First, a brief history of my relationship with the animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Basically, it’s just that I must have watched it a million times growing up, I had a Disney cassette tape that included “Gaston” (I use antlers in all of my de-cor-rating!) and I have that yellow dress imprinted on my brain for eternity. That movie is just part of who I am.
And it wasn’t until I was sitting next to my mom, in a packed IMAX 3D theater, watching that opening scene of Belle wandering the village that I realized just how many times I’d seen the animated version. It was all SO fresh in my mind. The way the mud just drips right off Gaston after his failed marriage proposal. The way Beast’s voice echoes when he says “IT’S FORBIDDEN!” Cogsworth getting stuck upside down in that Jell-O mold during “Be Our Guest.” Those beams of light coming from Beast’s hands and feet as he changes back into a man. Okay, yeah, I’ve seen that movie too many times. But my point is that the live version captured all those moments so well! I straight up had chills though most of it.
My perfect mother being perfectly cute.
I kept thinking there was no way they could capture the true spectacle of plates and candles dancing or the wonderment of the ballroom scene but “Tale as Old as Time” came on, Belle and Beast were just two people but they seemed to fill up that entire room dancing and the splendor was all there. I was seconds from a “I’m not crying, you’re crying!” moment but I try to keep the tears on lock when I’m in a public movie theater, ya know? I didn’t care for those three Broadway (I think?) songs and I didn’t need any backstory on Belle’s mom, but those things weren’t deal-breakers.
In the end, it was JUST like the animated version in that once Beast turned back into a prince, I was underwhelmed 😛 In all seriousness, maybe my love of the live version was mostly rooted in how much I adore the animated version and the fact that they didn’t stray much from it, but whatever! My heart was so happy and that’s all that matters ♥
P.S. One time, my parents took us to Disneyland and when we saw Gaston at breakfast my sister said “I thought you died” and his response was “My hair saved me.” SO GOOD.