On the heels of Lion King 3D‘s dazzling box office success (over $90 million), our dear and beloved friends at Walt Disney Studios have announced limited theatrical 3D releases for four more Disney Classics starting with Beauty and the Beast 3D which opens today (Friday). While $90 million wouldn’t usually be a box office success, it makes for a very reasonable profit margin considering the studio’s minimal investment. The extra cash in-hand has helped greenlight at least three other films including Finding Nemo (Sept. 14, 2012), Monsters, Inc. (Jan. 18, 2013) and The Little Mermaid (Sept. 13, 2013). Given such wonderfully delightful news let’s take a look at this timeless story about the Idealists’ quest for true love.
Belle is a young, beautiful, and sweet-hearted girl with a vivid imagination and a fondness for romance novels that is ‘not like the rest of us’. Indeed the opening song of Beauty and the Beast emphasizes the uniqueness of our heroine Belle, “a girl that’s strange but special” who’s “head is in the clouds”. Belle spends most of her time reading fairy tales, and especially loves those with a Prince Charming. Belle yearns for romance and adventure, pleading that “there must be more than this provincial life”. Imaginative, idealistic, insightful and sympathetic Belle is a classic Idealist. Indeed Belle‘s initial frustrations with the harsh reality of “real-life” romance are something all too familiar to many Idealists.
Gaston is a rude, conceited, small-minded, and narcissistic young lad who spends his time fighting, drinking, and hunting. He is considered the “hero of the town” as “no man in town is as admired as him”, and all the local townswomen adore him. Gaston relentlessly pursues Belle solely because of her beauty, Belle however is not as shallow as Gaston and refuses his every advance. Gaston tells Belle ”it’s about time you get your head out of those books and start paying attention to more important things: like ME”. This strapping and arrogant young frenchman of course represents the Idealists‘ commonly experienced frustrations with dating down-to-earth literal-minded Artisans and Guardians. Ultimately these Artisans and Guardians simply don’t understand the Idealists‘ tendency to dream and fantasize, and see such “day-dreaming” as a waste of time.
The Beast is a “mean and course and unrefined” creature who lives in an enchanted castle who has been cursed because “there was no love in his heart”. Indeed The Beast must learn to love another, and earn her love in return in order to break the curse. The Beast then concealed himself inside his castle and despaired, “for who could learn to love a Beast”. Complex, impersonal, skeptical, and pragmatic The Beast makes for a great example of a Rational, especially in the realm of romance. Indeed many Rationals draw parallels to The Beast in their romantic lives, but as Belle finds out, The Beast (and Rationals) can in fact be turned into a Prince Charming given the right circumstances. Indeed once Belle cracks The Beast‘s icy shell, he shows her the castle library, a metaphor for a Rationals vast store of knowledge. Ultimately of course the couple falls deeply in love, and The Beast‘s curse is lifted to reveal a charming and beautiful prince. What Beauty and the Beast tells us of course is that the Idealists’ never-ending quest for true love may be a long and arduous one but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
“No matter what kind of persons Idealists marry, however, it is not too much to say that they are the best of all temperaments at creating successful and fulfilling marriages. Developing harmonious personal relations is their joy and their area of expertise, and they bring all their finest qualities to the enterprise. Their sensitivity, their spirit of cooperation, their ability to communicate their feelings , their passion for their mates, their desire for deep bonding, their personal warmth and enthusiasm—all these traits work their magic in the NF’s relationships, and more than compensate for their tendency to start up Pygmalion Projects. Indeed, if we can assume that Pygmalion Projects are an inevitable part of any marriage, that at best such intimate coercion can be kept loving and sympathetic, then Idealists offer their mates the possibility to exceptional happiness.” Please Understand Me II, p. 240