Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
As much as we love Disney songs, we can't help but hold in even higher esteem Disney song parodies. A variety of cartoons, like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Critic, have given us particularly favortable, irreverent send-ups of our favorite just-a-bit-too-earnest classics from Walt's canon. Here are a few of the funniest, most clever, and all around catchiest Disney song parodies.
"See My Vest"
From: The SimpsonsA Parody of: "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the BeastDegree of Genius: High. Mr. Burns embracing the classic Disney showstopper to celebrate his love of animal furs is terrific macabre comedy.
"I Need a Jew"
From: Family Guy A Parody of: "When You Wish Upon a Star" from PinocchioDegree of Genius: Admittedly pretty clever, considering the fact that it's one long joke about Jewish stereotypes.
"Beauty and King Dork"
From: The CriticA Parody of: The title song from Beauty and the BeastDegree of Genius: It's a quick one, but the inclusion of singing dust busters, a Mork and Mindy reference, and Jay Sherman's attempts to cover up the embarrassing lyrics make for one of the best gags on the list.
"Just the Same Old Heroine"
From: AnimaniacsA Parody of: "Just Across the River Bend" from PocahontasDegree of Genius: Yes, it's a show directed at children, but it is easily the most biting, articulate satires of the Disney formula of the lot.
"Duff Beer for You, Duff Beer for Me"
From: The SimpsonsA Parody of:"It's a Small World"Degree of Genius: Well, it does accurately capture how horrifying and haunting that song is.
"The Surprises in Life"
From: AnimaniacsA Parody of: "Circle of Life" from The Lion KingDegree of Genius: As much a chronicling of man's inevitable existential crises as it is a Disney song parody, this one is just as likely to make you cry as it is to make you laugh. Deep stuff.
"It's a Wonderful Day for Pie"
From: Family GuyA Parody of: Disney schmaltz in generalDegree of Genius: Catchy, but not quite up to par with the likes of its peers.
From: The South Park movieA Parody of: "Part of Your World" from The Little MermaidDegree of Genius: True, this is a far looser parody than the others on the list, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone nail the tone and style of the Disney "I Want" number in general. And it's sung by Satan, so that makes things all the sweeter.
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Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection
With Frozen still raking in cash months after it first hit theaters and Maleficent dominating last week’s box office, it seems like Disney princesses are once again an unstoppable force. The studio is hoping to extend its current hot streak by bringing Beauty and the Beast, one of their most beloved properties back to the big screen in a live action movie. Variety reports that Dreamgirls director Bill Condon has been tapped to helm the feature film, which is just one of several live-action adaptations that Disney has in production.
Thus far, no details have been released about what direction they’re planning for the film, although hiring Condon does seem to imply that they might be interesting in making a full-scale musical. However, Condon has a handful of non-musical blockbusters on his resume – including the final installments of the Twilight Saga – so there are plenty of creative options open. In the interest of helping Disney and Condon narrow things down a bit, we’ve outlined the things we think Disney and Condon should keep in mind while putting together their live-action Beauty and the Beast. Although if we're honest, as long as there's an adorable talking teacup involved, we'll be fine.
DO: Throw in a Few of the Old Musical Numbers We’re not saying that Condon has to turn this film into a gigantic, musical spectacular, but if you went to see a Disney interpretation of Beauty and the Beast and didn’t hear even a few notes of that classic theme song, wouldn’t you feel disappointed? Throw a few songs in there, make the silverware dance around a little bit, either way, this film needs a little musical magic – although, feel free to drop “Something There” if there’s no room for it. It won’t be missed.
DON'T: Give It a Modern Setting Look, we like a modern re-working of a classic tale as much as anybody, but Disney should stick to what it does best: ball gowns, castles, and long, sweeping shots of stunning vistas. If people are looking for a metaphorical, city-set version of the tale, they can watch the CW. We prefer our Disney movies to feel like a fairy tale from a storybook.
DO: Add More Fairy Tale Magic For an animated film about a fairy tale princess, Beauty and the Beast featured surprisingly little magic. There was the dancing silverware, of course, and the dramatic transformation from Beast back into the prince at the end, but the film could have used a bit more pixie dust. For the live-action version, we’re hoping Condon pulls out all of the CGI tricks he learned on the Twilight films and sprinkles a little magic on this story. After all, it seems a shame to kick off a film with a drastic, dark transformation and then never show any actual witchcraft.
DON’T: Downplay the Beast’s Beastliness Giving your hero a few scars on his face has got to be cheaper and easier than turning him into a full-scale beast, but that doesn’t make it feel like any less of a cop-out. The films and shows that use tattoos and a “beastly attitude” instead of movie magic have had a good run, but we’re hoping Condon will ensure that this time around, our cursed prince gets a full-scale transformation this time around. Besides, everyone knows that Disney’s Beast looked better before he turned back into a prince.
DO: Work in Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts The best part of the animated Beauty and the Beast isn’t the love story between Belle and the Beast or the elaborate, catchy musical numbers. It’s the hilarious banter between the permanently-at-odds Lumiere and Cogsworth and the sensible, motherly Mrs. Potts, which is why we don’t understand why these characters – or their modern-day equivalents – are constantly left out of adaptations of this story. Every fairy tale needs a wise-cracking sidekick or three, Disney. Don’t deny Belle and the Beast theirs.
DON’T... FORGET: Gaston Every fairy tale needs a villain, and nobody’s better, meaner, scarier or more ruthless than Gaston. There’s a whole song about it, if you don’t believe us.
ABC is throwing its hat way into the fairy tale ring. First, they offered up the hit series Once Upon a Time, which will touch on every last one of Grimms' fairy tales if it's the last thing it does. Now, they look to try their hands at a television adaptation of just one classic tale, Beauty and the Beast. The alphabet network just ordered the pilot episode. The funny thing is, the CW just ordered its own Beauty and the Beast pilot a week ago. Perhaps our small screen giants were jealous of the double Snow White film adaptations getting all the glory (Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman), so they decided to drum up a little fairy duel of their own?
The CW's series is an updated version of the 80s TV version of the tale, but ABC's pilot has a description that boasts the word "dangerous" and a "beautiful and tough Princess." So basically, they're doing to Belle what Snow White and the Huntsman, Mirror, Mirror, and Once Upon a Time have done to Snow White: she's an independant, kick-ass princess who's still hopelessly in love with a hunk (or in the beast's case, a cursed hunk who's just going through an awkward period) - but she'll probably make him work for it. (We'll leave the definition of "it" up to you, though in the case of the CW version, you know what we're talking about.) And all this is an adjustment to make her more relevant to the modern woman, of course.
With Game of Thrones, Once, and Grimm all making their marks on the television landscape is there even room for more fantasy in our lives? Let alone two adaptations of the same story? Can a dainty lady and snarling beast really arrest our attention when we're so used to spending out time with vampires and those other snarling man-beasts, werewolves, over on The Vampire Diaries or True Blood? Are these networks nuts or could these fantastical series be a stroke of scheduling genius?
Don’t have enough Beauty and the Beast? Not entirely satisfied with your older Beauty and the Beast on Blu-ray? Wish it was just a little better in 3D? Well, your incredibly specific desires have been answered! The Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition 3D comes out October 4t and features the movie in just about every format imaginable: 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download.
Why? Because one format isn’t enough these days. It’ll also include all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect like extended versions of the film, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes features, and a bunch of stuff about the soundtrack like music videos, sing-a-longs, and alternate versions. It’s quite honestly about all the media ever created for Beauty and the Beast in five discs. Be sure to hurry and get it before it goes back in the vault (remember when they said that the last time? They’re super serious this time).