Thursday, April 6, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Dolls by Hasbro and the Disney Store: Belle

Last year, when I was re-thinking this blog and figuring out how to keep it in my life, I made a few resolutions.  One of them was that I would never feel obligated to buy another Disney Store doll.  Why? Well, when I first started collecting these dolls (back in 2012), I was blown-away by the high-quality product that Disney could offer for under $13. Over the years, though, the dolls have suffered a lapse in quality and an increase in price…to the point where I started feeling bad every time I made a Disney Store purchase.

So why am I reviewing a Disney Store doll now?  Well, frankly, it’s because I’m a total sucker for Disney movies, and I get a little obsessed when a new one comes out. When the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie was announced, I eagerly waited for the release of the associated dolls…and then bought all of them. I can’t say that this was a wise decision, but at least I’ll get to share what I learned with all of you.  In a short series of (not necessarily sequential) posts, I'll look at both the Disney Store and Hasbro’s versions of Beauty and the Beast's main characters.  I’ll start things off today with each company’s yellow-gowned Belle doll:

Beauty and the Beast's Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95.
(Shown on a Barbie Made to Move body)
There are a lot of live action Beauty and the Beast dolls on the market right now. Here's a quick summary of the ones I've found online and in stores:

From Hasbro
1. Enchanting Ball Gown: articulated yellow gown Belle ($29.99)--in this review
2. Enchanting Melodies: singing yellow gown Belle ($29.99)
3. Grand Romance set: yellow gown Belle with Beast ($49.99)
4. Village Dress Belle: blue dress ($14.99)
5. Fashion Collection Belle: blue dress Belle with extra red cape outfit (only at Target--$24.99)
6. Royal Celebration set: wedding Belle and Prince (only at Toys R Us--$49.99)

From the Disney Store
1. Yellow gown Belle ($34.95)--in this review
2. Blue dress Belle with Gaston ($69.95)
3. Limited edition 16" yellow gown Belle ($129.95)
4. Beast ($34.95)

Many of the Hasbro dolls are on great sales right now and the only sold out item that I've seen is Disney Store's Beast.

I don't actually own all of these dolls, but I do have quite a few of them.  I plan to review the two Beasts, of course, but let me know if you have any other specific review requests.  Here are in-store pictures of the two large Hasbro sets:

Royal Celebration set (Hasbro)
Prince Adam...can we turn him back into the Beast??
There must be something wrong with me because I've always felt sad at the end of Beauty and the Beast when the Beast turns into a human.

Grand Romance set (Hasbro).
Hasbro, in particular, has produced an overwhelming number of dolls, which presents a slightly complicated shopping challenge.  I wanted one Belle and one Beast from each company--dressed in their ball gown outfits.  The Disney Store makes it easy to get this pair (the dolls are sold separately), but Hasbro forces a compromise.  If you want the Beast, you get the Belle doll that comes with him...and this doll is not the same as the one who comes packaged on her own.

Here's Enchanting Ball Gown--the Hasbro yellow gown Belle that comes packaged on her own (and the doll I will review today):


She comes in a blister pack-style box with a cardboard back and a rounded plastic front.  The packaging references the shape of the bell jar that holds the Beast's enchanted rose.


The front of the box features a small photograph of Emma Watson's Belle from the movie:


The back of the box has the exact same photo, along with a strange little blurb about Belle:


The text seems random--but it's presented in four languages:


I think that instead of this text, the box should feature lyrics from the Belle song--that's what always goes through my head when I see Belle, anyway:

Look there she goes that girl is strange, no question
Dazed and distracted, can't you tell?
Never part of any crown,
'Cause her head's up in some cloud,
No denying she's a funny girl, that Belle!

I like this picture of Belle, but should she really be holding that rose?  

What did you do, Belle!
In the movie it's mentioned that Belle's father always brings her a rose from his journeys, so let's assume that's what she's holding--not the Beast's magical rose.

As an aside, I absolutely loved the Beauty and the Beast movie.  I liked it even more than the live action Cinderella, if you can believe that.  The only thing I didn't like about the movie, oddly, is the Be Our Guest scene.  It tried too hard to copy the animated movie's famously frenetic extravagance...and failed to deliver any kind of magic in the process.  That's pretty much my only complaint, though.  I can't wait to see it again!

Belle is secured to her backdrop with a lot of rubber bands and plastic ties:


This is a good opportunity to compare Enchanting Ball Gown Belle to the Grand Romance Belle who comes with Beast.  

Here are the two dolls side-by-side:


The angles and lighting are slightly different in the pictures, above, but these two dolls have the same face, hair, body, and accessories:

Grand Romance Belle.
The dresses are totally different, though.

Grand Romance Belle.
I suppose it's a matter of taste which dress you like better.  I'll look a little bit more at the differences between these two dresses after I've de-boxed Enchanting Ball Gown Belle.

Here's the Enchanting Ball Gown backdrop scene:


Belle comes packaged with a cone of cardboard under her skirt:


Even without the cardboard, though, the skirt has nice volume and shape:

review

More so from the front and back than from the sides, though:



Of all the doll dresses I've seen, this is probably the closest match to the fabulous movie dress.  For comparison, there are some nice pictures of the movie dress on this site.

The hairstyle on this doll replicates the movie hairstyle faithfully, but the style scales down to look different on the doll than it looks on a real person.


Sections of hair from the sides of Belle's head are twisted back into a bun:


And the bun is decorated with a golden circlet:


The circlet has a molded feather design:

Notice the plastic tie still sticking out of Belle's head...oops.
One odd thing about this doll is that the parted sections of hair at the top of her head are a lighter brown than the rest of her hair:



The overall color of the hair is a darker brown than Belle's hair from the live action movie--it's more like the animated Belle's hair.

The hair fiber is shiny and easy to brush.  It tends to look a little messy at the ends, though, especially after brushing:


The appearance of this hair is deceptive, though--it's really smooth and silky to the touch.


I'll take the hair down a little later in the review.  For now, let's look at Belle's face:


This doll does not resemble Emma Watson.  However, she has an interesting mix of features from both the live action movie and the 1991 animated film.  For example, her eye size, hair length, hair color, and widow's peak hairline are typical of the animated Belle.  However, the thick eyebrows and freckles hint more at the live action version of the character:


This is a nice face, but it's fairly generic.  There's also the tiniest hint of something sinister in the slant of those eyebrows, but I only see it every once and while when I glance at her from certain angles.


Most of Belle's facial features--all except for her black pupils--are painted in shades of brown.  Even her eyeshadow is a matrix of tiny brown dots:


The screening is nice, though, and there are no obvious defects on my doll.


