It is only after this critical scene that we get to witness the film’s first outfit changes to our protagonists. You will notice that Belle never wears blue again until she leaves the beast’s castle, and the beast never wears his red cape, which reminds us of Gaston and his red-laden outfit, until the final show-down. Interestingly enough, you will find that the beast wears a fair amount of blue during this time with Belle, and I think this is to foreshadow what happens in the ending.
Now, I think I should mention that there is an added song to Beauty and the Beast in its 2002 special edition release called Human Again. It was originally deleted by Katzenberg because he thought it was too repetitive, and I’m going to have to agree with him on this one. It comes shortly after Something There, and is proceeded with Tale as Old as Time (Beauty and the Beast). It’s just too many songs all at one time, and I think the movie is of higher quality without the song in it. So I will review this movie as it was released in 1991 and not comment further on its special edition copy.
After Belle and beast shares a magnificent dance together, it is time for the beast to tell Belle that he loves her. However, as is the key for all forms of great storytelling, he does so without actually saying those exact words. He is told that she misses her father. So the beast happily offers his enchanted mirror so that Belle can see him again. Unfortunately, he is seen as he was in the beast’s dungeon: cold, sick, and alone. With the rose dying, the beast has a crucial decision to make. On one hand, he could force Belle to stay trying to break the spell, or on the other hand, he can jeopardize his dream of ever becoming human again and let Belle go. The beast has finally learned how to love and the meaning of sacrifice.
Now the rose starts to gain significance. Before, it represented the beast’s despair. It represented the reason why he was turned into a beast. It represented the prince’s ugliness. However, as the rose is dying, the characters of its screenplay are losing hope. Thus, the rose takes on a double meaning as it signifies both hope and despair at the same time. This clash of emotion is reinforced by the fact that when the beast and Belle’s love are at its strongest, the rose is at its weakest.
When Belle returns to town with her father, she is seen for what other people want to see her for: Gaston still wants to marry Belle. He gets rejected for a second time, and this makes Gaston become as little as the people in the town. As the town-people grab their pitchforks and axes to kill the beast, we are shocked at the big reveal of this movie: it isn’t Gaston that is the villain, it’s the town that is. As Gaston sees his reflection into the enchanted mirror for what he has become, the mirror now represents the transforming power of society’s inability to appreciate true beauty. Once in the possession of the beast, Gaston’s transformation actually gives us insight as to how the prince turned into a beast. Gaston’s transformation unravels more of the prologue by mirroring the prince’s initial transformation. Best of all, Gaston’s transformation runs perfectly anti-parallel to the beast’s transformation which has almost completely unfolded before our eyes. After this reveal, there is still one character who deceives us with their looks, but that character is no longer Gaston. Gaston is everything the town wanted him to be, told him to be, and asked him to be.