Opinion: 3-D brings out beauty of Disney classic

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber

Contact Elaina Sauber at [email protected]

It seems that nearly every person from our generation had a movie growing up that they watched habitually until the VHS wore out from overplaying.

More often than not, these were Disney movies. In my case, that movie was “Beauty and the Beast,” so naturally I was excited when I learned it was coming back to theaters in 3-D.

I made a point to see it over the weekend, and I was blown away. I had never seen a movie in 3-D before, so the effects were a big plus, especially in the forest scenes.

As the movie began to play, I was struck by intense nostalgia during the parts where I could still recite the same dialogue that I hadn’t heard in more than a decade.

At the same time, I still managed to notice new things that had never occurred to me as a child. “Beauty and the Beast” has a certain charm to it that other Disney movies just don’t have.

It’s easy to see that there are a lot of gender-based stereotypes in the first 10 minutes, showing ugly mothers struggling to watch their several children, while the men only pay attention to the pretty girls. But the stereotypes are countered by the low-key satire that’s also shown in lines such as “It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas and thinking.”

At least, I perceived it as satirical. In addition, Belle is unlike other female Disney characters: She loves to read and wants more in life than what others have planned for her. She never once mentions wanting a prince to sweep her off her feet or for someone to take care of her.

She even uses the word “provincial.” She is made to be a very intelligent protagonist, which is interpreted by the townspeople as different and odd. Even though her waist has the circumference of a pop can, Belle plays a very active role in the movie, something not often seen from females in classic Disney films.

Whereas Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are either oppressed or helplessly cast under spells that require a prince to be liberated, Belle is actually the one rescuing the Beast from living the rest of his life as a monster.

The intolerance of the townspeople is further shown in lyrics such as “We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us. And this monster is mysterious at least.”

Since the townspeople are seen as the “bad guys” in the film, these lyrics suggest that not accepting people that are different is wrong, and Belle further solidifies that idea.

“Beauty and the Beast” is a valuable, timeless film, and I’m not ashamed to say that even as a sophomore in college, it reminded me to treat people with kindness.