Belle wears a very distinct-looking necklace in the ballroom scene of Beauty and the Beast.  I wasn't originally sure about the significance of the necklace--or even what the design was supposed to be.  It reminds me of a cluster of branches.  Whatever the design, it's a beautiful necklace and all of the Belle dolls I've seen are wearing some version of it.

Hasbro's plastic interpretation is oversized and a little clunky:


This necklace didn't help me figure out what the design is supposed to be, but there are little berries (?) among the branches that I didn't notice in the movie.  I finally researched the necklace online (there are a lot of shops selling diamond-laden replicas...) and it's a rosebush.  Duh.  I should have figured that out.  Anyway, this stiff necklace was getting in my way as I tried to examine Belle's dress, so I removed it.

The dress is made out of two different fabrics--a sunny yellow satin in the bodice and a more muted yellow chiffon in the skirt's tiers:


The bodice is covered in glitter (which doesn't shed) and has some decorative pleats down the middle of a v-shaped insert:  


The bodice of Hasbro's Grand Romance Belle's dress is brighter, shinier, and does not have the center pleating:

Enchanting Ball Gown dress (left) and Grand Romance dress (right).

The tiers of Enchanting Ball Gown Belle's skirt are embellished with an intricate raised gold glitter pattern.  It's very pretty:



For comparison, the Grand Romance Belle's skirt has a shiny satin bottom layer with two transparent organza tiers.  The gold pattern on this dress is a flat, shiny appliqué:

Enchanting Ball Gown dress (left) and Grand Romance dress (right).

Here's a larger picture of the Grand Romance dress so that you can see the details better:


Under the chiffon layers of Enchanting Ball Gown dress, there's a bright satin underskirt:


And under the satin skirt, there's a tulle petticoat (the Grand Romance dress does not have a petticoat):


The petticoat is tacked to the skirt in a few places with yellow thread.  The threads pull out very easily:


The tiered detail of this dress continues in the back, where there's an obvious midline seam:


The bodice opens with a strip of velcro, making the dress easy to remove:


The bodice isn't lined, but the seams look secure:


The tulle petticoat is separate from the rest of the dress:


The fabric of Belle's dress is a little stiff (it feels like a play doll dress), but it's beautiful to look at and has some great details. 

When I first noticed the Hasbro Belle doll at Toys R Us, I was excited to see that she has highly-articulated arms.  However, the movement of these joints is stiff and limited, and she has no articulation in her knees or ankles:


She can be made to stand on her own when she's wearing shoes, but her balance is not great.

Belle's legs and torso are made out of hollow hard plastic (only her arms and head are softer vinyl).  This gives the whole doll a lightweight, inexpensive feel.  

Belle has rotating hinge joints in her shoulders, elbows and wrists.  These joints have stiff, limited movement, though.  The elbow joints are especially disappointing and can only bend about 40 degrees:


Belle has some side-to-side movement in her hips, but she cannot do full splits:


She doesn't have complete front-to-back movement in her legs, either:


She can sit on the floor, though, with her legs straight out in front of her:


Belle's shoes are made out of a dull greenish-gold vinyl.  They have some molded detail:


The vinyl in these shoes is soft, so they're easy to get on and off...and they stay on pretty well. 


Under the shoes, Belle has high arches in her feet:


There are some molding seams near the toes of my doll that look a little funny:


I snapped a few more pictures of Belle in her dress before I took her hair down:


This doll has a sweet face and silky hair that's fun to play with.  I also really like her dress--it's a little stiff, but it's easy to use and is a nice replica of the movie dress.  The biggest frustration with this doll is her articulation.  Her arms rarely look natural...


...and of course she can't bend much at all below the waist.  I thought she might be a good candidate for a body swap, but I couldn't get her head to work with a Made to Move or Liv body...and in the end I don't find her face special enough to permanently steal another doll's body.


Before I took Belle's hair down, I had to remove the vinyl feather decoration that encircled her bun.  Here it is up close:


The bun itself is made out of twisted strands of hair from either side of Belle's face: 


The bun was held in place with several clear (very tight!) rubber bands.  Here's what the hair looked like right after the bands were cut:


Those twists of hair were not at all eager to relax.


Here's the hair after I brushed it:


It was actually very easy to brush (with no styling product that I could feel), it just didn't want to lay flat right away.

The rooting density in this doll's hair is very good--she has thick, shiny hair and no bald patches:


The hair turned out to be pretty easy to tame with some finger combing and the help of a small clip:


And after those tightly-twisted sections of hair had been given some time to relax, they fell into loose, pretty waves:


The other thing that's hard to see in these pictures is that the lighter sections of hair at the top of Belle's head blend in nicely with the rest of the hair to give an attractive, subtly highlighted appearance to the hair as a whole.

This doll would be a solid choice for a child who is looking for a Beauty and the Beast souvenir.  Her dress and hair are especially well-done.  I think her price is a little high, especially because of the lightweight, unarticulated style of her lower body.  I'd say a more reasonable price would be $20...and many of the current sales are getting close to that.  

Hasbro's Belle isn't quite what I was looking for, though.  I'm a huge Emma Watson fan, and so I really wanted a doll that resembles her.  And of course I always want a doll with great body articulation.  I was hoping (against hope) that the Disney Store's expensive Film Collection Belle would deliver.

The Disney Store Belle comes in an asymmetric box with a cardboard back and plastic on all sides:



I'll admit that when I first saw this doll at the Disney Store online, I collapsed into a fit of giggles.  Frankly, she struck me as ridiculous--like a joke.  But I'm often fooled by unflattering promotional pictures, so I didn't put too much stock in this initial reaction.

The presentation of the doll is lovely--which certainly helps her make a good first impression in person.  The back of the box is covered with a romantic Beauty and the Beast movie picture that features Belle and the Beast dancing:


The bottom of the box has a paragraph describing the Film Collection:


Belle is mounted on a three-dimensional cardboard backdrop that imitates a window from the Beast's castle:


My first reaction to Belle's face was that it's a little better than what I was expecting based on the promotional pictures.  

The face is quite realistic (and reminiscent of Ms. Watson) but the head is huge...and weirdly yellow and shiny:


She looks kinda sweaty and ill.

I love the movie photograph on this box, but it probably wasn't wise for Disney to encourage a direct comparison between the "real" Belle and the doll:


Belle was pretty easy to de-box, although her full skirt was tacked down in several places with plastic ties...


