Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”
Gaston is the villain, and yet the most innocuous form of villain. He lacks tenderness and selflesness, few women would be attracted to that. He isn’t even charasmatic, and could have easily been opposed by a real man. He is obvious, loud, and barely scheming.
The Beast, however, is the worst kind of hero. He is childish, selfish, angry, and rude. He has a “good heart” which seems to translate to “teen angst.” Worse than this, Bell is portrayed to transform him through her concern. She fixed him! What’s wrong with this? Mostly it is a subversive lie. Women want to believe that they can change a man, fix him up. This rendition of Beauty and the Beast caters directly to that absurd fantasy. In the original, Beast was changed through his suffering, and the service of others, well before he met Bell.
Add to this Bell’s rejection of “this provincial life”, a norm which I would (in the general) uphold as closer to the ideal than any modern rubric. Don’t forget the villanization of men going to war to protect their families. Oh, and Beast fails to kill Gaston! It can’t have been pity, he didn’t care about Gaston. Was it because he knew Bell was watching? What kind of pansy is the Beast anyhow? If you own a copy of this movie, I suggest a fire or a sledgehammer will solve your problem.
I was going to list more, but you know what? Just about half (if not more) of anything Disney produces stinks. Lousy morals, reprehensible main characters, shot through with modernity. They’re worse than “bad” movies, the ones your Mom wouldn’t let you see, since they tell subtle lies in the form of well known stories. At least you expect James Bond to be immoral, but no one seems to suspect Prince Charming (rebellious, flighty headed, dandiacal fool!).
You know what is a great movie though? I tried to think of one, “300” springs to mind, along with “Atlantis”, but neither are quite right. Let me know in the comments section if you can think of one.
Just to clarify, there are a great number of movies I enjoy watching. I’d even go so far to say I enjoy most movies I’ve seen. I have fun watching Beauty and the Beast, The Emperors New Groove, Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and countless others. However, it is just these movies which are the most dangerous, for they present lies in the form of beauty, and with the gait of truth.
In response to Deborah’s comment: Belief is not required for participation. One could, theoretically, believe promiscuity is immoral and still write/produce/direct a James Bond movie. However, I suspect this is is very uncommon. I have yet to hear an actor, producer, writer, or director say (more or less) “I really don’t believe in what this movie is saying”. This may be the attidude of minor actors or artists who just need the work, but then again they don’t have a say in what the movie conveys.
If you can find an example to the contrary let me know. The feeling I get from everything I’ve heard is that those who shape movies end up saying “I think this is a really important message for todays children” (or “society” or “teenagers” or whatever). Think about it, would you spend a few years of your life sending a statement which made you cringe? If you had a choice, wouldn’t you say something you believe in?
Disney has long been the bastion of modern “morality,” forgoing Biblical morality for lessons that will please the general, hedonistic public. They preach with such subtlety and cunning that people will hardly realize that their minds are being gradually changed unless they watch such productions critically.
As for truly great movies, none compare to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
I would tend to agree with you.
As “purely fantastical entertainment”, many of the recent Disney animated movies are just that, fantasy entertainment.
However, as their original intent: CHILDREN’s fantasy entertainment, they hardly portray life and truth as they should.
Not to mention that most of the plots are either riddled with political messages or just vapid in general.
Now, some of the older ones I like (see: Robin Hood, Jungle Book, and so forth), but those seem to focus more on just telling a story and less on allegory and principles.
Thanks for writing this! People definitely need a good slap in the face sometimes to “wake up” and really think about what they are watching. 🙂
…just wanted to add:
Robin Hood and others do valorize some false principles. No movie remains completely innocent. I just wanted to clarify this because I know you would point this out anyway.
So true, not only of Disney, but of the media at large. I’d love to agree on the second point as well, but the “Lord of the Rings” strays woefully from its literary origins. As far as movies go, I suspect it’s among the best. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to watch it with the detachment necessary to really enjoy it. I’ll take your word for it though 🙂
Thanks for the agreement. I doubt the readership of Isqua Istari is broad enough to make much of a difference, but like you said, someone has to say it.
Disney certainly isn’t the standard which ought to model the social morals (or morrays), and doubtless, through the years they have been promoted as the ideal, whether by subscription and invetitably, their own prompting. However, I doubt, if seriously querried, that they recommend relationships and the morals/ethics should pan out like their [ERROR: unexpected string termination]
I think I see what you’re saying (though it seems you didn’t finish). Essentially, people who make movies don’t necessarily agree with the message of the movie. I technically agree, though see the edit at the end of the main article for an exploration of that idea.
I like Beauty and the Beast because all the plates talk, and they make the food instead of you making the food.
I also like the music.
I like Beauty and the Beast too! The character Belle is really my favorite part of it. I love how she’s so beautiful.