WHO: The Beast
FROM: Beauty and the Beast (Disney version)
BY: Linda Woolverton, Roger Allersetal et al — Writers Alan Menken — Music, Howard Ashman — Lyrics.
WHEN RELEASED: 1991
PROS: Under his furry, grumpy exterior he’s really a kind, warm person.
CONS: he’s hot-tempered and tends toward self loathing and self-pity. At the beginning of the tale he was also selfish, vain, and judged other by the way they looked.
BEST SHINING MOMENT: Letting Belle go to her father even though it means he’ll always be a Beast.
LEAST SHINING MOMENT: Imprisoning Maurice.
WHY I CHOOSE HIM: I like the Beast’s story arch. He learns something in the course of 84 minutes that changed how he saw himself and how he saw the world. He learned to love, and was willing to let that love go if it meant her happiness.
Honestly I didn’t need the last five minutes of the show. I’m glad [SPOILER ALERT] Belle saved his life. But for me he could have stayed in Beast form. He’d already proven that he was beautiful on the inside. He didn’t need to transform outwardly. BUT I do think the absolute glee that he feels for his friends after their transformation is a lovely touch.
I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to Disney. It seems that the Mouse is rather ham-fisted in the way it monopolizes children’s entertainment. They often opt for a watered down, sugared up, “what-will-sell-best” version of a story over the original classic (Winnie the Pooh, anyone?) But with Beauty and the Beast they got it right. It’s not the original French fairytale, but it is a lovely version of the story and it is told with depth and … well… beauty.
The movie was the first animated featured film ever nominated for an Oscar. Although it didn’t win Best Picture, Beauty and the Beast did win Best Original Score and Best Original Song. It was made into a Broadway musical in 1994.