...and the plastic ties securing her head were really hard to access:


Here's a look at the backdrop on its own:


Belle's dress was stuffed with tissue paper...

Oh, dear.  Look at those legs!
...and the tissue paper was plastic tied to the skirt in several places.  Was that really necessary?


This doll has Disney's hinged knee articulation...which means she's horribly bow-legged and cannot stand up on her own.  I tried rubber-banding her legs together to see if I could fix the warped knees:

Disney Store legs as they came (left) and rubber-banded together (right).

Look at how the hip joints gape apart in the picture, above, also.  It's not a good leg design.

I've said this so many times before, but why can't Disney figure out knee articulation?  They're not even trying.  It's either these comically bad hinged knees or the tragically fragile internally jointed knees.  This failure to evolve is especially glaring in light of Mattel's recent innovations with Barbie's body design.

The good news is that Belle's shoes are very pretty and intricate:


These plastic shoes have molded leaf detail that's been carefully painted in contrasting metallic shades:


I used a doll stand (nicely concealed by that large skirt!) to get Belle to stand up for some pictures:

review

The dress has a wonderful shape (from all angles), although it does not try to accurately replicate the movie dress.


There's even an elaborate bustle in the back--with hanging chiffon and tulle streamers:


This Belle is also wearing a rosebush necklace, although it was hard to see this accessory at first because the pendant was plastic-tied to the inside of the dress' neckline:



This pendant is more accurately scaled than the Hasbro pendant.  It's also painted nicely with some dark shading.  The necklace itself is made out of soft yellow string:


It's hard to make the pendant lay flat, but I still like this necklace better than the Hasbro version.


The only potential downside to the Disney necklace is that it cannot be easily removed and put back on.

Belle's hair is styled in the same basic way as the Hasbro Belle's hair, but there are a few little differences.  First of all, the hair is stiff with an abundance of styling product.


The styling gunge might make this hair look tidier than the Hasbro doll's hair, but it feels bad and is plastered into two thick curls in the back:


The sections of hair at the sides of Belle's head are pulled back into a bun, but they're pulled back in such a way that the whole front part of the hair sticks up and makes the head look even bigger than it already is.

Not the hairstyle I would choose for this head!
This doll also has two tendrils of hair hanging down near her ears--a detail that the Hasbro doll did not have.

Another thing you might notice in the pictures, above, is that Belle's hair looks glued into her head:



This is because the head is constructed in two pieces--just like the action figure heads I was looking at in my Phicen series.  Belle's hair is rooted into the back part of her head, which is glued onto the front part of her head, creating a seam along the hairline.  I suspect Disney designed the head this way so that they could make the back of the head more pliable than the front of the head. Both halves of the head are made out of vinyl, but the face is much thicker and does not compress.

I was able to brush Belle's hair out pretty easily, although it was difficult to remove all of the little flakes of styling product...


...despite how many of them landed on my lap:


This doll's bun is made out of a braid--not a twist:


The bun is decorated with a metallic gold vinyl circlet:


I'll take Belle's hair down at the end of the review.  I can say already that this hair does not feel anywhere near as nice as the Hasbro Belle's hair.

I tied the hair back into a ponytail so that I could look at Belle's face.  The weight of the single ponytail exacerbated an already loose neck connection...to the point where Belle's head was constantly tipping backwards like this:  


I was able to get the head to stay in an upright position for pictures, though: 


Belle has a realistic face that was clearly sculpted exclusively for use on this doll.  It's not like any other Disney Store face:


Belle has side-glancing brown eyes, thick eyebrows, and a multitude of freckles.  Her eyes seem a little askew from some angles, but she can be positioned to look at the camera:


The face mold has some subtle asymmetry and a realistic pattern of freckles--although the freckles are quite large.


I feel like Belle's hairline should start where her forehead freckles end.  Or maybe it's just the hairdo that's making the head look so tall?  Something's not right.

Anyway, the face has some small lines and blemishes on it (the lines over the bridge of Belle's nose and next to her left eye are the most obvious) which I'm not sure are sculpting marks or molding defects.  They're hard to see in person--but certainly visible:


The eyebrows have some thick hair lines drawn against a solid brown background.  The eyelash detail is limited to three thick paint strokes at the edge of each eye:


The paint edges are not perfectly crisp--the edges of the pupil, in particular, are a bit hazy.

Belle has some painted jewelry, too.  The first example is a painted ear ornament on her left ear:


The second is a painted pinky ring on her right hand:



Both of these pieces of jewelry are accurate to the movie.

The dress might not be accurate to the movie, but I think it's beautiful...or at least the lower half is:


The skirt is composed of four chiffon-like layers, the top three of which are gorgeously pleated down the front:


The top layer is a rich, bright yellow color that's coated with (non-shedding) gold glitter.  The hemline is also accented with raised glittery patterns that are very similar to what we saw on the Hasbro dress:



The second and third layers of the skirt are both plain dandelion-colored chiffon:



The third layer is yellow chiffon, too, but it's not split and pleated down the middle.  It's just a plain, straight skirt:


Underneath all of that, there's a pale yellow satin layer:

With lots of holes from excessive plastic tie use.
And underneath that, there's a stiff tulle petticoat:


And underneath the tulle...my efforts to straighten Belle's legs have completely failed:


I like the elaborate bustle at the back of this dress, but (again) I don't remember anything like this from the movie:


The bodice of the dress is separate from the skirt.  It has a velcro seam in the back:


I was surprised to see that the streamers from the back of the dress are actually part of the bodice--not a part of the skirt's bustle:


The bodice is fully lined and very nicely stitched:


The cap sleeves have multiple layers with contrasting textures:


The front of the bodice is also composed of several layers of delicate tulle and scallop-edged, glitter-lined muslin:


Here's a closer look at the layers:


I think all of this detail ends up ruining the overall appearance of the bodice.  It's so thick and bulky, it ends up looking more like armor than an ethereal ballgown.  Here's a reminder of how the bodice looks on Belle:

Uncomfortable.
It's not form-fitting at all, and it really detracts from the voluminous beauty of the skirt.  Sometimes less is more, Disney.

Under the bodice, the skirt has a pretty yellow satin waistband:



It closes in back with a small square of velcro:


The skirt and petticoat are separate pieces but...of course...they came attached to each other with tiny plastic ties.


Do people just sit around at the Disney company trying to figure out where else they can stick a plastic tie?  It seems that way to me sometimes.

What can I say about Belle's body?




My doll is really stiff in the hips, too, and can barely sit.

