Ah, the Disney Renaissance. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Like most people my age, I grew up on these movies. My earliest memory of a movie theater is watching Beauty and the Beast, the second The Lion King. My family (brother, grandma, parents) went to a neighboring town to find a theater playing it. The theater was over sold and we found ourselves watching "The Circle of Life" from the steps between aisles.
Basically: it's very difficult for me to look at these films objectively. My absolute favorite, no comparison, is Beauty and the Beast. After that, they're in a nearby jumble, especially Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King, three films vying for a distant second, depending on my mood or what I've listened to lately: missing the genius of Robin Williams? Aladdin gets the lead. Recently listened to the brilliance of "Poor, Unfortunate Souls?" Little Mermaid. Oh, but what about "Be Prepared?" Real talk for a second: the villains get the best songs. Aside from Ursula and Scar, what about Gaston's "Gaston?" "Under the Sea" and "Be Our Guest" are great, but give me "Be Prepared" and "Poor Souls" any day.
But the Beauty and the Beast love is real. Growing up, everything was Belle, from birthday parties to bed sheets to pajamas. My grandmother, when visiting her sister in Orlando, brought back a B&B tea set that is still in a cabinet somewhere. I have three different versions of the film - the original VHS, the special DVD edition that I got for my 16th birthday, and a Blu Ray set I picked up along the way. I have a Belle figurine that's sat on a bookshelf since visiting Disney freshman year with marching band.
All of that aside, my rose-colored lenses only go so far. After almost 30 years of intimate knowledge and appreciation of the film, I have some serious, serious issues. And not about the Stockholm Syndrome crap I refuse to acknowledge. No, my concerns are deeper than that.
First, the Beast's age. In the first scene, we are informed that an enchantress shows up at the prince's door, looking like a beggar, and asks for shelter. He refuses, so she turns him into a beast and puts a spell on the castle. The beast must experience true love, blah blah, before his 21st birthday. Then we jump ahead ten years, to Belle and right before the beast's 21st birthday. Using my engineering degree, that means the Beast was 10, almost 11, when the enchantress showed up. I know we're in medieval times and all that, so kids were getting married and ruling kingdoms way earlier than they do today, but still, 10? He should still be following the rules of stranger danger - no shit he should have kept the beggar woman/enchantress out of his castle! And where are his parents? Or other person to provide care? And really, what prince is answering his own door? Here is my personal head canon answer: Time moves differently in the enchanted castle. It's been ten years outside, but less inside, so really the Beast was, like 18 when the enchantress showed up. This doesn't really work either - Mrs. Potts and Lumiere mention how long it's been - but this is what I tell myself to sleep at night.
Second, who exactly changed to inanimate objects. The wiki summary and the film itself say the spell is place on the castle. This is fine, until you take a look at everything that gets transformed. In "Be Our Guest," there are literally hundreds of pieces of flatware and dishware dancing. Then you have the two spin-off films, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World that introduce hundreds more transformed people. For example, in the Christmas film, each ornament on the tree is some human being, trapped in friggin' Christmas decorations, spending the majority of their time in some sad box in the attic. Where did all these people come from? What was the boundary of the spell? Which brings us to the big question:
Third, why did no one notice. At this point, we are up to literally thousands of people who have been transformed into household appliances. Where are their families? No one noticed thousands of people just disappearing? And what about the subjects whose royal family just up and disappeared. Let's say, based on number, all the prince's subjects were also transformed, so no one was out of a king. Well, now we're talking about an entire kingdom that goes missing! What about neighboring kingdoms? Mostly, though, what about Belle's village? There's an enchanted castle within walking distance (see "The Mob Song") and everyone is just okay with that? No one discusses it? It took a magical mirror for them to see there might be a problem here?
Personal head canon for this one: It was a sleepy kingdom that kept to itself. The prince was the only royal living and his entire kingdom got transformed with him. It was a long time ago, communication was tough, so no one really noticed or missed the kingdom. Again, does not work at all, but what the hell.
There are other issues. Buzzfeed has a whole list of them, including how does Chip exist? What would have happened if Belle touched the rose? Where did that adult!Adam painting come from? But these are the ones I keep coming back to. WTF, Disney, WTF.