Latimer watches… Beauty and the Beast

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!
Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer: I’ve found myself watching lots of Disney movie’s lately. This is mainly due to the fact that my niece loves to watch Disney movies, since she’s finally old enough to sit still long enough to watch an actual movie! So, I ended up watching Beauty and the Beast for the first time in years, and I had some random thoughts as I watched!

When Belle sings her first song and heads into town to return her book, I just love the part where she enters the bookshop and chats to the owner and rolls around on the ladder looking for books. It’s always been a moment I’ve loved!

Gaston has shot something at the start of the movie, and LeFou is carrying it, and fecked if I know what on earth it’s supposed to be – it has no head, horns, fur and feathers… what the hell is it?! Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-484 When Belle sings her ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere’ line I bob my head in agreement! I can often be found randomly singing that line in a passion when I’m gearing myself up for an adventure! Ha!

This has always bothered me – how come no one knows about this beast and the castle in the woods? I mean come on! It isn’t that far from their town and the beast was cursed when he was a young man and he’s only got until his 21st birthday to find someone to love him… which means he could have only been cursed for a few years – therefore everyone in town, including Belle, must remember the prince in the forest?! Surely!

It breaks my heart when Belle’s Daddy goes to the tavern to ask for help to save Belle and everyone laughs at him and ridicules him for talking crazy about a beast (which, again, they should all know about anyway!), and they throw him out into the snow. He is left there saying; ‘will no one help me!’ (that line has always stuck with me, even the way he says it!). Damn, so sad. 500px-Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps_com-3472 How does the Beast have a woman’s bedroom with woman’s clothes that fit Belle like a glove? They could have just jigged that a bit, like the clothes needed to be tailored a bit by the castle tailor, who has been transformed into a measuring tape with his needle and thread assistants! They could have fought at the end of the movie with the rest of the cursed inhabitants – they could have had a scene where they stitch-up a townsman – the measuring tape could have tripped up another person! Ah Disney you missed an opportunity there – ha!

Some of the cursed castle inhabitants don’t have mouths or eyes… what does that mean? Did the witch/enchantress think the Beast would need to have enchanted cutlery as well as servants enchanted to be cutlery? I don’t get that. be-our-guest-beauty-and-the-beast I guess it’s pretty interesting to consider that Beast is always the one that judges based on looks. He assumes that Belle doesn’t like him because he’s a beast, because of the way he looks, but actually the reason she doesn’t like him is because he has a terrible temper and is verbally abusive to her!

It still annoys me that Belle doesn’t really eat anything at the dinner song! I love all that food! (I love food, I really, really do)

Lumiere sings that ‘10 years we’ve been rusting’ – 10 years?! That would have made the Prince 11 years old when he was cursed! The enchantress cursed an 11 year old for being a superficial person? What a crazy woman she was! And wouldn’t that mean then that Chip, the cup, was probably born a cup? Because he looks like he’s probably 6 years old when he’s a human! Ah, apparently there was a flashback scene in the Enchanted Christmas special, that kind of explains things (but also doesn’t!).

The Prince was a boy when he was cursed – and Chip was a child when he turned into a cup. But the Prince is a man when he turns back into Prince – because he’s 21 years old now – but Chip, alas, for some reason, is still a child?

Okay, while I seem to have been picking a lot at the movie, I actually really love this movie. It’s not my favourite Disney movie, but I definitely rate it highly on my Disney movie list!

Memories – made by Disney

Latimer's Disney selfies - can you guess what movies they're from?
Latimer’s Disney selfies – can you guess what movies they’re from?

Latimer: Ah Halloween, it came and went and I am about half a stone heavier as a result (damn Trick r’ Treat leftovers!).

As it was Halloween season I had to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.

I love it, but it honestly scares me. Like, if I ended up in Halloween Town, with Dr Finkelstein, I’d start shrieking, smack him over the head with a gravestone and run, like my life depended on it (which it probably does at this point) to the forest and the Christmas Town door.

So scary!!!!
So scary!!!!

I like Jack and Sally, even the Mayor (just about), but not the Doctor… no…

Nightmare_Before_Christmas_Dr_F
The thing of nightmares!!

The thing is, as I watched (mumbling to myself, ‘oh the horror!’), I started to think, as I always do, that the Doctor isn’t actually a bad person. He just looks creepy… So yeah, it’s a moral (don’t judge people) – ah the moral, it’s a Disney thing isn’t it?