Despite how much I dislike the lower body on this doll, she can kneel really well, so that's something.  In fact, this is one of very few positions where she can balance on her own!


In contrast to the deformities of the lower body, Belle's arms look nice and pose quite well--much better than the Hasbro doll's arms, that's for sure.  

Here are a few pictures of Belle:





Yellow does not photograph very well in my studio to begin with, and my two Belle dolls apparently don't photograph next to each other very well, either:

Hasbro Enchanting Ball Gown Belle (left), Disney Store Film Collection Belle (right).
The Hasbro doll ends up looking flushed and the Disney Store doll looks jaundiced and sickly.  Still, let's look at them together for a sec and draw a few quick comparisons.

Despite its color and sweaty sheen, I like the Disney Store doll's face quite a bit.  It's unique and full of character, and I even think it resembles Emma Watson.  It's just massively too big for the body it's on.  I like the Hasbro doll's hair texture and hair color much more than the Disney Store doll, though.

Hasbro Enchanting Ball Gown Belle (left), Disney Store Film Collection Belle (right).
As for the dresses, there are many things about the Hasbro dress that I prefer.  It has a soft color, a nice bodice, and is reasonably loyal to the movie.  But the Disney Store dress has a gorgeous skirt.  It's amazing and full with wonderful drape and body.  The color is also more bold--and more what I picture for Belle's character.  The Disney Store bodice is not good, though.  It's overly bulky and stiff--the exact opposite of the floating effortlessness of the movie dress.  I wish I could put the Hasbro bodice over the Disney skirt.


Before I purchased either of these Beauty and the Beast dolls, I knew I'd be unsatisfied with them for one reason or another.  I could see from promotional pictures that the Hasbro doll didn't resemble Emma Watson and that the Disney Store doll's head is too big.  

So, I had a lot of plans for finding a head/body/dress combination that would make me happy.  Central to this idea was the suntan Phicen body that I reviewed last--the S17B.  I envisioned pairing this body with the Disney Store head or with the Emma Watson head I reviewed at the beginning of my Phicen series.  I just kind-of assumed that the Disney Store dress would fit onto the Phicen body.  

Apparently that was a poor assumption:

Disney Store dress on Phicen S17B body.
The dress is way too small--even for the slim 6th generation Phicen bodies.

Furthermore, when I was dressing the body, look at what happened:


After all of my talk about how sturdy the new elbows are, this elbow has a disastrous crack.  I can no longer pose this arm or use this body.  The skin splits open more and more each time I bend the arm.  It makes me want to cry.  I'll have to go back and amend my enthusiastic review of the S17B.


Without the Phicen body, my only option was to see if any of my favorite play doll bodies could be used with the Disney Store head.  I was looking not only for a good skin tone match, but also for a good size match, a good physical fit...and of course a body that could wear the Disney Store or Hasbro dress.  That's a tall order.

Warning: for anyone who did not enjoy the head-swapping extravaganza of my Phicen series, this next part of the review might not be your cup of tea (sorry, Mom...).

My first thought was to try the Barbie Made to Move body.  This, in my opinion, is the best play doll body available.  The palest skin tone looked like the best match for Belle:

Disney Store Belle and Made to Move Barbie.
Barbie's skin tone has a bit more red in it than the Disney Store body, but the shades are close enough for me.  

Notice the difference in head size, though (especially head height):

Disney Store Belle and Made to Move Barbie.
The Made to Movie body has great balance, too.  It can support both itself and the bow-legged Belle!

Made to Move Barbie, Disney Store Belle.
With the Barbie doll's clothes removed, the skin tone match didn't look as good as it did at first, but it's still the best match of all the Made to Move bodies I own.

Made to Move Barbie, Disney Store Belle.
Let's see if any of the ball gowns will work on this body!

The Disney skirt is a little tight on the Made to Move waist:


But the bodice fits nicely and the whole look is convincing:

Made to Move Barbie in the Disney Store Belle's gown.
The Hasbro gown does not fit onto the Made to Move body, though--it's way too tight:


I also wanted to try Belle's head on a Liv body--another well-articulated play doll option:

Disney Store Belle with a Liv doll.
As a bonus, Hayden's head makes Belle's noggin seem tiny!  The skin tone compatibility here is about the same as it was for the Made to Move body.

The Disney Store skirt fits around the Liv waist, but it rides up pretty high...


...which makes the bodice hard to close:


The Disney Store gown could work in a pinch, though.

The Hasbro gown does not fit the Liv body very well at all.  It doesn't close in back...


...and it rides up too high on the waist:


I looked all around my studio and could not find any other possible body matches.  I thought about trying a Disney Descendants body, but the proportions looked way off to me.  So, it came down to the Made to Move body, the Liv body, or back to the original Disney Store body.

I figured I would have to heat Belle's head before I swapped it onto another body, so I decided to take Belle's hair down and let a good old fashioned boil wash serve dual purpose: wash out the styling gunge and soften the head for a transplant.

Here's the vinyl circlet from Belle's hair:


This piece is slightly nicer than the Hasbro equivalent.  It's a complete circle, for one, but it's also a more realistic gold color.

Belle's bun is made out of a relatively thick braid:


The braid was twisted around itself and secured with clear rubber bands.  Here's the braid unfastened...and un-twisting:


There's another clear rubber band at the top of the braid, and this band is plastic tied against Belle's head:


Here's how the hair looked when I first let it down:


There are three spidery sections of hair that are extra long:


I tried to brush the hair, but it didn't help very much:


This doll was definitely in need of a boil wash and a trim.

I often get questions in the comments section about boil washing.  I've described this process a few times, but I think those explanations get lost in the shuffle.  A boil wash is just dipping a doll's hair into a cup of boiling water.  This rinses out styling products and also helps straighten hair that's frizzy or kinky...like Belle's hair:


Despite its unruly appearance, this hair is densely-rooted with no bald patches:


I dipped Belle's hair into boiling water several times (combing it between dips) and then trimmed the ends of the hair to get an even length throughout.  The boil wash was not completely successful at removing all of the frizz from Belle's hair, so I used clips to keep it as straight as possible while it was drying.

Ever since I saw the online pictures of this doll, I've been dying to take her hair down.  I don't find the factory hairstyle at all flattering--especially those top sections of hair in the front that were adding unecessary height and thickness to Belle's forehead.

With some straight hair framing her face, I think Belle looks more natural...and much more like Emma Watson:

Disney Store Belle's head.
In fact, I think she has a better face than the 1:6 Emma Watson action figure head that I bought for my Phicen body:

Modular Art Emma Watson head (left) and Disney Store Belle head (right).
While the head was still soft from boiling, I tried it on the two bodies I had waiting.  First let's look at the Liv body:


This body has a short, simple neck peg that makes head swapping very easy.

