Tag Archives: The Beast

Thoughts On the 25th Anniversary of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.

You never forget that first Broadway show that leaves a mark on you.

For me, that show is the stage adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.

Stepping (both literally and physically) into titular roles of Beauty and the Beast were Susan Egan and Terrence Mann.  Last week, the show celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The production value was faultless. It was amazing how one stage could be transformed from an ordinary village to a mysterious castle in a matter of moments. The costumes were stunning and the cast were absolutely marvelous. Both Egan and Mann brought their characters to life in a way that felt like an ordinary couple falling in love, not a cursed prince and a bookish woman who are brought together by fate in a world that can only be defined as surreal.

I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I’ve seen quite a few Broadway shows over the years, but a piece of my heart will always belong to the tale as old as time.

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Beauty And The Beast DVD Review (2014)

Beauty And The Beast is one of those fairy tales.  Every writer who has picked up their pen or turns on their computer has a different perspective on how to tell the story.

In 2014, another reboot hit theaters. Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the title roles. Unlike other adaptations, the narrative of the film is closer to the narrative of the original fairy tale. Belle is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who has taken on her father’s debt to the Beast. The Beast is a prince who was cursed and can only return to his human form once he has the love of a woman.

I wanted to like this film, I really did. While most of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations of recent memory have moved away from the original narrative, this film clings pretty closely to the source material. The problem is that I was underwhelmed and the lead actors lacked the chemistry to make me believe that they would hopefully have their happily ever after.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Once Upon A Time Character Review: Belle

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For many female movie fans (especially those of a certain age), Belle from Beauty And The Beast is and will always be a revelation. Unlike her predecessors, her end goal was not finding a man and living happily ever after. She was more concerned with her books and taking care of her widowed father.

Halfway through the first season of Once Upon A Time, Belle (Emilie de Raven) was introduced to the world of OUAT via the episode Skin Deep.  This Belle is similar to the animated Belle in that she is smart, kind, loves books and agreed to go with the Beast aka, Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) in return for sparing her father’s life.  But while the animated Belle has almost a simple, almost predictable character arc, the OUAT Belle has a much more complex character arc.

For most of the series, Belle and Rumple have an up and down relationship. Their mutual love is obvious, but so is her will to completely change him that she ignores the fact that he and will forever be The Dark One.  This roller coaster, is of course, not helped by Rumple’s addiction to magic, but that will be discussed in detail next week.

Their relationship is only truly healed when Belle realizes that as much as she loves him, Rumple will never change completely. After their son, Gideon is kidnapped and raised by the Black Fairy (who also happens to be Rumple’s mother), Belle realizes that the Beast and the man are one and the same. She cannot love one or the other. She has to love both.

To sum it up: Romantic love is not as simple as the fairy tales make them out to be. Even the best of couples have their moments and their disagreements. The key to writing a romance is balancing the reality of being in a relationship with someone while including the expected plot points of the narrative. The OUAT version of Belle is both the traditional romantic heroine, but her relationship with Rumple, as it often is in real life is complicated and sometimes difficult. This version of Belle stands out because the writers successfully walked the very thin line of writing a romance, but with the real life pitfalls of romance. It’s not easy, but when it is done well, the audience or the reader truly appreciates the romance and the romantic heroine.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Books, Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Something There Between Dan Stevens And Emma Watson?

In movie news that makes me incredibly happy, a new live action Beauty And The Beast will soon be in the process of being filmed.

In the title roles will be Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey). Playing Belle’s unwanted and obnoxious suitor , Gaston, is Luke Evans (Dracula Untold).

This movie is only in pre-production, but I am so excited about this movie.

In other Beauty And The Beast news, a French language Beauty And The Beast was released last year. As far as I know, it has yet to be released in the states either in theaters or on DVD.

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Flashback Friday-Beauty And The Beast (1946)

Many of us know have seen at least once the 1991 Disney adaptation of Beauty And the Beast.

But there is another Beauty And The Beast movie (based on the original fairy tale), which to me, is a far better movie.

In 1946, La Belle Et La Bete (translated to Beauty And The Beast in English) was released.

Belle (Josette Day) is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who lost his fortune when the ships carrying his cargo drowned. While her siblings keep spending money that they do not have, Belle has taken on the role of family servant.  Avenant (Jean Marais) is a friend of Belle’s brother, who would like nothing more than to marry Belle. But she is uninterested in him.

