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The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

belle and the beast dance in a room full of candles


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I saw Beauty and the Beast and I have THOUGHTS

Firstly: HERE BE SPOILERS.

Guys, I am so serious, if you haven’t seen the new Beauty and the Beast movie yet and you think spoilers might, well, spoil it for you, DO NOT READ THIS POST. I do not want that on my conscience. I’m going to count to five and then I want you gone, okay? Ready?

One…

Two…

Three…

Four…

FIVE.

the cartoon Beast yells at belle to get out of the west wing

GET OUUUUUUUUUT

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belle and the beast dance in a room full of candles


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The new Beauty and the Beast trailer: ANALYSED!

Alternate title: MY OPINIONS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

Okay, full disclosure before we get into this: Beauty and the Beast – both the fairytale in general and the Disney movie in particular – has been my main fandom since I was 14. That’s 11 years, if you’re keeping score. I’ve written fanfiction. I own a collection of novelisations and movie adaptations. (I’m also gearing up to publish my own novelisation, as you’ll know if you’ve been anywhere near this blog before!) I thinned out my collection of Disney merchandise a while back and I still have, like, ten Disney Store Beauty and the Beast mugs. I’m a fan, is what I’m saying. So this is probably not going to be the most accessible reaction to this trailer that you’ll see.

All right, you’ve been warned. Let’s do this.

0:15 – Scratched portrait! Of a child!

screencap from the 2016 trailer. portrait of a man, woman and child in regal clothes. several scratches across the child's face.

As anyone who’s memorised the entire movie and applied maths to it will know (wait, is that not a normal thing to do?), despite the portrait of the prince looking like this in the cartoon…

screencap from the 1991 movie, a portrait of a young (teenage to early 20s?) prince

… subtracting the “ten years we’ve been rusting” bemoaned by Lumiere in ‘Be Our Guest’ from the “until his twenty-first year” from the Prologue leaves you with a prince who was either ten or eleven when he gets cursed, depending on whether you think “his twenty-first year” means his twentieth birthday or his twenty-first. (I think twentieth, thanks for asking.) (Yes, this is really the sort of thing I have opinions about.) I am excited that Disney has finally also done the maths and can’t wait to see what implications his being cursed so young will have for his character, if any.

0:23 – do I see a father stealing a rose?

2016 trailer: Belle's father picking a white rose

This is a feature of the fairytale that Disney notably did away with: Beauty’s father steals a rose from the Beast’s garden as a gift for her and the Beast threatens to kill him unless Beauty comes to live with him.

Here he is gettin’ his thief on in 1946:

screencap from the 1946 french adaptation of Beauty's father stealing a rose

And in 1987:

screencap of Beauty's father stealing a rose in the 1987 movie adaptation

In the Disney movie, of course, Belle comes to the castle looking for her father and makes that deal herself. I like that, because it gives the character more agency – something I think the team behind the 1991 movie were quite keen on. I’m really interested to see if they’ve changed it back for this one – or if this is just a shot of Maurice and a rose to call back to that aspect of the original, without it actually affecting the plot.

0:38 – I just like how much it looks like Emma Watson is holding a broom or a wand in some of these shots.

screenshot from the trailer, Belle is seen from behind holding some sort of stick

I have to admit to some griping on my part about Emma Watson as Belle, just because she’s so very Hermione to me and I’d have preferred an unknown, but I’m used to the idea now and she does look great in this trailer!