Here's Belle with the Liv body:

Disney Store Belle's head on Liv body.
The head is really loose and wobbly on this body.  It's constantly flopping backwards under the weight of the hair:


Otherwise, the match is ok.  Belle's head is still too big, sure, but something about the Liv proportions make this less obvious.

Disney Store Belle's head on Liv body.
Unfortunately, the neckline of the Disney Store gown gapes open more than I thought it would on this body, so this is not a good option for my specific needs:

Disney Store Belle with Liv body.
The Made to Movie body is a bit harder to work with.  It has an intimidating black neck peg with spikes on each side:


The Belle head flops around a lot on this body, too.  It is not a good physical fit.

Furthermore, neither the size nor the color match is great:

Disney Store Belle's head on a Made to Move body.
In this next picture, Belle had to hold her head up with one hand--it kept flopping backwards:

Disney Store Belle's head on a Made to Move body.
So, there's no perfect solution here.  I think probably I'll just put Belle's head back on its original body and maybe try to fix the crooked legs with some hot water or a hairdryer.

Because the Made to Move body is so awesome, though, I figured I'd take a few pictures of Belle like this just for fun.  At least the Disney Store gown fits the body well:

Disney Store Belle with Made to Move body.
The Disney Store shoes also fit onto the Made to Move feet, although they're loose and fall off easily:



Belle's hair just keep on getting frizzier and frizzier as it dried.  She's definitely channeling Hermione here!

10 points for Gryffindor!
I think she looks more like Belle when her hair is smoothed out a little:


I finger-combed and smoothed the hair for a while and it got a little better:


The hair is much, much better after the boil wash.  It's soft with a little bit of shine (and no dandruff!), and it has only a slight coarseness at the very ends.  The Hasbro doll's hair is still nicer, though.



I tried to recreate a simpler version of the movie's pulled-back hairstyle, but it's really hard to pull this thick hair away from Belle's face without adding bulk to her facial silhouette:


For reference, here are some full-body shots of Belle before her body swap and haircut (left), and after (right):

Disney Store Belle with original hair (left) and with washed hair and Made to Move body (right).

Disney Store Belle with washed hair and Made to Move body.
And here's the same comparison but with a close-up on the upper body:
  
Disney Store Belle with original hair (left) and with washed hair and Made to Move body (right).

Disney Store Belle with washed hair and Made to Move body.
I played around a bit with Belle, just to see if I liked her new hair and body:




As I was taking these pictures, I decided (in typical Emily fashion) that Belle's hair was too long.  So I attacked it with my trusty (dangerous!) razor comb.  

I'm not sure this is an improvement:



Throughout this whole review, I've been wracking my brain for some way (any way!) to make Belle's head work, and I had one last thought at this point.  Because the head is made in two halves, what if the hair piece is set too high on Belle's forehead?  Could that be a contributing factor in her large-headed appearance?  I did a little investigating.

Here's a look at the head seam in profile:


And a comparison with Emma Watson's actual profile:


It's hard to tell because Ms. Watson has an up-do that adds height to the top of her head, but I do think that the doll's hair is adding unnecessary height--or perhaps the hairline should start lower down on the forehead?

Let's see if we can tell more from the front view:


This angle isn't much better for me, but I'm pretty sure the forehead is too high.

I took the head apart to see if there was anything I could do.  Here's the face half:

The face from Disney Store's Belle doll.
And from the back:

The back side of the face from Disney Store's Belle doll.
And here's the hair:

The hair from Disney Store's Belle head.
The construction really is just like that of an action figure head.

One of the problems with this head becomes quite obvious when looking at the back side of the rooted hair.  There's a section at the front with a huge clump of hair--much thicker than anywhere else on the scalp:


Anyway, I trimmed some of the vinyl from the top of Belle's forehead and then trimmed the vinyl tabs around the edges of the hair piece--all of this to try and get the hair to sit lower on the head.  

I don't think it made much of a difference:


Try as I might, there's just not much I can do with this head.  Some combination of forehead trimming and wig use might work, but I'm done playing with this doll.

Of all the modifications I tried, the one thing I would recommend to other collectors is to restyle and wash the hair.  I think this made a big difference in both the appearance and the play value of the doll.

To end the review on a happier note, here's a quick look at some of the Emma Watson dolls I've accumulated so far (I left the Hasbro doll out because I don't feel like she's meant to resemble Ms. Watson).  Note: these last few pictures were taken before I mutilated Belle's head.

From left: Disney Store Belle, Star Ace Hermione, Mattel Hermione.
I appreciate the cartoon-like personality of the little Mattel Hermione doll, but certainly Disney's Belle looks a lot more like Ms. Watson:

Disney Store Belle holding Mattel's Hogwarts Heroes Hermione.

And while Star Ace's incredible young Hermione easily offers the best likeness to the actor...

Star Ace Hermione and Disney Store Belle.
...Disney didn't do a bad job with their version of the face.  I can definitely see a resemblance between these two!

Star Ace Hermione and Disney Store Belle.
Bottom Line?  As with many of my comparison reviews, I'll split this summary into a few categories.

Dress: the yellow ball gown is an iconic feature of Disney's Belle character.  There's a lot of pressure for the dress to be really good...and I think Hasbro got it right.  Their Belle wears a lovely, lightweight play doll dress that's easy to use and loyal to the movie.  The chiffon-like fabric is well-chosen and the golden decorations are carefully done.  Hasbro's only mistake was not making this dress available with the highly-desirable Grand Romance Belle and Beast set.  It's uncool to make kids buy an extra $30 Belle just for her dress.  The Disney Store's Belle has a gown with an amazing skirt.  It's gorgeous and extravagant...and brilliantly yellow.  If Disney had made a bodice to match the beauty of the skirt, they'd be the easy winners in this category--even though the gown's design veers away from what's shown in the movie.

Accessories: each doll has a vinyl hair ornament, a rosebush necklace and removable shoes.  The Disney Store accessories look better in all cases, but the shoes are the most noticeable difference. The Disney Store shoes have delicate molded and painted detail while the Hasbro shoes are plain soft vinyl pumps with molded bows.  Another noteworthy difference in the accessories is that the Disney Store necklace is tied around Belle's neck and so it cannot be taken off (or put back on) easily.  This might actually be a plus for really young kids (it won't get lost or swallowed). Overall, I prefer the Disney Store doll's accessories.

