Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Favorite Versions of The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)



Through a few conversations here and there on the BatB Web Comic Tumblr, a question came up that has been getting some buzz: Who is your favorite version of the Beast? As someone that is a longtime fan of the fairy tale and watching it on film, thats personally a hard question. So since I can not give just one answer, I thought I would give a countdown of my favorites! Cause heck, I love having an excuse to talk about my favorite literary character!

Honorable Mentions


Goliath from Gargoyles

Though not literally the Beast in his show, Goliath plays the part in his relationship with human character Elisa. They initially have trust issues (like the fairy tale) and grow to understand each other after several intense moments. Eventually the two fall in love and become the series central romantic couple. If you don't believe in their romance being inspired by BatB, the animators even make painfully obvious hints, especially in the Halloween episode where Elisa dresses as (Disney) Belle and the two slow dance the night away. There are even episodes that play into the idea of Goliath becoming human (a handsome prince) and them living happily ever after (though it never turns out that way really in the end!) 



Howl from Howl's Moving Castle

Though again not literally the plot of the movie/book, Howl definitely has some Beast like qualities to his journey. Playing off of the more tortured style of the iconic character, Howl is a magician who has used an aspect of his power too much and thus is slowly losing his ability to be human. Ironically, the heroine in the story (Sophie) could also be considered The Beast as well, as she is herself under a physical curse that can only be broken by belief and love. You can also see the touches of BatB in that Sophie at night (or in dreams) appears as her younger self, something that seems to only be visible to Howl (representing when Belle has dreams of the prince speaking to her to set him free.) Either way you look at it, there is definitely some tale as old as time aspects in this couple and it is fantastic.


Beast from Megan Kearney's Web Comic

Though I can't put him as an official entry for my favorites (since the web comic is only in it's infancy), I am really digging Megan's version of our leading man. She has developed a character that seems unique yet familiar, and is also incredibly attractive in his heart. With the added bonuses of beautiful mock-up closing credits and the love Megan has for the story as a whole, this version of The Beast combines all the best elements from versions past. If you are interested in learning more about the web comic, click here, and if you wanna learn more about Megan, check out my interview here



Favorite "Beasts"


Erik, The Phantom of the Opera

So let's break it down, The Phantom of the Opera is basically a murder mystery crime version of Beauty and the Beast, with some opera and violence thrown into the mix to make it "different". Let that comment though not deter from how much I love The Phantom character and all his incarnations as well. But for the purposes of this list, I decided to speak about my favorite version, and that would be without a doubt the 1989 Robert Englund take on the masked man. Englund gets Eric better than most of the more famous versions, and adds some innocent romance along with a lot of scary violence that makes his Erik hella-layered (no pun intended...) With the hair pulled back and the cute light touches to his voice at the right moments, Englund's Erik is memorable (and overall better than that sad sack Gerard Butler!)


Netvor, Panna a Netvor

As mentioned in a review I did a few months back, Panna a Netvor is probably my favorite film adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and Netvor himself is one of the main reasons why. Though he is not exactly the most charming version of the character set to celluloid, he definitely is a romantic character in (like Howl) the torture style way that makes you have a huge amount of compassion. Also Netvor has a sense of sensuality that many other adaptations lack, mostly because of his claws turning into human hands towards the middle of the story, allowing him to be closer to the Belle character. Factor in that he is a bird creature, has an epic cape and some interesting furniture choices and you got yourself an awesome addition to the Beast list.


The Beast, Disney Version

Now of course I can't make a list without mentioning the one that started it all for me, the Disney version of The Beast. Yes, he has got anger issues like crazy and he is more of a child in the beginning than I might like now knowing what other versions of the character that are out there, but still there just is something about this guy that gets me. When he is dancing Belle around the ballroom, the emotions that animator Glen Keane pours into his eyes are breathtaking. And don't even get me started on the brilliance of the "Beast Lets Belle Go" sequence. The mixture of Robby Benson's voice acting, Keane's animation, and Alan Menken's score make you feel every inch of emotion and it is probably the sequence that created many a fangirl in the 90's (including this one right here!) 


Rumple, Once Upon A Time

If you have ever watched the show Once on ABC, its hard to not like the character of Rumplestiltskin. He is charming, creepy, thought provoking, endearing, and overall a badass. But when episode 12 of season one premiered in 2012, no one could have anticipated the epicness that would take place, and that is the brilliantly written episode Skin Deep. Here we meet Belle and see that Rumple will indeed play the role of The Beast within the story of the series. This begins one of my favorite TV relationships ever, especially since Belle and Rumple have great chemistry as characters (as do the actors that give them life.) Not to mention, I love that Rumple is not the typical body type for the Beast, allowing the character to weave different aspects into his role. In Season three, I hope we get more moments with these two as Season two was a bit painful to watch for this OTP. 


Vincent, Beauty and the Beast (80's TV)

As mentioned previously in my Old Man Crush List, I love Ron Perlman. So it comes with ease that I can say Vincent is without a doubt my favorite version of The Beast. This incarnation is a gentlemen with class and honor, along with fantastic taste in everything (including soup apparently!) Watching a TV series is much different than a movie, and thus gives the audience time to learn everything about Vincent, which is also another factor into him being my favorite. The episode that made me get all the mushy feelings for this hero was definitely the Halloween episode, where Vincent goes to the city to meet his favorite writer at a masked ball. He looks so regal and he is super passionate too! 



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