0:45 – and there he is!

screencap of the Beast from the 2016 trailer

Disney kept the design of the Beast under wraps for quite a while. I was disappointed when a few stills got released a week or two ago, because he looked really computer-generated. Not that I was surprised that CGI was involved, obviously, but I don’t think I expected it to be quite as obvious as it is. Some of the older adaptations have done pretty cool things with make-up…

Here’s the Beast/an emotional cat in 1946:

the catlike beast from the 1946 version

And here he is in 1987, auditioning for a boy band:

the beast from the 1987 version points dramatically off-camera

And, of course, here’s the 1991 Disney Beast. I chose this screencap because it’s from the same scene as the one from the trailer, but I’ll admit he’s not looking his best here:

the Beast from the 1991 movie

I guess I sort of hoped they’d be able to build on the earlier live-action adaptations – like, use really good makeup and then perhaps a touch of CGI to achieve what makeup can’t. Maybe I’m wrong, but, in the trailer, he looks completely computer-generated to me, and I feel like that’s going to make it harder for me to get into the romance. I mean, the 1991 cartoon is proof (to me, anyway!) that you can make a romance work between two cartoon characters. And, despite some fairly clunky acting, the fact that you can see the real eyes of the actors in the live-action adaptations I’ve seen lends at least a little realism to the romance in those. But a romance between Emma Watson and a Beast they drew in afterwards? I feel like that’s not going to work for me. I hope I’m wrong, though!

0:53 – Lumiere and Cogsworth!

screencap of lumiere and cogsworth from the trailer

I’ve been sold on Cogsworth’s new look ever since the first pictures were released. Lumiere I’m not so sure about – I think maybe because he looks a little too human? Like, he’s a man turned into a candlestick that’s shaped like a man? I mean, I think what was clever about the objects in the cartoon was how the animators made faces out of things that shouldn’t be faces – like Lumiere’s mouth being the split where his candle head met his metal candle-holder jaw.

lumiere and cogsworth from the 1991 cartoon

I feel like just putting a face on a candlestick is cheating.

Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, though? Two thumbs way up from me!

1:07 – ugh, this movie is disgustingly pretty. I’m getting kind of a Phantom of the Opera vibe from all the candles.

belle and mrs potts walk (well, mrs potts is on a trolley) through a candle-filled hallway

1:08 – but I have a lot of questions about Mrs Potts’ accent. It sounds like someone trying to fake a British accent, only… Emma Thompson is actually British?

mrs potts from the trailer

And also, while I’m being petty… why is her face on the side, not using the spout as a nose like in the cartoon…

mrs potts and chip in the 1991 cartoon

…but Chip’s nose is still a handle?

chip from the trailer. his face is painted on apart from his nose, which is the cup's handle

RIDDLE ME THIS.

(No, I’m serious, I really care about these things.)(Please send help.)

1:19 – as we already knew from the posters and stills that have been released, there’s still a magic rose in a glass case. So even if the Beast is going to demand daughters in restitution for the rose Maurice might be going to steal, there’s obviously still a special one:

screencap from the trailer, Belle approaches the glass rose

1:20 – For some reason, I’m really into Luke Evans as Gaston. My early prediction is that he completely steals the movie.

gaston from the trailer

1:23 – Okay, this is new – at least to Disney. Here’s Belle, the Beast and a horse. This was hard to screencap from the trailer but, basically, Belle guides the Beast’s hand onto a horse and then he looks at her with EMOTION in his eyes.

Belle, Beast and the horse seen from above

the beast looking EMOTIONAL

I do not know what is happening here, but I was vividly reminded of Robin McKinley’s Beauty, where Beauty has her horse overcome his fear of the Beast and the Beast overcome his fear of the horse being afraid to make this nice moment happen:

The last step brought us to the bench; and with a gesture half of resignation and half of despair, Greatheart dropped his head till his muzzle touched the Beast’s knee. ‘Merciful God,’ murmured the Beast. Greatheart’s ears shot forwards at the sound of his voice, but he didn’t move.

[…]

‘I was fond of horses, once,’ said the Beast; and his words had a distant sound, as if they echoed down a cold corridor of centuries.

And, indeed, of Mercedes Lackey’s The Fire Rose, where Rose (the Beauty) makes basically the same thing happen between Jason (the Beast) and his horse:

Jason ran too, dropping Rose’s hand to sprint to the fence, where he met the horse, caught either side of the halter in his hands, and pulled Sunset’s head down to his chest. The stallion made little rumbling sounds that Rose assumed were noises of happiness and contentment, as Jason rubbed and scratched his head, ears and neck.

