Enough time has passed since the release of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast remake that fans can start really digging into it. We've already talked about all of the major moments (Belle's backstory! Emma Watson singing! The insane "Be Our Guest" scene!), so it's time to delve into something that has been completely overlooked since 1991, when the animated movie was first released. Guys, the titular Beast of Beauty and the Beast has a tail. It's easy to miss this fluffy feature at first glance since, you know, he also has horns and is, like, very hairy. But, we can't ignore this tail issue any longer; it's a tail as old as time, and it's time we start talking about it.
A tail is no joke. Somewhere in his transformation from a human to a beast, he grew an extremity. He didn't just get hairier or have his shoulders expand, he grew another part of himself. And a tail is a pretty major part of you if you have one, I would assume. It definitely is going to affect certain situations. How does one wear pants? Does one wear pants? Come to think of it, Beast mainly wears a kind of shapeless ragged cloak for a majority of the film (which also doubles as a tail-hiding device, hence why you might have missed it), is that because of his tail? And, because having a tail is very serious business, I'm sad to report that both films missed out on several tail-related opportunities.
Imagine the love montage... Beast accidentally knocking something over with his tail, while Belle laughs and cleans up the shattered plate/glass/human being turned-dishware and shakes her head at Beast in mock admonishment. As she falls further in love with Beast (whose name is Adam, BTW), she could lovingly brush his tail as a sign of her growing affection. Maybe during the epic dance scene, she could have been awed by his flawless moves, and he could have replied that his skills have improved since his transformation because a tail adds better balance. What I'm getting at here is that the Beast's tail could have been the film's best catalyst for love.
Then there's the age-old question of what animal even is Beast, anyway? Turns out, the tail is a huge clue. In the animated 1991 version, Beast has the feet and tail of a wolf, voluminous and fluffy — which tbh is prettier than my own locks. (Do they make "Beast tail" hair extensions? If so, sign me up.)
The new Beast has the tail of a lion: Thin with a tuft of hair on the end. That is a choice. That means that at some point, there was an important meeting full of Disney people who had to have a serious conversation about whether Beast should still have a tail in the new movie, and, if so, what kind it should be. Somewhere along the line they decided yes, he still should have one, but it should be that of a lion instead of a wolf. Why?
The tail end of my argument is that this extremity exists on Beast for a reason. Animation is hard; you don't add random body parts that you have to animate (let alone a moving, flowing tail) just for fun. This was a decision, and a thought-out one. It also feels as though the filmmakers deliberately decided when we would see the tail. It's most prominent in the dancing scene (brought to you by twirling!) because he's wearing a tailored suit and is letting his sophisticated side come out. But, as genteel as he may be, he's still an animal, and the tail drives that point home.
He can dress up and waltz around a library, but he is still a beast. It's essentially the biggest metaphor of the film, and so many people are missing it. People are all caught up in Belle's dress or Beast's half pony (not the kind of tail I want to be the focus), and they don't notice the tail sticking out of the hole he definitely had to cut in those satin pants.
While I love a good hidden metaphor, I'm disappointed that both of these films gloss over all the larger tail-related opportunities in favor of beard jokes instead. The 2017 remake features Belle asking the newly transformed Beast-to-Adam if he'd consider growing a beard, while the '90s movie had a scene in which the objects curled Beast's beard to make Belle like him — giving us an admittedly amazing image (but still no tail focus).
Clearly, these writers are capable of making hair-related jokes and bits, so I want more. When Beauty and the Beast is undoubtedly rebooted sometime in the future, I demand more attention be paid to detail.