Hair: both dolls have long brown hair that's densely rooted and tied back into an elaborate partial-bun style.  The Hasbro Belle's hair fiber is really silky and smooth and does not seem prone to tangles.  It also comes relatively free of hair styling product, and so it's easy to brush and doesn't make a huge mess.  In contrast, the Disney Store's Belle has heavily-styled, frizz-prone hair that's begging for a wash and a trim.  In addition, the Disney Store's Belle comes with a factory hairstyle and a head assembly technique that accentuate the doll's biggest flaw: her dramatically oversized head.  The Hasbro Belle's hair is my clear favorite.

Face: this evaluation depends a bit on what you're looking for.  I was looking for a good likeness to Emma Watson, so I prefer the realism and uniqueness of the Disney Store face--despite the ill-fitting, off-color head.  For those who are seeking a sweet doll who only hints at the live action Beauty and the Beast heroine, the Hasbro face is probably a better choice.  The facial screening, scale and construction of that head are very good.

Body: ugh.  Neither body is great.  The Disney Store body has all of the same problems it had last time I reviewed it (warped, unsightly lower legs, bad hips) while the Hasbro body has stiff, limited upper body articulation and practically no lower body articulation.  Furthermore, the torso and legs of the Hasbro doll are made out of hollow hard plastic and feel low-quality for a $30 doll.  Because of the Disney Store's good upper-body articulation, I have to give them the win here.  I really wish the expensive Film Collection dolls had different bodies, though. 

Overall: the Hasbro Belle is fine.  She has great hair, a beautiful dress, a pleasant (though generic) face, and an adequate body.  I doubt there will be many kids who are disappointed with her.  Some parents might be happier with a lower price tag, but she's a fun movie souvenir and a reasonably versatile doll in her own right.  The Disney Store's Belle, on the other hand, gives me fits.  Somebody worked hard to create an original face mold that resembles the lovely Emma Watson.  It's not a bad face mold.  In fact, I think it has the potential to be really good.  But that face mold was poorly scaled, attached to strange hair, and then stuck onto the same old flawed Disney body...transforming the head into an almost grotesque caricature.  And then the dress.  The dress has a beautiful skirt, with luxurious chiffon layers and elegant pleats.  It's also an eye-catchingly bold color, bringing to mind Beauty and the Beast's animated roots.  But the bodice is so overdone and bulky that it ruins the overall effect for me.  The effortless charm and effervescence of the movie's gown is completely lost...swallowed up by that monster of a bodice.

With shipping and tax (I don't have a Disney Store near me), I paid close to $45 for the Disney Store's Belle.  She's not worth it.  But I have to be honest: she's still the more fascinating of the two Belle dolls that I reviewed today.  Her face could have looked stunningly real if it had been well manufactured and placed onto the right body.  The dress is a few edits away from being spectacular.  Hasbro wasn't even trying for those things.  But with that said, if you're Disney--the company entrusted with creating a special doll from a heroine as beloved as Belle, and from a rendering of that character as heartfelt and endearing as Ms. Watson's performance in Beauty and the Beast--you simply cannot get it this wrong.

38 comments:

  1. Personally, I don't think the lowered forehead you tried looks that bad!

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  2. I can see why the Beast changing into the Prince makes you sad. It's kind of like the character you spent the whole movie becoming fond of is gone forever,replaced by a guy you don't even know.

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    1. Me too! My thoughts on this were that the Prince being the Beast is what made him more human and she fell in love with the Beast.

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  3. This was a fun review! I actually have had both dolls, right now my 'Perfect Belle' is a combination of the two. I got the Hasbro one at Walmart (she was only 20$, I thought that was the regular price?). I MUCH prefer her face to the DS one, I like the simplicity and I think it has a good enough likeness to Emma without being too much, like the Mattel celebrity dolls. I prefer a more simple approach to the sculpts with dolls like this. And her hair is FAR superior to DSs, especially after I washed and styled it myself.

    But her body was so bad, and the dress was nice at the bottom but cheap looking in the bodice. So, I got the DS one, put Hasbro Belle on a MTM body (which hilariously actually reminds me of Emma's build so it's perfect), and put the DS Belle's dress and accessories on her. I feel like she's perfect like this. Looks like Belle, without looking TOO much like her.

    Great review!

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  4. Great and very thorough review as always! I got the Belle/Gaston Disney Store set and the Hasbro basic Belle with her street clothes and no articulation. I did this because I have other Hasbro Disney dolls and I knew there would be no knee articulation so I planned a body swap anyway. I was not as interested in the ball gowns as I usually don't dress my dolls in their character costumes. The Disney store Belle I got was also in her street clothes. Her hair was braided. I took it down and gave her a boil perm and conditioned it with Pantene Damage Repair conditioner (cuz that is what I use!). Her hair ended up soft and silky with no frizz. I did rebody her to a Lea MTM body, but, because of the wobble, I wrapped a little bit of the rubber bands they use in packaging around the base of the knob and cut off some of the post height and put a bit of duck tape around the knob and that solved the wobble for me. I would never be brave enough to seperate the 2 parts of the head, so bravo for you!

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  5. To me all the live action Belle dolls look like someone's just said something snide and nasty and they're trying to smile politely and ignore it.
    I think the hairstyle the Disney doll comes with is a big part of why her head looks weird. Even after you'd just taken her hair down so it was across her forhead instead of standing up on top of her head she looked a million times more appealing.

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  6. I didn't see any of the Beauty and the Beast movies but I'd be sad when he turned into a prince too. Why spend the whole movie teaching kids how looks don't matter and not to judge a book by its cover etc. then poof, make him look socially acceptable and have all that hard work go down the toilet? That negates the whole moral of the story.
    As for the dolls, I think the best look is the head with the trimmed forehead, an articulated Fashionista body if you can find a colour match (they seem bigger in the shoulders), the Hasbro bodice neatly trimmed off the skirt and the Disney skirt. But wow, that's a lot of money and Frankensteining to get a decent Belle doll!

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    1. The original story was meant to prepare young women for arranged marriages. Beast had a heart of gold in the original story (what was seen as a heart of gold for those days, at any rate), and BELLE had to learn to look past outward appearances and bad first impressions.

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    2. I see it as more of a metaphor than anything. He dose not really turn into a handsome prince...he just starts looking like one to her because she spent the time getting to know him as a person or something.

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  7. I loved this review! The Disney store dolls are really tempting for me every time I see them, but now I'm glad I haven't spent my money. Could you maybe review Gaston if you have the time? I'd love to see how he fares up!

