Disney excels at memorable animated movies whose impact lasts from childhood through adulthood. These include the many wonderful, magical Disney Princess movies. There is one that stands out above the rest, Beauty and the Beast based on the classic fairy tale.
This has some of the most memorable magical moments that stand the test of time, with timeless songs, lovable characters, and much more! This is a movie that can be appreciated just as much by an adult as by a child.
The Ballroom Scene
This scene carries a lot of emotion, as it shows so much of the character development that occurred during Belle and the Beast’s relationship.
Belle and the Beast are much more affectionate with each other, compared to how hostile they were in the beginning. Viewers can see how far they have come together as a couple by the gentle romantic body language the two have together as they dance. The gorgeous title song, “Beauty and the Beast” sung by Lansbury, only increases the emotional impact of the scene.
Belle’s Yellow Ballgown
Belle wears a gorgeous yellow ballgown during the romantic ballroom scene. Disney Princess movies almost always have at least one memorable gown worn by the princess, and Beauty and the Beast is no exception. However, Belle’s dress truly stands out, not just with its presence in the ballroom scene but in contrast to her earlier, plainer wardrobe.
Throughout the movie her outfits get increasingly fancy as her relationship with the Beast progresses, starting with a plain blue dress and culminating in the yellow ballgown. This wardrobe change is connected to how her relationship with the Beast progresses. The more affectionate their relationship, the fancier Belle’s clothes become.
The Stained Glass Prologue
At the beginning of the movie, the story of how the prince was cursed to become the Beast was shown through stained glass panels on the castle. This is a highly effective way of getting exposition across. It’s far more atmospheric and magical than if they had a straightforward flashback to the curse.
The prologue gets across a lot of information much more quickly than if they had shown the whole curse scene play out with dialogue rather than narration. It makes the story feel far more like a fairy tale with its storytelling narration and different art style – which sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
Belle Loves Books
Throughout the movie, Belle is seen to have a true passion for reading books. Belle’s love of literature is wonderful for several reasons. For small children watching the movie, showing that the main character loves reading books could encourage them to have a love of literature themselves.
For bookish adults, it gives them a relatable main character who shares their love of stories. As a character trait for Belle, it shows that she is thoughtful, intelligent, and has thoughts and dreams beyond her small-minded village. The traits she has of love for reading and her imagination give insight into how she can see beyond the superficial and love the Beast.
Gaston, the evil good-looking villain, pursues Belle with unwanted advances. The movie goes against the stereotype of ugly unpopular villains by having a physically attractive villain who is popular with everyone but the heroes. This contributes well to the moral of not judging others by appearances, and does well to contrast with the Beast – who is outwardly monstrous and feared, but inwardly kind and gentle.
Gaston is also highly memorable due to his over-the-top macho attitude that has left an impression on viewers. This is especially the case with his highly memorable villain song “Gaston” which perfectly embodies these traits, with all of Gaston’s masculine boasts.
The Side Characters
This movie is packed with interesting and funny sidekick characters like the villagers, Belle’s father, LeFou, and the enchanted objects. No matter how much dialogue or screen time they get, every side character is fun and interesting to watch. Side characters like the enchanted objects could have been one-note non-entities, but they all have such distinct personalities that they all feel necessary to the story.
This is especially the case with Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts – who all act as matchmakers for Belle and the Beast. This is partially out of concern for the Beast but also out of a desire to become human again.
The movie is filled with classic Broadway-style songs by Ashman and Menken.
Every song in the movie is completely memorable, suits the characters perfectly, and stands out. From the opening number “Belle” to the rousing villain song “Gaston” to the lushly romantic “Beauty and the Beast,” every song serves a purpose and has its personality. All the songs move the story along, whether it’s Belle’s I want a song, “Belle (Reprise)” or Belle and the Beast discovering their feelings for each other in “Something There.” This adds to the compelling storytelling of the film, so much so it’s difficult to imagine the movie working as well without any songs. The songs just add so much more to express the characters’ inner thoughts and feelings.
The Transformation Scene
After the curse is broken the Beast dramatically transforms back into a human. This scene is a gorgeous bit of animation to look at. The way the beast is slowly spinning in the air as he changes is so rich in detail. It’s very fluid and the Beast’s human form almost looks like a Greek or Roman statue.
In the context of the story, it’s a triumphant moment for the Beast and a huge payoff to his character development with Belle. After he felt so depressed at being viewed as a lone monster, Belle made him feel more human again by treating him with love and kindness. So the scene where he becomes a human again feels earned.
Not Judging a Book By its Cover
Throughout the movie is a running theme of not judging others by their appearances. Belle, her father, and the Beast are all negatively misjudged based on their outward perception. The villain Gaston is viewed positively by the villagers for his good looks and manliness. Each of them shows their true character as the story goes along. All the good misjudged characters have happy endings and Gaston, the good-looking villain, is presumably dead by the end.
Not judging based on appearances is a very important moral to have, because it applies in real life just as much as in fairy tales, which is always good to remind both children and adults alike.
As Belle and the Beast get to know each other they slowly fall in love. They have a very mutual, well-developed, touching romance. They don’t instantly fall in love at first sight, they both have to come halfway with each other. Belle helps the Beast regain his humanity and will to live. The Beast shows Belle that there is more to him than meets the eye.
It’s a romance that builds slowly and develops; at times it can be very awkward, but that just adds extra charm. In a way, it’s a very realistic relationship because it’s not based on superficial things like looks. Mutual compassion for one another slowly develops over time. Viewers are rewarded with an emotionally satisfying ending, with the now human Beast and Belle triumphantly together and accepted.
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