While crossing through a dark forest at night, Belle’s father is welcomed into a castle the seems empty. On his way out, he steals a rose, an act which angers the beast (also Jean Marais) that owns the castle.  Belle’s father has two options: sacrifice his life or send one of his daughters in his stead. Taking her father’s place, Belle rides to the Beast’s castle, not knowing what or who is waiting for her.

Unlike the Disney movie, which is a bit simple (I love that movie, but it’s oversimplified in terms of character), this movie is full of psychological symbolism and not for young children. One of the most fascinating elements of this movie is not the movie, but what was going on in the world at the time. This movie was released just after World War II, when Europe was relying on the Marshall Plan to help rebuild from the destruction that the war created.

I highly recommend this movie.

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Decision, A Beauty And The Beast Fanfiction

*- I do not own any of these characters, I am just borrowing them.

 Decision

 He watched her run out, the door slamming behind her.

She was a foolish woman, taking her father’s place. He was just an old man.

But she was young and beautiful. And very brave. Daring to stand up to him, to look directly at him, demanding her father’s release then offering to take his place.

He had tried to be civil, to act as his servants had suggested, in a “gentlemanlike” manner.

But it was not enough; he had warned her that the west wing was off limits; she chose to ignore the warning. Levitating only a few inches off the ground, the rose was a reminder of the foolish mistake of a boy and heartache of a man regretting the mistakes of his youth.

He had hoped if only for a moment, that this woman, Belle was sent to him by some twist of fate, to give him one final chance of redemption, before all hope of returning to his human form was lost forever.

But it was not to be, the main door slamming behind her slammed on his hopes. This was a dream, she was a dream. But she was meant for another man, a man who was not cursed with form of monster.

Then he heard the wolves. They were always sniffing at his gates, looking for their next meal.  And she would be it.

Foolish woman, leaving at this time of night. He could let her go, and leave her to her fate.

But he couldn’t, the rose petals were falling at an alarming rate. He made the decision to go after her, not know the outcome of his decision would alter the course of both their lives.

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Skin Deep- One Of The Single Greatest Hours Of Television

*-This post contains spoilers about Skin Deep and Once Upon A Time. If you are catching up on season 1, read at your own risk.

Half way through the first season of Once Upon A Time, the character of Rumplestilskin  (Robert Carlyle) was a villain with a capital V. He was the trickster, the dark one, making deals with people who were desperate enough to seek him out.

Then Skin Deep aired. Skin Deep put this villain with a capital V in a new light, a man who was tortured by his past and hid that tortured past under a mask that no one could crack. That was until Sir Maurice of Avonlea, desperate to end the Ogre wars, called upon the dark one to end the war. As usual, there was deal to be made. Rumplestilskin does not make deals without getting something in return. That deal was Sir Maurice’s daughter, Belle. She would leave her father’s kingdom forever and become a servant in Rumplestilskin’s castle.

This episode was written by Jane Espenson, and introduced Belle (Lost and Roswell’s Emilie de Raven) to the Once Upon A Time universe.

This episode, is best episode that this show has ever produced and I would like to tell you why.

  1. Carlyle and de Raven have incredible chemistry. They just work on screen.
  2. The psychology of Beauty And The Beast translates perfectly to the twist and turns that the Once Upon A Time gives to their fractured fairy tales.  In the original tale, Beauty is the youngest daughter of a now impoverished merchant who was once very wealthy. Her older sisters are very spoiled and selfish, Beauty is relegated to the role of servant. The Beast lives in an isolated castle, surrounded by material wealth. In the very well known 1991 Disney movie, Belle is an outsider in her small town, longing for adventure. Beast was once a human prince, cursed by a sorceress for his selfish ways. The psychology of both characters: the Beast, broken and bruised by life and Belle, selfless and loyal, while looking for adventure plays perfectly into the Once Upon A Time idea of twisting the basic fairy tale into something far more interesting.
  3. The title is absolutely perfect.
  4. The line “No one decides my fate, but me” ties in with the idea of female empowerment, a theme running throughout the show.
  5. The final scene between Belle and Rumplestilskin is heartbreaking. It echoes in the hearts of everyone who has ever given up an opportunity or a relationship out of fear and low self esteem.
  6. This episode launched the on screen roller coaster of a relationship that is Rumbelle, it has kept fans hooked since February of 2012 and wanting more.  As of the end of the third season, they have married and Mr. Gold has not told the new Mrs. Gold about a secret that will cause ripples in season 4.

And that is why Skin Deep is one of the single greatest hours of television.

 

 

 

 

 

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