Before we get started, let me just say…I hate this sheep. I always have. Darn ewe, sheep! You just ripped my book!
Seriously, now Belle has a ripped page in her book! Is it just me? Does that drive anyone else crazy?
All right, so let’s begin. Today, we’re going to talk about the continuity and overall sense of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. As a bit of a refresher for anyone not entirely up on the term, continuity in film refers to how elements of a scene or story flow together in an unbroken sequence over the course of the feature. For instance, during a conversation between two characters, a glass of water sitting between them, un-sipped, should remain in the same location and maintain the same water level throughout the scene. Continuity can also refer to things on a much larger scale, like a character’s appearance over the course of many years—if the character gets older, the actor should look older.
For a humorous look into film continuity, I refer you to the link entitled JacksFilms, which takes you to a YouTube video made by creator Jack Douglass that goes over the importance of continuity in film.
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive into all the continuity and nonsensical errors of Beauty and the Beast.
Part II: Continuity and Overall Nonsense Errors
1. What castle?
Let’s start light, shall we? This point was touched on in Part I, but it’s worth revisiting. As stated before, everyone in Belle’s town is seemingly oblivious to the fact that a castle rests just beyond their borders. Why is that? Well, Belle does say in the first song, “Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came to this poor, provincial town.” Does this mean that Belle and the villagers are first generation settlers? This explains part of the issue, but not all.
Why? Simple. While it can be argued that enchanted beings (Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, etc.) do not need food to survive, and the Beast can hunt down a wolf if he gets hungry (not likely the case, but fine for the sake of argument), we can clearly see that food is available in the castle, primarily in the Be Our Guest scene. There is food in this place. And we know they’re not growing anything, because the castle is in the mountains, looming over a bottomless chasm. No vegetation, whatsoever.
That said, we must assume that food is being delivered, right? And if so, who’s doing the delivering? And how does not one person in the town know of this?
2. Weird Weather
This, my friends, is a BIG continuity error. The weather in Belle's and the Beast’s world is funky, to say the least. It’s as if the weather gods, or fairies—whatever you prefer—bend the seasons toward the required mood of focal characters.
Example 1: The opening scene with Belle in the town obviously takes place in early autumn. Just look:
Every tree is full of leaves, meaning we must be somewhere between mid to late September and early October, as more barren trees would indicate the close arrival of the winter months.
And we can later see that it’s still autumn when Belle leaves to find her father.
However, immediately after Maurice is tossed in a carriage and taken to the village—a trip we can assume takes no more than a day, based on how quickly the angry mob and Belle arrives at the castle in the end—it's the dead of winter.
Example 2: We must now accept that it's winter—the movie says so. First, Maurice, as seen above, was tossed out of the bar and into the cold. Second, after her run-in with the Beast in the West Wing, Belle flees into the snowy woods, where a Beast/wolf pack fight breaks out. And finally, it's all fun and games and falling in love in the snow, as seen below.
Not long after this blissful, snowy day, however, Belle and the Beast have their legendary date night, where Belle dons the immaculate, gold dress, and Beast freshens up in a fabulous, blue suit.
After dancing the night away to the tune of a singing teapot, the stary-eyed lovers take a walk onto the terrace, to sit awkwardly with one another, wondering if any moves can and/or should be made.
Now, according to the weather timeline, it must still be the dead of winter, right? Well, let's take a look:
Hmmm, doesn't look very wintery to me. One, Belle would be freezing in that dress—I mean, her shoulders are totally exposed, and she's in the mountains in the dead of winter…supposedly. Also, the plants along the terrace look pretty alive to me; and they do not appear to be winter-resistant greenery.
So, is it spring? You would think so by the look of everything. However, moments later, Belle sees her father "dying" in the woods via the magic mirror.
Wait a minute…is that snow? Yes. It is. In fact, there's apparently snow all over the place! Just look below at the images of Belle leaving the castle in search of her father a few seconds later.
That certainly doesn't look like the scene we saw out on the terrace earlier. With all that snow on the ground and trees, you'd think some of it would have made it onto the terrace ledge, or onto the potted plants. But alas, Disney says it's wintertime. Must make Maurice's plight that much more intense.
