Beauty and the Beast Is All About the Specialty Drinks

beauty and the beast chip

I saw Beauty and the Beast at one of the fancier movie theater chains around, trading concession stands and seat-kicking children for fine dining and reserved seating. While no theater experience can beat the frugal satisfaction of a cheap matinee with a student/senior discount, an actual entrée served by a staff of black-clad waiters felt fitting for the flick in question.

After agonizing between shrimp-laden macaroni and cheese or a burger with a side of macaroni and cheese (I’m a bit of a mac and cheese aficionado), I happened upon their specialty beverage menu themed around Beauty and the Beast. Four choices glinted back at me under the sunny glow of pre-preview lighting: the Belle, the Beast, the Gaston, and the LeFou.

Your average moviegoer would pick their poison based on the actual beverage content, n’est-ce pas? Not I, mon ami; not I.

No, if I were an average moviegoer, this article would contain far more actual movie discussion and far less culinary nonsense and ham-fisted French.


beauty and the beast be our guest

Imagine yourself in my seat, one hand holding the ponderous drink menu and the other playing with the retractable arm rest. Surely your choice of drink most readily identifies you with the associated character and all that entails, distilling your very soul into something shaken or stirred.

live action beast

Do you order the Beast? While the latest film’s depiction of the half-titular character throws fewer tantrums in his bestial form, his initial human form (older in this version) represents the worst of French aristocracy, which is to say powdered wigs and makeup-lathered faces. If you blame witch’s curses on poor parentage (the Beast’s father is revealed to be the source of his ill manners) and name romance novels among your guilty pleasures, you may just be the 2017 version of the Beast.

live action belle

Do you order the Belle? While Emma Watson’s take on the other half-titular character is altogether too slight for my taste, her headstrong determination to escape fits Disney’s latest trend of writing female protagonists that avoid throwing themselves dramatically over the nearest divan while sobbing uncontrollably. If you let your eyes wander aimlessly across empty green screens during expensive CGI dance numbers or prefer men with facial hair over dainty Parisian beaus, you may just be the 2017 version of Belle.

live action gaston

Do you order the Gaston? Significantly lacking in his cartoon counterpart’s “biceps and triceps to spare” but overcoming it with some ripper dance moves, Gaston comes with painfully underwritten PTSD. Seriously, the film makes multiple passing remarks to his military service and includes several instances of LeFou desperately attempting to contain his war buddy’s uncontrollable rage. If you need long-term therapeutic treatment instead of a hundred-foot fall to your death, you may just be the 2017 version of Gaston.

le fou live action

Do you order the LeFou? Touted as Disney’s first openly homosexual character, he’s thankfully defined more by his moral compass and turbulent camaraderie with Gaston than his sexual orientation. Interestingly, LeFou’s dwindling feelings for Gaston throughout the plot serves as a foil to Belle’s growing feelings for the Beast, as both objects of affection tend toward aggression and abuse. If you question the ethics behind attempted murder on senior citizens or continually find yourself attracted to the wrong sort of bad boy, you may just be the 2017 version of LeFou.

While swigging back some red-tinted concoction for the opening night of Deadpool can be refreshing, it’s these sorts of choice-based drinks that theater bars need to take more advantage of. I’m reminded of selecting a blue Captain America cocktail over the Iron Man equivalent during the Civil War premiere, kicking off the film’s key debate before I had even found my seat.

Theater-going will always have to sell itself as an experience to compete in an increasingly streaming world or to wrangle 18-to-35-year-olds into cineplexes for two hours at a time. As theaters increasingly craft that experience into something more involved, elegant, or upscale, they should never forget the thoughtful simplicity of a specialty drink.

(And if you stay for the credits, you’ll experience the shocking reveal that Lumiere was voiced by Ewan Macgregor.  I’m still reeling from that one.)

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