Beauty and the Beast (1991) recently celebrated its 30th birthday, so it’s fair to say that the film really is a tale as old as time (can you believe it’s two years older than Jurassic Park?!). And while the 2017 live-action reboot was a huge box office hit, it still doesn’t hold a candle (sorry, candelabra) to the animated classic!
However, we happen to be firm believers that even the most beloved movies aren’t without flaw (speaking of Jurassic Park, that masterpiece is filled with bloopers!), and the original Beauty and the Beast is no exception. In fact, while the live-action version is almost a scene-by-scene remake, it actually corrects some big mistakes made in the 1991 film!
Here are three major plot holes in the original Beauty and the Beast that its own remake had to fix!
3. Prince Adam’s Age
In Beauty and the Beast, we learn that Prince Adam was cruel to an old lady who came to the castle hoping to sell one of her roses in exchange for shelter from the storm. But upon being turned away, the witch revealed herself to be an enchantress, who cursed the prince, transforming him into a beast and giving him until his 21st birthday to find true love and become human again.
But this is where things get pretty confusing, and this is easily the biggest plot hole in the entire movie. Where time is concerned, things just don’t add up. The narrator confirms that the Beast has until his 21st birthday, and later on in the film, we learn that 10 years have passed since that fateful night, which means that Prince Adam was just 11 years old when he met the witch!
Later in the film, when Belle enters the kitchen looking for supper, the not-so-inanimate candelabra Lumiere bursts into song with the iconic “Be Our Guest”, whose lyrics include “Ten years we’ve been rusting.” And there would be nothing wrong with the fact that a decade has passed since the curse if we hadn’t already seen a portrait of Prince Adam as a grown man!
In the 2017 live-action movie, not only is Prince Adam shown to already be an adult man when he’s cursed by the enchantress, which makes a lot more sense, but the lyrics in “Be Our Guest” (which is nowhere near as good in this version) are also changed to, “Too long we’ve been rusting,” which proves that even the filmmakers are aware of these plot holes.
2. The Sheltered Townsfolk
A nearby castle that previously housed a royal family isn’t something you’d be unaware of, no matter how long its more human inhabitants have been absent. But for some reason, in the original Beauty and the Beast, its existence is a mystery among the townsfolk (even though the egotistical game hunter Gaston later knows how to lead everyone there)!
And while it’s obvious that the castle isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away, as it takes Belle’s father Maurice a good day on horseback to get there from the village, it can’t be that far, as we see Gaston and his mob later get there by foot during the third act (although a good sing-along does help speed things up – even if the song miraculously starts in the village and ends at the castle!).
During the opening sequence, which is all told in stained-glass animation, one such window shows that the castle and village are in the same land. But when Maurice begs the villagers for help in rescuing Belle, they don’t appear to know anything. You think the filmmakers would have at least made the townsfolk weary of a legendary beast in an old castle, but there’s nothing!
The 2017 film, however, changes the story quite a bit, and explains that the villagers actually knew Prince Adam before he became the Beast and that as part of the curse, they lost their memories so that the Beast would be even more alone! This means that they’re all part of the same curse, which begs to question what that old lady’s problem was!
1. The Missing Royals
Now that we know Prince Adam was around 11 years old when he was transformed into a beast, it really draws attention to the fact that his parents, or any other relatives for that matter, are nowhere in sight. While the film’s prologue could quite simply be breezing over these details, there are still no signs of any other royals 10 years on – just an army of servants!
So where is everyone? Are we to believe that an 11-year-old boy is living alone in a giant castle in the middle of the woods with nobody but his servants for company? This might not necessarily be considered a plot hole per se, but no explanation is offered as to why Prince Adam’s family hasn’t been in his life for at least 10 years. It’s no wonder he was such an unpleasant child!
It would be a lie, though, to suggest that the 2017 film corrects this, as we still don’t learn anything about Prince Adam’s parents or where they might be (the film spends some time on Belle’s mother instead). But what the live-action remake does do to remedy the absence of royals, is make Prince Adam older at the beginning of the story when he encounters the enchantress.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) might correct the plot holes of its animated predecessor, and there are some excellent recreations of iconic scenes, but the one thing it fails to recapture is the magic and charm. The reboot stars Emma Watson as Belle, Daniel Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, and Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.
Both the 1991 classic and the live-action adaptation are now streaming on Disney+.
Did you notice any of these plot holes in the original Beauty and the Beast?