Last Friday, I went to see Beauty and the Beast with my mom. We enjoyed it, but I was surprised that I didn’t hear about the real Beauty and the Beast controversy on the news.
(Side note: James Dickson has some super great posts on his blog breaking down the story elements in the new adaptation. They are nuanced and intelligent and totally worth reading — everything this post will not be. You can check out Part I here and Part II here.)
I heard about the controversy the conservative blogosphere went bananapants over, but 1.) That wasn’t that big a part of the movie, and 2.) IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH QUEER CODED CHARACTERS YOU NEED TO NEVER WATCH DISNEY MOVIES AGAIN BECAUSE IT’S LITERALLY IN ALL OF THEM AND THEY JUST WENT ALL OUT WITH LEFOU THIS TIME AROUND.
Obviously, spoilers ahead. I mean, unless you already watched the animated movie. Because, even the little changes they made for live action don’t change the overall story. You know what happens. So maybe these aren’t technically spoilers. I don’t know. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK OR WHATEVER.
So, as you know, there’s an enchantress who curses a prince and turns him into a beast. She does this because he’s a massive jerk and deserves to look like a buffalo for a while. (His servants don’t deserve to be turned into housewares and decor, but they are. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against this in the enchantress code of conduct. But then again, maybe not back in 18th century France.)
I consider myself hella knowledgeable when it comes to matters of enchantment and witchcraft because I watched The Craft like a million times in the fifth grade, and a friend of mine used to hide her Wiccan accessories in my house in high school so her Bible-thumping parents wouldn’t find them.
I believe this makes me an expert in enchantments, witchcraft, and all manner of magic. (P.S. DO YOU WANT TO START A COVEN WITH ME?!)
In the new live action movie, the enchantress not only bewitches the prince into the beast, but later she gives Belle’s father a healing tea, and even hangs around to un-enchant the beast when Belle is crying over his dead body.
So here’s the real Beauty and the Beast controversy. LET ME TELL YOU.Let me tell you the real Beauty and the Beast controversy. Click To Tweet
The great thing about possessing magic or being a witch is that you can basically adopt a “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to spells and curses. It’s a lot like the Ronco Rotisserie oven in that way. (Tell me you don’t think there’s magic in the skin of a rotisserie chicken. It’s that good.)
Anyway, in the new live action Beauty and the Beast, the enchantress sets the curse in the beginning of the film, and at the end, she is sauntering through the ol’ castle and undoing her handiwork when she sees the beast has been loved for the beauty he possesses inside.
THIS IS SUPER BUSH LEAGUE. (And the source of the real Beauty and the Beast controversy.)
Here’s the thing enchantresses of the world all know: If you’ve done the spell correctly, then you don’t have to be around when it’s time to be undone. YOU SET THAT IN THE SPELL. Also, if you doomed a dude to be a buffalo man surrounded by talking harpsichords, crockery, and timepieces, DO YOU THINK HOMEBOY IS GONNA BE SUPER CHILL ABOUT IT WHEN HE TURNS BACK INTO A HUMAN?
No. No he’s not.
In fact, I can’t figure out why no one snuck up on Agatha the Enchantress at the end of the movie and shanked her. Surely Mrs. Potts wanted some vengeance since her little boy almost became a teacup forever. Surely Lumiere (with Ewan McGregor’s outrageous French accent) wanted the enchantress to know what it’s like to hold fire in her hands and on her head. SURELY HE WOULD TRY TO BURN HER FOR THE WITCH SHE IS.
Like, are we pretending that this poor provincial town somehow exists in a historical France that is immune to witch hunts?! BECAUSE THAT FRANCE DID NOT EXIST.
The real Beauty and the Beast controversy is that a witch didn’t set and forget her spell, and that no one was mad at her for almost dooming them to a life as inanimate objects/a beast. WITCHES HAVE BEEN BURNED FOR LESS.WITCHES HAVE BEEN BURNED FOR LESS. Click To Tweet
Is this a super weird hill to die on? Yeah.
But I’m dying and this happens to be the hill I’m on.
P.S. No offense to Dan Stevens, but I’d run off with Gaston in a heartbeat. Know that this greatly influenced by decision.
Regarding your very last point – I read that article the other day and I’m going to pretend they were far enough away from the capital to have hopped on a boat and settled elsewhere. Their descendants are probably in New Orleans now. And now I must go write THAT retelling of the story where some kind of enchantment followed someone 300 hundred years down the line. *crazy eyes*
OMG you have to write that because I want to read that.
Also, Luke Evans can sing his face off. For whatever reason, some primal part of me seems to think that being able to sing your face off is the skill that will save me in an apocalypse situation.
Based largely on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAT1RenTAeI
Dude, he really can sing, which is weird when you consider that he was also a bad guy in the Fast and Furious franchise. Totally wouldn’t have expected that. And you know, I wouldn’t mind if he tried to save me with singing…definitely wouldn’t stop him.
I was wondering the same thing at the end of the movie…after beast turned back into Mathew..I mean the prince…why wasn’t he like WHERE THE HELL IS THAT ENCHANTRESS?! Or maybe the answer to your question is that getting turned into this, that, or the other for dumb reasons like not accepting a rose from a hag was so commonplace that everyone was like…Bro, you should have known better and we’re all guilty by association so a cursed life is the risk we take for hanging out w/ a selfish jerk.
Oh man, I didn’t even think of it that way! I kind of want to see an etiquette book from that time period that shows how one should know to handle that situation.
This is delightful hilarity. Also: you are obviously henceforth my go-to expert on witchery and enchantments of all sorts. K thx.
Sweet! If you ever have a witchcraft question, I can be summoned via scrying mirror or by throwing bone dust into a fire.