Honestly, how did Maurice escape death on this one?
Example 3: LeFou has been sitting outside Belle’s house, disguised as a snowman, waiting for her and Maurice to return, signifying that we are still in the dead of winter.
His orders were to alert Gaston as soon as Belle and her father came back, which he promptly leaves to do. However, this alerting of Gaston, as well as Maurice’s hypothermic coma, must have taken months to play out, because when the loony wagon arrives, the snow is gone, and it even rains during the fight between Gaston and the Beast shortly thereafter.
On top of that, we know Chip stole away in Maurice’s bag—which, by the way, would mean he would have had to have stolen away on Belle’s person beforehand, as Belle found Maurice in the woods, away from the castle. Unlikely that Belle wouldn't have noticed something like that. But what's more pressing is the following: Is Mrs. Potts missing Chip? I mean, according to the weather, he’s been gone for months! This may yet be more evidence supporting my suspicion that Mrs. Potts is the evilest character. More on that later.
3. Identity crisis
Why do we see Lumière and Cogsworth sitting on a table next to the front door when Maurice arrives? Why are the cups and plates stored in cabinets and cupboards? Did all these human servants, when transformed into objects, just accept that they were objects and start behaving as such? Well, I’m a fork now. Better go hang out in the fork drawer. No way! If I was turned into a fork or a dinner plate, I’d be in my bed, all day, everyday. I would never start acting like an object.
4. Infinite Staff
Why are there so many animate objects in this castle? How many people actually work there? I mean, just look at Be Our Guest! So many dancing plates, forks, knives, napkins, trays, cups—on and on! And then in Human Again, there’s like a ton of living mops and brooms and shovels! How can this castle possibly house that many servants? Also, when eating, are Belle and the beast eating off of living people? That’s unsettling.
5. Dumb Staff
When Maurice arrives, why do these characters, who know of the violent temper possessed by their monstrous master, think it’s a good idea to put a strange man in their master’s chair? It seems only Cogsworth has any sense, as he’s the only one trying to stop the madness.
6. Intuitive Horse
I’d like to know more about Philippe, the horse. He must be the smartest, most intuitive animal on the planet—or maybe he just has great luck.
Explain to me how he found the castle, when he clearly booked it from the forest the moment the wolves arrived. Maurice fell off Philippe, and then stumbled upon the castle by himself. So how was Philippe able to bring Belle straight to the castle to find Maurice? Intuitive.
7. Gaston the Glutton
Sixty eggs a day? That’s his claim. Five-dozen eggs! If that doesn’t kill him, it’s gonna kill someone. Didn’t Belle say the quiet village was a POOR, provincial town? Who’s going hungry to fuel Gaston’s biceps? Honestly, Gaston must be the wealthiest guy in town.
Also, for a town called “poor,” it sure does have a lot of liquor on which to waste money in the Gaston song scene.
8. Candlestick’s and Broom’s Romance
How’s that work?
9. West Wing
Why does Beast just say that the West Wing is “forbidden?” Why not say it’s his private room, and that he kills anyone who comes in? I think that would have kept Belle out.
The above question, however, pales in comparison to the unsettling implications of the West Wing. What is in the West Wing? Great question! Let's take a quick peek...
Well, there doesn't appear to be very much—just some torn linens, the rose, of course; some shattered glass, a few broken tables and chairs. You know, just a bunch of busted…household objects!
Can it be!? Say it ain't so! Could these broken and shattered pieces of furniture have been living servants, murdered by their master, the Beast? And what's even more unsettling is the question of when—when were they murdered? Were they servants who were turned into tables and chairs (remember, we see living tables, chairs, and dressers join the fight against the mob in the end, so it is plausible that some pieces of furniture were people), who were then killed by the Beast in a blind rage? Or—and this is the most chilling "or" of all—were they killed before the curse, their lifeless bodies hidden in the West Wing, only to be turned into broken objects the day the curse was placed?