I don’t think there are many people in the world who haven’t been shaped by Disney movies in some way. Every generation has their Disney’s.

I come from the Disney Renaissance, animation wise – to me, that’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (my fave), The Lion King (such a big deal at the time my God!) and Toy Story (the first full-length CGI movie!), Aladdin and Mulan (LOVE Mulan, I entered a competition for a giant Mushu teddy – I lost but I’ve always wondered about that lucky sod who won it).

Hehe.... Cos she does!!
Hehe…. ‘Course she does!!

Way back when, I used to get these magazines every week, called Disney and Me.

uk_disney_and_me1

Yup. And I never read them, nope, just looked at the cartoons and tried to draw them. Funny thing, I wasn’t a big reader in my childhood… The extent of my reading?

“I’m going on adventure today!” I’d say, packing up the essentials – bread for the eating, dock-leaves for potential nettle stings and an illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland.

My copy did not look this cool... ah, I still wouldn't have read it though!
My copy did not look this cool… ah, I still wouldn’t have read it though!

I’d precede to the climb the trees around my estate and think to myself, “Today, I will read this book”.

It was a big book at the time. And… 5 minutes later, “Yup bored now.” How many pages did I read? None, ha.

Then I’d head to my friend’s house and watch, watch, and re-watch, her VHS copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. She hated me for that.

My mother’s friend had a copy of Beauty and the Beast that I used to borrow and watch… I spent a whole weekend watching it once and I cried when I had to give it back (seriously).

I can still hear Angela Landsbury singing in this scene... yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!)
I can still hear Angela Lansbury singing in this scene… yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!_

But, even when I was young, I felt there was one MAJOR flaw in this movie… The Prince… He just isn’t a good-looking man! My heart always dropped a little in disappointment! (It still does…!)

He's just... argh.... such a disappointment!
He’s just… argh…. such a disappointment!

This is a good looking ‘prince’…. 

Ah Flynn... Eugene... whatever, you're beautiful!
Ah Flynn… Eugene… whatever, you’re beautiful!

Anyways, when The Lion King came out, in 1994, I didn’t get to go to the cinema to see it. Back then no one was taking child-me to the cinema. I’d only been once in my life at that point – to see Jurassic Park.

Luckily, a girl in my class in school, her father worked overseas and he got a pirated copy of The Lion King (ohh… hehe). And the teacher said we could watch it! We were astounded (now that I think of it, the teacher probably just wanted to see it too – I know now that’s what I’d do!).

With the blinds pulled down in our classroom, we all got to watch the wonder of The Lion King. I was also madly in love with Jonathon-Taylor Thomas (voice of Simba) at this point, so it was the best movie I ever saw in my life at the time.

What ever happened to him? Hmm...
What ever happened to him? Hmm…

There was a girl in my class (we’ll call her Sara) – she was one of my art rivals (Everyone had one. But she never viewed me as her rival – ah ha, oh that’s cold!). Sara was the best at drawing Disney-style animals. And after The Lion King she was like a celebrity; “Draw a Simba on my desk!” everyone would squeal.

A years later, I did manage go to the cinema to see Toy Story. I have very vivid memories of standing in line, being so excited to see this movie. I think that’s why I cried so badly at the end of Toy Story 3 – I was finally saying goodbye to them after 18 years! It was pretty heart-breaking…. The scene where Andy plays with the toys for the last time! Argh, I… I just can’t….

How heart-breaking is this?!?!
How heart-breaking is this?!?!

Disney’s stamped all over my memories.

There came a point during growing up that I threw away the Disney cloak. That’s for kids, I thought, and I am a child no more! (ha, yup, that did NOT last)

The Disney Renaissance had ended anyways. But, then, it entered a revival era! The age of the CGI animated movies (Pixar) came into being and I was pulled back in!

By about Finding Nemo I was back on the Disney bandwagon. My counterparts on the wagon, who had stayed the course, eyed me with disdain; “We stayed true!”

I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!
I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!

The Incredibles is a brilliant movie.Tangled? Oh god, love it. WALL-E – how gorgeous is that movie?

I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!
I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!

Brave, Brave… yup… Disney’s back in my heart.

And now I’m waiting hopefully for Frozen.

Really looking forward to this! I’ve even starting doing some fan-art – take that Sara it only took… err a few (a lot) years! Ah, ha…

Kristoff and Anna... please let this movie be Tangled epic!!
Kristoff and Anna… please let this movie be Tangled epic!!