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  8. beast becoming adam is a common pain for young girls growing up lol. Beast was kinda.. wierdly hot for a buffalo man, and that voice oooh my... but then he turns into this kinda.. generic blonde dude with lipstick and loses all that hotness. There's an interesting talk about the uh.. energy of beast vs adam and the effect on even prepubescent girls lol. I remember when I saw the original animated film as a kid the small child in the back couldn't understand that Adam WAS beast and was crying "she married the wrong maaaan!" and was hysterical. I'm with ya kiddo, he was way more appealing as the beast.

    But yeah, being disappointed he becomes Adam is a really common thing for young girls to experience, which is interesting.

    As for the dolls, I feel sorry for Emma because the disney store doll is not a flattering likeness. Her promo shots made her look really mannish and that's not a nice thing for a lovely girl. The forehead is waaaay too big and the sweaty jaundiced look isn't pleasant. You gotta wonder how they got through to that point and thought "yep, this looks fine" when it's so shiny and sickly.
    It is though, under the bad hair line and jaundice a fairly good likeness (did they 3d scan her head? I feel like that's what they did hence why it's not that flattering as 3d scans often end up not quite looking right. Something to do with contouring and how our eyes see vs actual features). With a decent repaint (and a sand to reduce that shine because yeesh) she'll probably look really nice. Though I think that hairline needs to be lowered just like you said.

    And what IS that line across her face? it's like, a straight line from top of ear across eyes, across nose. Looks like she had glasses or an elastic band across her face and it indented the vinyl. Weird.
    For the price being paid, there's just way too many cheap decisions (painted earrings? seriously? it looks like her ear has gangrene)
    I've noticed that lately though, the latest Disney movie merch the price hikes a good 25% and there's no quality improvement, a $10 cheap budget doll will cost you $15 or more and still be a $10 budget doll and I just find that nasty. It's taking advantage of popularity and while I understand supply and demand, when it comes to stuff aimed at kids I just find it mean spirited. You're taking advantage of children and cheating them and that's just gross.

    I do look forward to seeing beast comparisons.

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  9. Huh. The Disney Store is a strange...beast. Sorry.
    It's odd, because sometimes they have the best available dolls (Alice through the Looking Glass' White Queen from them stands out, especially compared to Jakks' offering), but sometimes they're vastly inferior in terms of faces, and the bizarre head proportions of these live-action-remake princesses.
    And don't get me started on the bodies. The male bodies are too cartoonish to be used for the live-action characters, and the horrible leg systems for both bodies and the very reduced articulation for the guys...I'm waiting on my Hatter doll for his superior likeness to the one I have, but I'm not looking forward to the body.

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    1. And now that I have the Hatter, I'm right to be unhappy about the body. The live-action guys have tiny heads atop their hulking cartoon frames, and the head isn't only limited, but wobbly! I plan to swap him onto the Jakks Hatter body, which may be technically inferior, but isn't as frustrating. Why, Disney Store, must you be such a mixed bag?

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  10. Yay you finally, been waiting for your review of these dolls! I have the Hasbro Belle that came by herself in the yellow dress and truthfully I was kind of disappointed in how she was out of the box. I mean she is pretty don't get me wrong, but her arm articulation and dress kind of disappointed me. I like the Hasbro dress but the Disney Store version is gorgeous! I actually find myself falling love more and more with the DS version of Emma-Belle the more I look and see pics of her. I've seen a lot of people put live action Belle on the pale mtm barbie and it looks OK to me!

    Emily, if you read this and Disney store live action Belle isn't fitting for you..and you think you might wanna rehome her, You know where to send her *waves at you*

    Looking forward to reading more of your Beauty and the Beast doll reviews.

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  11. Emma utterly destroyed this movie. Aside from her lack of singing ability, the changes she wanted made to the character of Belle age the town many justifiable reasons to hate her. She's inconsiderate and rude in this movie. In fact, GASTON starts out as the nice guy! But Belle is a bitch to him. He merely offered her "Flowers for your dinner table," and she sneered at him. She stomped all over where some girls were doing laundry, decided to take over the town's shared water well to do her laundry IN it...and she didn't get any better. I'm so mad about what happened in this movie, and I will never again be a fan of Emma Watson.

    Emma Watson also insulted women of the era by claiming that corsets, which helped protect the backs of working women and protected the hips of wealthy women from the weight of gowns, oppressed them. She needs to stop running her mouth about something she knows nothing about. If she'd crack a history book once in a while, she'd know that a lack of rights oppressed women, not their equivalent of a bra that protected them. And she's also a raging hypocrite.

    I'm going to leave this here. My top post has links to the costume studies I did (one went semi-viral), as well as the most close-up pictures you'll find online, including some that verify that the design is GLUED-ON GLITTER AND PAINT: http://ariacouture.com/blog

    "In the movie it's mentioned that Belle's father always brings her a rose from his journeys, so let's assume that's what she's holding--not the Beast's magical rose."

    Maurice stopped to steal a white rose. So no, that's not the rose from her father.

    The tree necklace is supposed to be both reminiscent of her bedroom (which fails since her room doesn't have that motif) as well as be modern enough to sell at trendy stores. I'm not even kidding. This yellow dress and the dress at the end are both intended to be modern because Emma thinks that shows Belle as a "woman ahead of her time," which is so wrong. It's jarring to see all these costumes that are amazingly correct for the era (I'm an expert on it, this is my job), and then her in a modern dress without a corset or anything, wearing very modern jewelry too.

    I can't make myself buy any of these dolls. I really want the DS Gaston, but refuse to buy an extra doll with it.

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    1. Emma Watson did the opposite of destroy the movie, she knew that Belle was independent, and portrayed her as so. Gaston was an arrogant creep as always, and he told Belle that she shouldn't be worrying about teaching children to read and should be more worried about her own children, (keep in mind Belle is seventeen) then carrying the conversation into a marriage proposal and clinging onto her skirt with his hands. That is not a nice guy, in my opinion. So no, although Gaston was still an arrogant creep. As for corsets, while they did provide support for women, the main reason for them was to make women more slim and accentuate the bust. They were also extremely uncomfortable and many women would faint from how little they could breath wearing them. This is what a woman would wear on a daily basis, so yes, I would say that is pretty oppressive. Emma Watson did not want Belle to wear a corset under her clothes as she knew that Belle would not want anything prohibiting her dancing. All of Belle's costumes were based off the animation, not the 1740's, so that is why the yellow gown (and her other costumes) are not historically accurate. As for the detailing of the dress, it was actually printed gold leaf, with yellow Swarovski crystals sewn into the skirt, not glued on glitter and paint, so even though the pictures you provided on your website may seem like glued on glitter, the photos themselves are of bad quality. You can never trust any photo claimed as leaked, as those images can be tampered with, obviously. You also seem to be making many assumptions on your site, although you have more knowledge and experience about fabric than I do, so I credit you for that. I also strongly disagree with you about saying that seeing historically correct costumes and then seeing Emma with a natural waistline and a dress that hasn't been squeezing her rib cage and organs as jarring. That is just wrong. As Belle is an independent and feminist character, not wearing a corset is exactly what she would do, just as she reads books, unlike every one else, she wouldn't wear a corset.

