Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' Makes No Sense
I realize Beauty and the Beast is just a kid's film, but even a film meant for children should make sense. I mean, kids aren't dumb. At least, they weren't during the time when this movie was first released (just kidding).
This film came out when I was a kid still picking my nose, but even back then, I noticed a lot of things that just didn't make sense and were treated like they were totally normal. Honestly, it's a bit insulting.
Even a children's film about talking dinnerware should make sense, dammit.
Belle is Ostracized For Being a Nerd
I actually related to this a lot when I was a kid because I was treated the exact same way. People treated me like a freak just for liking to read and being a nerd -- partially because it wasn't expected for a remotely attractive girl to be one and partially because nerds were still hated back then.
And, boy howdy, was I a nerd. I looked at Star Trek and loved cheese, for God's sake.
Then along came Belle, who was so much like me! And yet . . . it didn't make sense.
It didn't make sense for a woman of Belle's time period to be considered "odd" or "weird" or some kind of loser because she liked to read. Most people in Belle's world weren't even literate. Reading back then didn't make someone weird -- it made them rich! Educated! And fully desirable! Being a nerd in that time meant you were from a powerful, privileged class and people lined up to be with you!
And yet, Gaston is going on about marrying Belle because she's beautiful, despite her nerdiness.
Disney basically took a fictional version of France and presented it to us as modern America so that kids could relate. It worked because I related to Belle. But I was still scratching my head all the way.
Which brings me to my next point.
The Beast Can't Read
What the H to the E Double L?
Why can't the Beast read? He's a prince. He's the most wealthy, powerful person in this fictionalized version of France, can afford the best education there is, and yet, he can't read worth a damn.
A literal peasant woman is teaching him to read. This is remarkable because women and poor people did not have access to education.
I realize this was done just to show Belle and the Beast bonding over something but come on. They couldn't be more creative than this? Even the most mediocre writer can write a good story that also makes sense. It just makes no sense for a rich guy to not know how to read, no matter how you slice it.
I realize I'm beating a dead horse here, but even as a child, it made zero sense for Belle to fall in love with the same guy who first imprisoned her sick father and then imprisoned her.
That's a healthy start to a relationship, right?
And then, even if you can get past that, what exactly is there to love about the Beast?
He threw a ball for her. So? She should love him because he forced her to come to dinner and wear a yellow dress?
Belle tries to run away, so he saves her life. So? Why should she fall in love with him just because he saved her from hungry wolves? That wouldn't have happened if a) he hadn't imprisoned her father like a jerk to begin with and b) she hadn't been running away from his yelling and aggression.
There are a few scenes where Belle and the Beast whimsically play in the snow, but that's not enough to fall in love with someone. Any sane, rational woman would fall in love with someone who shared her interests, was fun to be around, and you know, displayed the slightest shred of basic human decency.
Belle and her father were put forth as utterly insane, so maybe that's the logic here. But even then, we see that Belle is clearly not insane, as she is smart enough and brave enough to at least try running away at one point rather than submit to a life of imprisonment.
This could almost be a metaphor for women who settle rather than keep searching for a healthy relationship, but . . . I doubt Disney was trying to be that deep.
The whole point of the story was that the Beast had no decency and had to learn to be human through being a beast. Disney just . . . didn't pull it off well. Because honestly? There is no justifiable reason that Belle should have fallen in love with the Beast.
Belle Didn't Know the Beast's Name
Belle didn't know the Beast's name, even though she lived with him for, what? Several months?
It's like Disney forgot the Beast was even human and a prince before the witch came along and cursed him. He was often referenced out-of-film as "Prince Adam" but leaving that out of the movie was just silly.
I suppose Disney was going for a classical fairy tale narrative where characters don't have names and are instead referred to as The Farmer and The Milkmaid. But again, it just didn't work in a story where most people have names -- even the dinnerware!
The Enchantress was Actually Evil
Think about this. How was Prince Adam wrong for not wanting some weird old woman to sleep in his castle? Would you let a homeless old woman sleep in your house if she turned up on your doorstep offering you a flower in exchange for a bed? And would you really be an awful person if you didn't?
Prince Adam didn't know this old woman from horse shite. And yet, he's expected to let her in? And it turns out he was right, because she was actually a wicked enchantress in disguise!
I mean, seriously. Why did she have to curse his servants? They didn't do anything. Turning kids into teacups? That is awful.
Because of the evil enchantress, Chip has to sleep in the cabinet with his 99,000 other siblings, all of whom are assumed to be the children of Mrs. Potts.
Either Mrs. Potts adopted all those kids or she and Lumiere were really setting things on fire.
If you want to be serious about it, there were probably a lot of orphans working in the castle, and Mrs. Potts just took them under her wing as "her children." But within the context of the film, the implications are hilarious.
Yes, a lot of things didn't make sense, but at the end of the day, who cares? The movie was beautifully animated, the protagonist was relatable despite being a mermaid, and the songs were catchy as hell.
Oh wait. Wrong film.
© 2018 Ash Gray