Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Beauty and the Beast


posted by on Movies/TV


"I use antlers in all of my decorating!"


(click the pics for the full size screencaps in case you want Gaston as your desktop background, not like I did that or anything, ahem)

This post is for the Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. I have a history with the film Beauty & the Beast and it is Disney Week here so I have a lot to write about this film. Uh, sorry.

I have a special place in my heart for what is referred to as the Disney Renaissance. These are films that were released from the late 1980’s through the late 1990’s. Since I was born in 1983 this puts them smack dab in my childhood. Like most girls my age I loved Beauty and the Beast. Although you could always relate to a Disney movie in some way, such as longing for excitement I couldn’t relate to the female characters in the movies. I mean all of us wanted to be them but even as a young girl I never combed my hair with a fork.

But Belle! She was always reading. She went through books so quickly that she had to reread them. Me too! When I turned 10 and had to get glasses I was sure that I had overused my eyes with all of my reading and that it was punishment. So for me a big part of the movie was that Belle was a bookworm.

Then there’s the magnificent ode to Gaston scene. It’s just so much fun that you have to sing along. Since, like many Disney flicks, most of the movie is pretty dramatic this scene really provides the comic relief for you.

I was almost Belle for Halloween when I was a young’un (circa 10 years old). There’s a creepy costume rental shop in my town and I spied this gorgeous, glamorous Belle gown a mile away so I begged my mother to rent it for me for Halloween. Of course it ended up not fitting me because I was going through an awkward phase and they had 1 dress in 1 size in the whole store. I was devastated. (in fact I’m weeping right now, sike). I’ve actually almost bought Belle costumes as an adult to wear for Halloween but the official ones are ill fitting/ugly and I can’t afford those elaborate hand made eBay jobs.

As a teen my French teacher decided to do a movie day (translation: your teacher is taking the day off) . When they announced that the movie was Beauty & the Beast the boys rolled their eyes and we did too, at first, because we wanted to be cool. Then all of us admitted to each other that we had loved the movie as kids. One girl was reciting lines and when we said that her French had really improved she told us that she had the entire movie memorized. Then all of us started discussing the hotness that is Gaston. Hey, give us a break, teen hormones. But seriously if Beauty and the Beast hadn’t have come out prior to Army of Darkness I’d question if someone had modeled Gaston off of Bruce Campbell as Ash in Army of Darkness because that shit is uncanny. I didn’t really pay attention to the movie though because we were all bull shitting.

Fast forward to last year. When the blu-ray came out I had to have it. Just go check out the blu-ray screencaps over at blu-ray.com and you can see how gorgeous it is. (Unfortunately my caps in this post are from the DVD because I don’t have a blu-ray drive in either of my computers.)

However apparently aging changes Beauty and the Beast a bit for a girl. As a little girl I saw it as a story about 2 outcasts who found love together, with magic! However even though I still love it during my first adult viewing I caught myself yelling “Belle has Stockholm Syndrome!” at the TV. I mean it was a bit disturbing. I’m also pretty sure that if sexuality were a choice then Belle should have become a lesbian because these 2 romantic choices were essentially exactly a like (brawny/dumb/schemers). You know what there main difference is? Gaston actually offered her marriage which is what a young woman in that time period should go for as opposed to the dude who could accidentally maul you, then make sweet love to you, then kick you out of that fantastic castle.

Hmm, maybe Beauty and the Beast is every little girls fantasy because he’s the guy you can change. That beast had a huge library that he wasn’t even reading any books out of. Plus despite being rich he had terrible table manners. So, a fixer up with money. I guess a lot of women would like that.

And now, a few gratuitous extra screencaps.

Book seller or lending library? In a place populated by illiterate townsfolk this guy has a really bad business model.

Like most of us Belle needs an escape from her dreary town, uh wait, I mean gorgeous French countryside.

When Gaston becomes insecure the whole town serenades him. Not too shabby.

"no one's got a swell cleft in his chin like Gaston"

more Disney bar skanks (because they are adorable)

P.S. I highly recommend reading The Film Experience as it is updated frequently and I always find out about movies I didn’t even know existed on there.

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