The Problem with “Human Again”

My daughter is three years old.

I offer this, not as a disclaimer, not as protection from some sort of embarrassment that I feel the following words might generate, but as information, pure informative information, that serves merely to color in the complete picture of this post.

Alright, I admit it, I also want to justify watching Beauty and the Beast about 5000 times in the past year.

This, of course, is the new, Blu-Ray version of Beauty and the Beast. Just released from the Disney Vault (the subject of a completely different, yet-to-be-written rant). So it has the new song, “Human Again” in it. And that one song ruins the entire movie for me.

(It has to be said, it doesn’t ruin the film at all for Madeline, the three year old. She thinks that one day, if she is really really good and eats a good dinner and doesn’t whine, one day she might, MIGHT, get the opportunity to be a princess and to be kidnapped by a giant half-man, half-beast. If she’s really really lucky and uses her manners.)

See, the problem with “Human Again” is that it really spotlights the other victims of the Beast’s curse, his servants. And once you realize that there are other victims of the curse, the whole movie falls apart.

The thirty second version of Beauty and the Beast is that the Beast used to be a handsome prince, he judged an old lady by her stench and looks, she was secretly a fairy or something, and cursed him to be a hideous beast until he could earn the love of beautiful young woman.

Now, the problem with the Disney film isn’t so much visible in the above synopsis. I mean, one problem with the movie is that the Beast has to save himself through the love of another, and not by actually changing himself – but I suppose he earns the love the Beauty by changing himself, so in the long run that works out.

No, the problem with the Disney movie is that not only the Beast is changed by the curse (an aside: he really wasn’t changed into a hideous man-beast, he was changed into a handsome man-beast- I always thought that Belle probably was a bit disappointed when he changed back into a man – she really wasn’t that into Gaston, and looked almost exactly the same as the Beast as a man does), but the curse also affects his whole household.

So, all his servants are transformed, not also into beast-men, but into things like candlesticks and clocks and teapots. And unless the Beast can find true love by his 21st birthday (a test that 99% of modern society would fail, I’m sure – I mean, the Beast hasn’t even been to college yet, let’s have a few years of keggers and dorm-room-make-outs, and then maybe he can find True Love, right?), the servants are ALSO going to be stuck forever in their cursed forms, which are WAY less awesome than being a beast-man. (Except for Lumiere, the candlestick-man. He can SUMMON fire at will. He’s like Pyro from the X-men, just without legs. And one foot tall.  So… 75% as good?)

Now, I will grant that this problem exists in the original film.  But in the original film there isn’t a five minute sequence where the servants sing about how they just can’t wait to be human again, and all the things they would do if they were human again, and please, for the love of god, will someone just make them human again, instead of these horrible anthropomorphic bits of furniture and bric-a-brac?

Once you start thinking about the horrible plight of the servants, you can’t stop thinking about all the servant related plot holes in the film.  I mean, never mind the Beast not actually having a name, or apparently living alone as a teenager in a castle when he was cursed (unless you want to make the film really dark, and assume that the Beast slaughtered his parents in a fit of rage after becoming the beast-man).  Never mind that the Enchantress gave him one way to escape the curse – to find True Love- and he went about it by, what, not leaving his castle ever?  And the servants, who also needed him to find True Love, just accepted that?  Because maybe they wanted to be feather dusters forever?

No, you start thinking about whether or not the castle was furnished before the curse turned all the servants into furniture.  Maybe the curse turned all the furniture into servants?  Which the Beast ate?  Because I’ll buy that a clock and a candlestick don’t need food for years upon years, but the Beast is huge.  And we see him eating all the time in the film.  Where does this food come from?  You can’t exactly send your couch down to the store to buy food.

Yeah, the Beast definitely ate some people.  Villagers, maybe, if you don’t buy the former furniture turning into people theory.  That’s probably what he was going to do with Belle’s father.

Additionally, Mrs. Potts (a servant conveniently named, for she indeed turns into a teapot), has like twenty children, which make up the cup and saucer portion of the tea set.  Did these children live at the castle before the curse?  Or did a teapot give birth to a cup at some point?  And do the cups grow up into teapots and whatever the male version of a teapot is?  A kettle?

Basically, what I’m saying is that Gaston, the “villain” of the film, is probably right when he says that the villagers have to kill the Beast.  I mean, even without the (probable) man-eating, the Beast drinks and eats and sits on sentient creatures, who so long to escape their plight that they’ll sing a terrible, lengthy and boring song about wanting to be human again.

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