I realized pretty quickly that I can’t have been the only person who’s thought of this, so of course I turned to Google and confirmed my suspicions that sadly I am not a pioneer in the field of fairy tale plot inconsistencies. So in the prologue of the movie, the deep voiced narrator guy tells us that an Enchantress comes upon a castle and asks for shelter. When the Prince says no, she curses him for his apparent jackassery by turning him into the Beast, and giving him the enchanted rose, which she says will bloom until his twenty first year. Here’s where things start to get messed up. If you know the words to “Be Our Guest” as I do, you’ll recall that Lumiere says:
Needing so much more than dusting
Which implies that all of this cursing business went down when the Prince was eleven. (We know that the rose is almost done blooming, which would seemingly make the Beast twenty one. 21-10=11. MATH!) Now, I’m all for teaching kids life’s hard lessons, but it seems a bit harsh to curse him to a life of a being a hideous Beast because he was being a little pubescent. Can we really blame a little boy for not just inviting some sketchy lady inside? Stranger danger, and all that.
However, there are a couple of plot points elsewhere in the movie that lead us to believe that either the curse isn’t how the prologue makes it seem, or that somebody kind of dropped the ball in the script supervising department. The first being that the Prince (who looks like an adult in that stained glass window animation to me) is the one who answers the door when the Enchantress knocks, hinting that he was living there by himself with the servants. A little odd for an eleven year old. Fine, that’s kind of a minor issue. We don’t know for sure that that’s the case, and probably every story ever told has a few little issues like this. But there are other details that raise the WTF factor a little more.
The Prince’s Weird Future Portrait
I don’t know about anybody else, but when I was a kid I assumed that the Beast was a man who the curse froze in time, and that he and everyone in the house stayed as they were without aging. Which seems supported in part, by the portrait we see of the Prince that he destroys and that Belle later finds. When he slashes it, he appears to do so with fully grown Beast paws (and not tinier, more puppy sized ones). So we are led to assume that he does this because he can’t bear to look at the face that he believes he’ll never have again. But if we go back to the premise that he was eleven when he was cursed, how could this portrait even have existed. Is this supposed to be some future rendering of the Prince? That seems a little dubious to me. Belle even seems to recognize that Beast’s eyes are the same as they are in the portrait when she comes across it. Suspicious. So did this kingdom have crazy inventive, future telling artists, or are we looking at a plot hole. You decide. (It’s a plot hole.)
I am notoriously bad at guessing kids’ ages. So correct me if I’m wrong, but just the sound of Chip’s voice makes me think that he’s younger than ten years old. From the things I looked at on the interwebs, this seems to be a generally accepted fact. So if this is true, that means that Mrs. Potts had to have conceived, carried and given birth to a teacup while she was in teapot form. WHAT? How would that even work? It teapot intercourse even possible? (I would imagine the spouts are involved.) Were Chip and his brothers and sisters born at the size they are now, or did they start out the size of those pretentiously tiny espresso mugs? Will they keep growing and turn into teapots one day too?! I know it’s a cartoon and a fairy tale at all, but Chip is one of the more important secondary characters. We care about him, we’re going to want to know about how our cute little pal Chip came to be. And things definitely do not add up.
The way I see it, there are two options: The Enchantress was a hardcore crazy ass and cursed a kid, and the spell has to be broken by the time he’s twenty one, in which case the details like the portrait and Chip don’t make sense anymore. Or, he was a grown man (like we see him in the portrait and at the end of the movie) and the curse froze him and everyone in the castle for ten years, in which case the line in the prologue about the rose lasting until the Prince’s twenty first year is arbitrary and should have been taken out. All in all, what is the Beast’s deal? I think I’ll focus more on this question than the fact that I’m always kind of disappointed when the Beast turns back into a human in the end…I don’t know what that says about me, but I think he looks kind of douchey. That’s another issue for another day.
Who else noticed this crazyness? What plot holes in other stories drive you nuts? And just to ease my mind, is there anyone else that prefers the Beast in non-human form?!