Sunday, April 17, 2011

If It's Not Baroque, Don't Fix It!

I mentioned last week I believe that it is once again exam time. While I have not been posting as often as I hoped to, I'm hoping to make up for it now.

This evening, out of comfort, I put on my VHS copy of Beauty and the Beast. Naturally, being in a house of 90's babies, my Housemates gathered to watch with me. It's nice and reassuring to watch a childhood favourite during stressful exam times.

Anyway! I made notes all throughout watching Beauty and the Beast. Quick fun fact before we begin. Did you know that Robby Benson, the voice of Beast, also had a guest star role on The Magic School Bus? He plays a teacher, Mr. Seedplot, and sings a song on a bicycle as seen in the following video around 3:50:

Cool, right? Another childhood favourite!

Anyway, now to begin the commentary. I noted a few favourite parts as the movie progressed. Favourite Part #1 is when Belle sits down on the fountain with her book and the sheep and has a lovely moment.

"But she won't discover that it's him till chapter three"

I'm not sure if it's the sheep or the song or the cinematography but it's a lovely moment.

Another part that I love is this beautiful shot in the Reprise of Belle. I don't think I need to explain why this is absolutely gorgeous.

The VHS version looks more beautiful though, in my opinion. My pictures have been taken from the DVD which was digitally restored. You know another reason why VHS is the best? The previews! I may be alone on this, but I love watching the upcoming Disney movies on my old tapes. Takes me back...

Moving along! Housemates and I talk a lot about Bromances (for those who don't know, basically two guys who are best friends forever). Cogsworth and Lumiere, in my opinion, do not have this relationship. They are what I like to call 'enefriends'. You've heard of frenemies? Enefriends is the opposite! (I kind of made this term up) Lumiere and Cogsworth are constantly arguing and bickering but deep down they care about each other.

I particularly love their enefriends relationship when they're discussing whose fault it is that Beast got mad about Maurice being in his castle.

Cogsworth: Couldn't keep quiet, could we? Just had to invite him to stay, didn't we? Serve him tea, sit in ze master's chair, pet ze pooch!
Lumiere: I was trying to be hospitable!!

Love those two.

Random (questionable...) observation: I'm not proud of this, but I must say I never noticed it before. During the song "Gaston," the man himself has a line that says "and every last inch of me's covered with hair." Check out this link for the song and skip to 1:41 to see the line.

Gaston subtly winks when singing "every last inch".

Um...animators...are you implying what I think you're implying? Oh, no, nevermind! In case there was any confusion, here's every last inch of his chest covered in hair. Okay. What a relief.

Also: nice happy trail, Gaston...

Seriously, though, when I noticed and pointed out to Housemates, we were all a little shocked that: a) it was in there in the first place; and b) we never noticed before!!!

Ah, well. Hey! Here's my Favourite Part #3! When Mrs. Potts and Lumiere teach Beast how to be a gentleman.
Lumiere: When she comes in, give her a dashing, debonair smile. Come, come, show me the smile.

Mrs. Potts: But don't frighten the poor girl
Lumiere: Impress her with your rapier wit!
MP: But be gentle
L: Shower her with compliments
MP: But be sincere
And Beast gets so confused. Too cute!

One of my all-time favourite Disney quotes comes from Beauty and the Beast. Cogsworth is giving Belle his guided tour of the Enchanted Castle. ("Perhaps you'd like to take me. I'm sure you know everything there is to know about the castle." "Oh, well, actually...well yes, I do." Cogsworth then takes them through the castle (with the footrest dog running around with them!) and discusses the architectural styles of Beast's castle. And he even makes a little joke!
"This is yet another example of the late neoclassical Baroque period. And, as I always say, if it's not Baroque don't fix it!"

So silly, yet because it's Cogsworth, it totally works.

Time for Favourite Part #4! I actually have a few points to make about the whole West Wing scene, so they'll all fall under my fourth Favourite Part. First of all, the score. Beautiful. Mysterious and epic all at once. Beauty and the Beast is the only Disney soundtrack that I have on full in my iTunes (well, and Tangled now...). It has one of the most amazing scores of all the Disney movies I think. Another song I love is the Transformation piece. But they are all lovely.

The real favourite part that I intended to put here was the moment when Belle, after being saved from the wolves by Beast, turns to get on Philippe and ride away. But she stops and realizes she can't just leave Beast there.

And all of a sudden, everything changes.

Which leads to Belle and Beast having a discussion. I love this little argument where they're each trying to prove they're right. It humanizes Beast by showing he's just a kid inside who was never shown real kindness before. And purely based on his facial expressions, I've written my own interpretation of what's going through his head this whole time.

"Don't do that."
Internal Beast Monologue: I can take care of myself.

"That hurts!" *sorry for the bar in this picture
IBM: That hurts!

"If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much!"
IBM: She will not win this argument.

"If you hadn't run away, none of this would have happened."
IBM: She has no chance.

"If you hadn't frightened me, I wouldn't have run away."
IBM: Oh...

"Well you shouldn't have been in the West Wing!"
IBM: Haha! I've got her cornered.

"Well you should learn to control your temper."
IBM: ...

IBM: Hmph.

Housemate: He's far more expressive than she is. Which is interesting.

It's true, Housemate! I love how the animators have put so much emotion into his expressions. It adds a lot of depth to his retorts.

(Housemate quote from last night when we were watching it: they don't take each other's shit. He's just a baby.")

And once again, everything changes.

Favourite Part #4: Books! Amazing cinematography. And it's a heartwarming gesture.

A brief Q and A session before we continue with the commentary:

Q: How does Beast get clothes that fit? (Question provided by Housemate).
A: Well, how did he get clothes before? He must have had a tailor in the castle who was then transformed into perhaps a sewing machine or something. The movie just doesn't have enough time to introduce every single servant who was transformed into an object!

Q: Are all those teacups and silverware servants? He's eating his porridge with some poor guy's face!
A: Of course not! All the objects in the castle can't be servants. What did Beast use to eat his porridge before the castle was enchanted? My theory is that once his servants became objects, the rest of the objects became animated, but they don't have personality necessarily. So once the spell is broken, only the servants become human again and the rest of the objects become inanimate again. This is the only theory I can think of to explain how many forks are dancing on the chandelier during Be Our Guest.

Moving right along, I bring you a scene that actually gives me shivers in this movie.

The animation during the song Beauty and the Beast when they're dancing is breathtaking. The digitally restored version actually looks less impressive than the VHS version does. But if you have the VHS, seriously look at the camera angles. It looks almost 3D. Also, of course, the song is beautiful. And I love when Beast looks over at Cogsworth and Lumiere and they are cheering him on.

And finally, my final favourite part:
After Beast's servants have fought off the intruding townsmen, Lumiere celebrates by giving Cogsworth kisses on the cheek. Since they are sworn enefriends, though, Cogsworth does not put up with this and gives him a very prim slap to remind him that they are not to show the depth of their friendship in public! (See around 2:25) I think this is the best representation of their relationship and it's just a really funny moment.

So that more or less concludes my commentary! Of course, there is much more that I could say, but this post is already long enough. Hope you enjoyed and if you haven't seen Beauty and the Beast in a while, GO WATCH IT. NOW. =)


  1. "TOO CUTE" basically sums up my entire reaction to this post

  2. But who is Chip's father? And how old is Mrs Potts to have a son so young? And isn't it convenient that all of beast's servants had names which lended themselves to inanimate objects... You leave many questions unanswered.

    I'm joking this is great :)