[…]

Then he turned to her with tears literally standing in his eyes.

“How can I ever thank you?” he asked. “You’ve given me back something I thought I would never have again”

Apparently Beastly HORSEFEELS are A Thing? Does this have roots in some version of the fairytale I’m not familiar with? Because I’m familiar with so many that I’m going to feel pretty stupid if I find out that it does.

1:26 – Belle’s near-tears expression in the library speaks for all of us, I think.

Belle in the library, from the trailer

1:45 – the rapid cuts and my slightly fractious relationship with the Windows snipping tool make it hard to make much out of the last few seconds of the trailer but, uh, here’s the Beast and Gaston squabbling over a stick?

beast and gaston fight on the roof - screencap from the trailer

1:47 – The ballroom scene looks just beautiful – which is a relief, since it’s such a huge focal point for the movie.

belle and the beast dance in a room full of candles

And there you have it!

Overall… I’m excited. I really wasn’t, at first – I went through a lot of “THEY’RE GOING TO RUIN MY FAVOURITE THING!” panics when this was first announced, even while grudgingly admitting that yes, OF COURSE I’m going to see it the SECOND it comes out. The stills and the teaser trailer certainly looked pretty, but it was impossible to make any guesses about the characters or any changes Disney might have made. Now that I’ve seen this, I’m just really looking forward to watching it. My guess is that I’ll love some of the changes they’ve made to the original and hate others – but, I mean, I’ll still have the original. I’ll just have this as well.

That’s all for now. My inner Disney/fairytales geek needs a stiff drink and a lie-down!

Image sources:

Screencaps from the 1991 Disney cartoon from here.

Screencaps from the 1987 Cannon movie and the 1946 Jean Cocteau movie taken from my DVDs while I was livetweeting them.

Screencaps from the trailer for the new Disney version taken from YouTube.

the glass slippers


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Glass Slippers Are An Objectively Terrible Idea

I went to see the new Cinderella movie today and I had a lot of feelings about it. This post is basically wall-to-wall spoilers so don’t read it if that is something you care about.

Okay, so there’s this girl called Ella

She’s growing up in an advert for fabric softener or picnic blankets or having servants or something

ella as a little girl

She talks to the geese and mice and whatever

And she is her parents’ little princess

NOT AN ACTUAL PRINCESS THOUGH

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUAL PRINCESSES

WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS

FORESHADOWING?

Anyway, her mother dies suddenly of Plot

I mean they don’t even pretend it’s something else

She doesn’t even get that significant cough that people die of in period dramas

She just kind of keels over

But not before she screws her daughter up for life

By telling her to always let people treat her like crap

ella's dying mother smiling

Good luck with that.

(Actually she says “Have courage and be kind”

But the result is kind of the same.)

Anyway, years pass

Ella grows up

And her father presumably takes some kind of correspondence course with the University of Poor Life Choices

Because one day he’s like

“Welp, better marry a no-good, gold-digging meaniepants now.”

And he brings home Galadriel.

Guys

There is nothing wrong with wanting to marry Galadriel

Except Ella’s dad doesn’t bring home this Galadriel

galadriel being pretty

He brings home this one

galadriel being evil

Which is a mistake

No matter how cool her outfits are.

lady t in an enormous hat

Anyway, Evil!Galadriel

Whose name is actually Lady Tremaine

Throws a bunch of parties and stuff

Which Ella’s dad is not really into

In fact, he basically immediately starts acting like this whole marriage thing was something he was forced into

Even though he specifically says a couple of scenes earlier that he wants to do it

For happiness reasons

And goes on about how much he misses Ella’s mother

Which, I mean

I’m not a marriage expert or anything

But that seems like a good way to hurt the feelings of your new wife

You know

The one you really wanted to marry and be happy with.

It’s not totally inconceivable that she might be listening.

lady t in a doorway

She lives here.

Then again, he’s about to go away for several months

So I guess he can say what he likes.

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