Wednesday at the movies: Beauty and the Beast
My kids went on a Disney rampage over Christmas. I purchased the Disney Scene It DVD game (worth every penny) for Jacob for Christmas and that jumpstarted a trip down memory lane. We’ve been watching Disney movies round the clock, enjoying listening to the soundtracks of those musicals and playing the game whenever we can.
One of the rabbit trails we followed was re-watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. My daughter’s high school is also producing the stage version this spring so we are especially excited about the songs. I had forgotten just how brilliant the lyrics are. What a wonderful chance to look at what songs do to advance plot! The opening scene must establish the narrative arc in three minutes: must show Belle to be from out of town, must show why she doesn’t fit in with the townsfolk, must introduce Gaston as both comic relief and villian, must foreshadow Belle’s encounter with the beast and must leave us sympathizing with her desire for adventure. That’s a tall order in three minutes!
The DVD special edition is also a great opportunity to watch the behind the scenes clips which show the evolution of the story – how the Disney team took the bare narrative from fairy tales and transformed it into the full-bodied story we love today. It’s a great message to give to children that the finished product they enjoy was not fully formed from the start. In this case, the development of the storyboard, the creation of characters, the design of the animated cast, the song writing and more took decades of reflection and attempts before the animators and story-writers felt they had a success on their hands. Think about that. Decades of work for one written product.
If you don’t own the DVD, most libraries have it. So does Blockbuster, Hollywood video and Netflix. Enjoy!