Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Guest Post: Alyssa from The Shady Glade

Alyssa from The Shady Glade wrote today's post on why she loves Beauty and the Beast. Thanks, Alyssa!

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a Disney nut. Grade A and certified. And some of you might be wondering how I got that way. Well, even I’m a little fuzzy on that, but I suppose that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I was raised on Disney. Every new year a new movie would come out and I’d have to have the latest merchandise.

When Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991, it was no different. I had to have the tights, the Barbies, the mirror, you name it, I had it. And then as usual a new movie came out the next year and I moved on to new stuff.

But somehow Beauty and the Beast was different. There was something about it, though at the young age of 4 I wasn’t quite sure what it was. In some ways I moved on, true, but a part of me still loved that movie despite my other “new favorite”.

Since then, I’ve grown up with this story. The illustrated Beauty and the Beast was the very first chapter book I was able to read by myself from start to finish. I went to see Beauty and the Beast on Ice for my 7th birthday. My first Broadway play was the theater version of Beauty and the Beast. I got Belle’s autograph at Disneyland. The list goes on and on.

I suppose one thing that kept me coming back was how much I admired Belle’s character. She was brave, smart, and not afraid to stand up to a jerk like Gaston. When I finally read the original version of the fairytale I was surprised at how bland the character of Beauty seemed. Beauty was more like other fairytale princesses I had read about, but Belle was new and vibrant. A strong female role model who still got her happily ever after in the end.

Belle taught me that it was okay to be a bookworm, even when a lot of my friends thought it was funny to be reading so much. At Disneyland, they have a building called the Animation Studio and there’s a room entitled the Beast’s Library where you can take a personality test to determine which Disney character you are most like. It wasn’t surprising to me at all when I found out I’m most like Belle.

These days, the music is the thing I love most about this movie. In fact, if you haven’t seen the Broadway version, I would highly recommend it. The songs they’ve added are my favorites these days. The production as a whole adds a whole new level of complexity to the personalities of the Beast and Belle, and they did a wonderful job adding the new music to the old familiar tunes from the movie.

No matter where I go, Beauty and the Beast will always be a special movie. Call it crazy if you want, but I still get choked up every time I hear the music. It truly is “a tale as old as time.” My time, anyway.

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