Quick! What was the name of the villain from Beauty and the Beast? If you said Gaston, you’re wrong! Gaston was just some dumb egghead who wanted woo and marry Belle and kill as many animals as possible including the Beast which, yeah… it makes him a bad guy, but it doesn’t make him the bad guy.
The real villain of the story is The Beautiful Enchantress
Remember the opening monologue?
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. And as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there. Ashamed of his monstrous form, the beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?
All right, let’s think about this: Lumier sings in “Be Our Guest” that “Ten years we’ve been rusting…” meaning that, since the Beast is about to celebrate his 21st birthday, he was cursed at the age of eleven. Let that marinate for a moment: This Enchantress cursed an eleven year old boy because he was unkind! He’s freaking eleven years old! I’ve never met an eleven year-old who wasn’t unkind! That’s part of being an eleven year-old!
Besides, this witch shows up looking like an ugly old woman at his place and says, “Hey, let me spend the night in your house and I’ll give you this rose.” I challenge anyone reading this to honestly say that they would actually allow a strange old woman into your house. I think not. I guess that makes you “unkind” too. Let’s also not forget that this kid is ELEVEN FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD and he’s probably been told a million times not to talk to strangers.
So, this Enchantress who has apparently been going door to door doling out judgments and punishments under no one authority but her own, turns this poor eleven year old kid into a beast. Does she stop there? Oh no… For this Enchantress is a vicious horrible awful shrew who not only turns children into monsters, but also turns servants who were doing nothing but their jobs for meager wages into talking clocks, teapots, and candlesticks.
This makes me wonder… what if Cogsworth was only a few days away from retirement or Lumier was engaged to a hottie in the next town? Sorry guys, you’re going to spend the next ten years as talking knickknacks because the kid you work for didn’t allow a stranger with a flower into his house!
Of course, she gives the poor kid a stipulation through which he can escape her judgmental wrath and that is that he has to love and be loved in return before his 21st birthday. Let’s not forget, though, that she has transformed into into a GOSH-DARNED BEAST!!! AT THE AGE OF ELEVEN! Now, he will have to go through puberty as a beast with nothing but desperate servants in the guises of dresser drawers and cups to talk him through the birds and the bees. The poor kid can’t even have privacy time in the bathroom because his toothbrush is watching him.
Not to mention that this eleven year old kid who has been turned into a half-man half-bear half-goat thing is going to have to get some chick to love him. Doing that as a beast is like trying to eat soup with a fork!
What sort of perverted moral compass was this Enchantress working with? You’d think that she’s at least have the decency to show up at one point and give some sort of meaning to the horrible existence she curses so many innocent people with, but she’s a no-show coward throughout the whole movie.
Gaston? Yeah, he’s a complete butt-dumpling, but when it comes to pure evil, the Beautiful Enchantress has not only got him beat, she’s lapped him over and over like Captain America did to Falcon in The Winter Soldier.
Besides, as I share a name with Gaston, I’ve got a soft spot for the big dumb dope.