10. The Beast’s Prisoner policy
Okay, so aside from the strange fact (or maybe not so strange, after point number nine) that the Beast would rather keep a live prisoner in his tower instead of just throwing him off the cliff—I guess it goes either way for a psycho like him—why does the Beast insist on keeping a prisoner? Is he counting on Stockholm syndrome to kick in for Belle? And furthermore, why does Belle even stay, when she apparently can so easily leave, as evidenced by her fleeing after getting yelled at in the West Wing?
Also, it seems Philippe was condemned to stay, as well—and in the cold, I might add. Do you see a stable anywhere in that castle?—for he was right there and ready to be ridden away into the forest when Belle came running.
11. Super Belle
After the wolf attack, we see Belle walking Philippe with a passed out Beast on his back, toward the castle. How did she even manage to get him on the horse in the first place? She reprises this feat in the end, when she pulls the Beast back from falling off the tower and into the chasm. She must be stronger than an ox! Where’s she hiding those muscles, anyway? I'll bet she eats ten dozen eggs a day.
11.5. Also, wolves must not be very vicious, as we see their entire attack only resulted in a scratched arm for the Beast.
11.5.2. Just for fun, anyone seen that little hidden gem Disney threw into Gaston's plunge into the abyss? Well, if you haven't, here it is:
12. Beast vs Silverware
Did you never learn how to do it, or something? Must be the whole not-having-parents thing.
13. I wonder why…
The song goes, “I wonder why I didn’t see [the Beast’s ‘dear and unsure’ side] there before.” Really? The monstrous beast that’s been screaming violent and threatening things at you for most of the movie so far, who also locked your father up to die for trespassing? You’re wondering why you didn’t see his softer side? What kind of message are we sending, here?
14. A Tale of Woe?
During the bridge of Human Again, Belle and the Beast are reading Romeo and Juliet. Why? What parallels can we draw from that tale? That the Beast and Belle are doomed? That they’re star-crossed lovers? Or their households would be against their being together, but their love and sacrifice will ultimately lead to the razing of social tension? Nope.
14.5. Also, in the same scene, Belle teaches the Beast how to read. He struggles to read and mispronounces the word ‘two,” but goes right on reading “households.” Uh-huh. Sure you can’t read, Beasty.
Why has Belle never seen the library? She knows it exists; Lumière and Cogsworth told her before she ventured into the West Wing. And if such actions are any indication, we can assume Belle is the curious kind, prone to wandering through any and all closed doors. So how is the Beast able to surprise Belle with the library?
16. Bad Barber
First of all, we've seen servants transformed into objects that match their purpose in the castle. The cook is turned into a stove, the maid into a dust broom; so why is the barber a coatrack? Secondly, does the barber not know the Beast is male? Why would he give him a Shirley Temple haircut, right before his date with Belle? Must be a comedian. Or he hates the Beast.
16.5. And, while we're on the subject of date night, where did Belle get that gold dress? And furthermore, where did the Beast get a suit that fit? I guarantee no one in the castle prior to the curse was as big as the Beast—so were both outfits made my the servants who were turned into sewing machines, or something?
17. Thanks for the help, Beast
Why doesn’t the Beast help Belle find and rescue her father when she sees him suffering in the woods via the magic mirror? Wouldn’t his castle, his servants, his physical strength—and even his body warmth—be better suited for saving Maurice? Oh, well. He survives, anyway.
18. Hypothermia, much?
How does LeFou avoid hypothermia after having been encased in a snowman for who knows how long? I mean, he's literally blue when he emerges! Just look at example two of point number two! Let's toss Maurice into the hypothermia pile, as well. How did he manage to avoid its sting?
19. Who Sent the Mob?
Why don’t the castle servants automatically assume Belle sent the mob? I mean, the mob has the magic mirror in their possession, and Belle just left. We could argue that the Beast assumes as much, but the servants don’t appear to suspect a thing. Also, the Beast is kind of a jerk to just say "let them come," showing no regard for the safety of his servants.
20. And finally, Why is the Prince not dead?
The beast got stabbed, right? And he died. So why doesn’t the curse lift, but leave a dead prince? Does this mean that any tables and plates the Beast destroyed while a beast will reanimate into living humans? We can only hope...
Coming Next Week
June 25, 2015
C. K. Conners
©2015 by C. K. Conners