ooh, what a great movie. Well, I just realized that some parts do not make sense. But it is a really really really damn good movie! In case you do not know what the movie is about, here is the story:

A spoiled and selfish young prince(Robby Benson) is turned into a monstrous Beast as punishment and is given a magic mirror which shows anything and an enchanted rose. He has to learn to love and be loved in return before the last petal falls on his 21st birthday, then the spell would be broken, or he would have to remain a beast forever. Belle(Paige O'Hara) is a beautiful girl who lives in a small village which she calls a provincial town. She loves reading and longs for adventure and wants more than what her simple village has to offer. She is constantly pursued by Gaston(Richard White), a handsome, strong, conceited man who is the most wanted man in the town. And he will stop at nothing to have the most beautiful girl in town as his bride. Belle’s father, Maurice, is an old inventor who intends to reap the success of his latest invention at the fair. On his way, he gets lost deep in the woods and comes upon the Beast’s castle. He enters and is welcomed by the servants – humans who had been turned into knick-knacks (e.g. clocks, furniture, candlesticks). But he is imprisoned by the Beast, who takes him for a trespasser. Belle sets out to find her father and trades herself for her father – Maurice is released and Belle has to stay with the Beast forever. At first, she hates him and shuns him, be being brutish, rude and unkind. But eventually, she becomes very fond of him as he learns to be kind and gentle, winning her affections. But when it is discovered that Maurice is severely ill and possibly dying, the Beast sacrifices his chance to become human and sets Belle free, giving her his magic mirror to remember him always. “I let her go. I had to. Because, I love her.” Belle returns to her father, but Gaston has a plan – he claims Maurice is crazy (since he went about town asking for help, that Belle has been captured by a beast and all) and has him thrown into an asylum and will have him released only if Belle chooses to marry him. Belle refuses and reveals to the gathered mob the Beast in the magic mirror. Gaston realizes that Belle might have feelings for the Beast and thus plays on the people’s fear for this creature and declares that the Beast must be killed. They storm the castle and Gaston attacks the broken and dejected Beast on the roofs. But Belle races back to the castle and when the Beast sees her, he fights back, seeing that there is still a ray of hope. Finally, Gaston inflicts a fatal wound on the Beast just before he loses his grip and falls to his death. Belle manages to pull the Beast back onto the balcony where they exchange comforting words before he dies. She weeps and whispers, “I love you” just before the last petal falls (one big and lucky coincidence). Dead or alive, the Beast had learned to love and won the love of another before the last petal fell. Thus the spell breathed life back into him and turned him back into a man – a handsome Prince at that! The spell was lifted off all the servants who turned back into humans as well. Belle married the Prince and lived happily ever after. Her own fantasies have come true and the happy endings in the books she reads come true in her life.

You know what? I noticed that “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Phantom of the Opera” have a lot in common! The following are proofs:
- Story: The point that an ugly guy falls in love with a pretty girl
- Homes: Both the Beast’s and the Phantom’s realms are dark and gloomy
- Love: They both fall in love with beautiful girls (Emmy Rossum was pretty, but hardly beautiful. I’m referring to Sarah Brightman! Belle, however, is undeniably beautiful.)
- Significant objects: Shattered mirrors, roses, chandeliers! (Plus, in a “Lilo & Stitch” trailer, when Belle and the Beast were dancing, the chandelier did crash! Just like the Phantom’s.)
- Age: Both Belle and Christine are 16 (Belle being 16 is an assumption, since the other princesses like Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid are 16 too.)
- Culture: Both are French
- History: Both go more than a century back

Am I not observant? And I am sure I might be able to find some more. Well, I doubt I have anything more to say. Only that you should go watch “Beauty and the Beast”. I hope they do make a live-action version of this movie. Change the cast if they see fit, (sadly, Paige O’Hara (Belle) cannot play Belle in the live-action one since she is not really a beauty. I suggest Diane Kruger, but dye her hair brown for the role, please.) but keep Robby Benson to provide the voice for the Beast (assuming that the Beast will be animated). Have a young guy to play the prince, but have Robby Benson be the Beast! No one can provide such a deep and coarse and fearsome voice which can be gentle and kind and sympathetic at the same time!

My rating: 4.5/5*


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