Since I provided a detailed analysis of the folk tale Beauty and the Beast last week, I thought I would look at how Once Upon a Time handles its retelling. I have to say, I’m not terribly impressed with the writers’ efforts. They were clearly working from the Disney version and did little if any background research on the story.
To begin, they went with Disney’s version of the story’s beginning but with their own twist. There are no sisters, though they did choose to include the character of Gaston. The role of Belle’s suitor is not mentioned in any past version of the tale. She is single and living with her father, usually her sisters and sometimes her mother. In Once Upon a Time, they place Belle as the daughter of a king, a detail not present in any of the stories or even the Disney film.
Smaller details such as this I could forgive if the utter lack of background study hadn’t been made so obvious by the beginning of Belle’s stay in Rumplestiltskin’s castle; not to mention the absurd crossing of stories through the choice to use Rumplestiltskin to play the beast. A more unlikely candidate could not have been chosen. Since when is an ugly mischievous imp equal in character to a giant frightening beast? His rather comical and more wicked demeanor simply doesn’t match up with the tortured and terrifying beast. The beast needs to be larger than life, which I’d say he is not. Even with all the makeup they put on him, he still just looks like an impish man playing dress-up. I’m not getting the wow factor from this show.
That’s really my biggest complaint about the way the writers handled the story. The beast is completely miscast and badly written. Does anyone remember the scene where Belle is trying to open the curtains in Rumplestiltskin’s library? That scene couldn’t have come across any more ridiculous than it did. When she asks him why he spins so much (not a very beastly occupation) he giggles…seriously, he giggles. I can’t get past it. I just can’t. The scene made me laugh. I was practically rolling on the floor. What kind of a beast giggles like a little schoolgirl? Really?!! But on to more serious matters…
At the beginning of Beauty’s stay at his castle, the writers have her residing in the dungeon…I guess to make Rumplestiltskin seem more menacing. But, that detail isn’t even in the Disney movie they watched for their research. Although I’m frankly quite glad they didn’t put her in bed with him…that image just makes me sick to my stomach. But they certainly could have had some type of mystery about what he truly looks like. I think it would have been intriguing to both the Beauty and the Beast plotline as well as the show as a whole if the writers had made him turn back into a human at night, making him vulnerable to attack. He’s too omnipotent at the moment. Nothing can really hurt him, even though they tried to show him as having weaknesses when they made him sick last season. But, still Hook was able to wound him when he was in human form and not beast form, so, in my opinion, it doesn’t really count. If he’d been in beast mode, Hook wouldn’t have been able to poison him. I just don’t buy it.
The addition of the chipped cup was also ridiculous. Yeah, it was cute in the movie, but leave it there, where it belongs. If I ever have to see that cup again, I just might scream. The gimmick doesn’t work. It certainly didn’t suddenly make me like the pairing anymore. The two actors don’t have chemistry and all of these little gimmicky things the writers add to try and tie them together don’t make up for that fact. He gave her a library. Ok, that’s nice of him, but I still don’t see them walking hand in hand in Central Park while some schmoozy romantic music plays in the background. The two as a couple is just not believable, and that more than anything else is what ruins the story.
Well, I could go on about details, but I think I’ll leave it there for today. Hope you enjoyed.
How do you think Once Upon a Time handled this tale? Any particularly bad…or good moments you’d like to mention? Sound off below…
Take a look at Top 20 Fairy Tale Films.
Don’t forget to peruse Highlighting the CW’s Beauty and the Beast.Pinterest.