All those memories… Disney really is King of Childhood Dreams…

Everyone has a Disney favourite! Right :)?

 

(When we were in Tokyo a while back, we stumbled across the Disney store! It also brought back a lot of childhood memories!) 

Dreaming of Disney

Our chance visit to the Tokyo Disney shop in Shibuya reminded us how much we love Disney. Being children of the late-80s, our love is focused on early 90’s ‘renaissance era’ Disney; that’s Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King. So, entering the magical world of Disney always brings us back to our childhood.

Latimer: We blindly walked the busy metropolitan streets of Shibuya and came across the amazing entrance to the Tokyo Disney shop. I have never seen a shop-front like it before! It was great! I was instantly a child again!

Stepping inside was like stepping into a cloud of fairy dust…

We were in heaven (even though we had no intention of buying anything- it’s freaky expensive). It captured the essence of being young, of stepping into a dream. The shop just spoke to your inner-child, completely ignoring boring adult you (perfect!).

It all reminded us that Disney is King of romance and happily ever-after. We were buzzing with happy memories. Our current selves, that aspire to write the perfect romantic adventure, were moulded in our youth by Disney stories. One of the favourites, was Beauty and The Beast.

The story is so perfect- the Prince cursed because of his cruelty, wastes away in his ruin of a castle, while the Beauty, Belle, chooses to save her father’s life by sacrificing her own freedom, becoming the Prince’s prisoner. And of course he is horrible to her (though really he is just misunderstood) but she doesn’t stand for it, a fierce heroine who stands up for herself. In time, they both realise their faults and find love in each other but not before the dramatic fight-scene with the rival man on the roof of the castle (in the middle of a dark storm, beautifully animated).

The story teaches us that cruelty rewards no one and kindness is a virtue that must be nurtured or it will whither. In fact Disney has always taught us valuable lessons through fantastical stories. We grow up and leave it behind one day of course (there’s no point in talking to me about The Princess and the Frog, or whatever else comes along thereafter), but we all have our Disney stories. And they create a little child within us that never really disappears.

A spark of fairy dust in our hearts, it’s why we write and draw and play, even if we grow up. Disney always brings a smile to my face. This shop was like being transported inside my own imagination for just a while. It was pure magic!

Ridley: It’s true, Disney is a master at invoking those warm fuzzy feelings, while always having imparted (unknowingly to our small minds) a valuable lesson at the same time.

My favourite Disney movie of all time is Mulan. A beautifully crafted tale set in China, where the Huns have begun to threaten the Chinese empire and the Emperor has begun to amass a defending army in retaliation. It’s a story filled with love, loyalty, friendship, forgiveness and courage. It also showed us young girls that it didn’t matter who or what you were, if you worked hard enough and believed you could succeed, then you would, even with severe obstacles hindering you.

 Again as with Beauty and the Beast, our heroine enters her current predicament because she wishes to protect her elderly father, Fa Zhou, from conscription into the army. Despite the threat of execution if she is discovered, she masquerades as a man and goes in his place. We follow her attempts at becoming a soldier, beginning as a truly abysmal recruit then progressing to a skilled and competent team member. During this she also gains respect and friendship from her fellow conscriptees and of course, Captain Li…

Even looking back at clips of it, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful, not to mention the music. To this day I still know the words of ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ (mainly because it’s on my ipod!)

This story still stands strong, even up against all the impressive 3D animation and special effects. We become truly immersed in her tale, we celebrate and commiserate as she does and of course, we clasp our hands together as we wait to see how her relationship with Captain Li develops.

As with all of the best Disney films, Mulan brings us on a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows, until it culminates into a dramatic ending where our heroine shows what she’s capable of against the Hun leader with the backing of her soldier friends, who have accepted her for who she is despite her previous deception.

When you enter the Disney shop, these are the wonderful happy memories that you instantly recall. All the fantastic relationships, the rollercoaster tales, the warm fuzzy feelings and without a doubt, the beautiful soldiers, princes and beasts, you remember everything. So Latimer and I couldn’t help wander the store with smiles on our faces, exclaiming over well loved characters (and the price tags on them!). 

Disney deals in dreams, possibly unattainable ones, but they’ve also taught us to strive hard for them no matter how difficult. For us, this really is why we write, to re-create these types of relationships, build these magical worlds and hopefully help to continue the dream for others.

While in the fantastic Harry Potter books, Albus Dumbledore said, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” I personally believe our dreams make the living part all the sweeter. I think Disney might just have thought this too.