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    2. During the centuries of corset's heydey men also wore them so refusing to wear one wasn't a feminist statement until the late 19th/early 20th century.
      A corset's main use was to get bodies to conform to the desired look of the era and they were always adjustable. Saying that corsets were horrible because some women were silly enough to lace them so tightly they couldn't breathe while wearing them is like saying all heels should be banned because some fashion victims wear 6 inch stilettos and twist their ankles.
      Unless the pictures of the dress on Aria's site are of a completely different dress, those glittery bits are glued on glitter and not sewn on crystals. One option can't be mistaken for the other even at a distance. It would actually be the most reasonable option if Watson refused to wear a corset: glitter and glue are almost weightless whereas thousands of sewn on crystals could add 15-20 pounds to an already voluminous and heavy dress. Things like corsets and hoops help distribute the weight, without them it would be an uncomfortable and droopy mess.

      The thing is that Belle wouldn't have had the glitter option so refusing to wear a corset would just needlessly complicate her life and lead to back problems unless she also gave up most of the fashions of her era including huge ballgowns. An awful lot of trouble to go through when wearing her corset less tightly laced-as active women did- was an option.

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    3. I am sorry that I did not phrase that properly, I should have gotten to the point in my previous comment. As I said before, photos can be tampered with, regarding the glitter issue, and it was gold leaf for the decoration on the layers, with Swarovski crystals sewn throughout the skirt, not on the gold leaf. Emma Watson wasn't jabbering on about how oppressive corsets were, she simply said Belle wouldn't wear one as she wouldn't want anything prohibiting her dancing, and that there was no need for it except to make her slimmer and show off her assets. Emma simply thought that wasn't a good message to be sending to girls, and there was no need for her to wear a corset for support as the yellow dress didn't have a hoop skirt, much less panniers. As Belle didn't care about what other people thought, why would she care about the latest fashion? she wouldn't. Anyway, I just wanted to stick up for all the hate Emma Watson was getting, not create an argument.

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    4. I like Emma Watson very much, I was just pointing out what Belle's real options would have been and that I agree with Aria that the movie's dress-which determines the dolls' dresses- isn't what it should have been.
      I must say though that once you tell everyone that it's OK to end up with a guy who kidnapped your dad and held you hostage because you grew to love and understand him, the feminist ship has sailed.
      She might as well have embraced the suspension of reality of the fairytale entirely and worn period appropriate clothes and underwear.

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    5. Emma should have worn a corset. Anonymous, if you bothered following the links, the designer says it's glitter. The movie shows it's glitter too. And pictures in magazines back up how flat the decoration on the dress is. And YouTube videos posted by people who saw the dress in person. And you're very wrong about the point of corsets being to slim the waist. Very wrong. That was a short time toward the end of the Victorian era, and was controversial. Corsets were what bras are today. Support garments, not oppressive things. Working women couldn't have done their work if they were laced too tight to breathe. Skipping a corset didn't make a feminist back then any more than not wearing a bra today makes someone a feminist. It shows a really sad misunderstanding of history to think it would have. Refusing to wear a corset also doesn't show independence.

      Nothing Belle did showed independence. She looked very stupid. Whether or not you or Emma like it, Belle's actions would have led to what Gaston was afraid of, that she'd be an old maid on the street, because women had no legal rights, even to owning property. Even privileged women almost always had to do their most successful work under the names of their husbands. The women that were considered independent for the era knew how to use societal and legal limitations to their best advantage. It was a matter of survival, and Emma's version of Belle was downright stupid! Feminism in France didn't begin until the French revolution. Until then, when Maurice would have died, Belle would have lost her home unless she was either married or taken in by a household that had a man in it. So Emma played her version of Belle as an idiot on a path to be homeless because that was the LAW at the time. Emma wants to rewrite history, and she's horribly wrong for that. A better way to show Belle being a feminist would have been to show her frustrated with the legal limitations on her, and her attempts at subverting that, which could have worked in her teaching girls to read with her stating she hopes that helping girls be able to get some sort of education from books, that things might change one day. Having her shun society and law isn't smart.

      Gaston offering her flowers and saying "Flowers for your dinner table?" wasn't him being a bad guy, and he was attracted to her "dignity" and even went with Maurice to help find Belle. He didn't plan a wedding to spring on her or anything. He wan't a bad guy until he became convinced Maurice was trying to get him killed. He was conceited in the "Gaston" song, but conceit alone doesn't make a bad guy. I was kind of disappointed he wasn't more of a bad guy from the start.

      Also a woman with a 24"-waist isn't in a position to be lecturing the rest of us about unrealistically small waists. The average woman's waist in America is 37.5," and it's 37.9" in England.

      I think you should try wearing a corset. Properly laced instead of squeezing you to death, a corset is nice back support. Even doctors acknowledge that. Medical back braces are based off of the old corsets. I go to balls where I wear gowns that are 15-20 pounds, and if I don't wear a corset, I get physically hurt. I can also waltz (LILY JAMED WALTZED IN CINDERELLA IN A TOO-TIGHTLY-LACED CORSET) just fine in a corset. I don't lace tightly. My uncorseted waist is 28", and mu corseted waist is 28", and yet I benefit physically from the protection of those bones, and I eat and drink and dance just fine.

      ALSO you say that this dress was based off of the animated movie? Other than being yellow, it has literally nothing at all in common with the animated movie, at all. Gaston's wardrobe was very clearly based on the animated movie, yet was historically accurate. I was impressed. Too bad Emma herself demanded something so different.

      Emma's getting so much hate because she's a hypocrite.

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    6. I think it's really interesting to learn about the history and practicality of corsets (something I know very little about). I appreciate those of you who are knowledgeable in this area and are willing to take the time to share your passion with us. It's also fun to debate and contemplate what the movie/actor's intentions might have been...but the tone is getting confrontational here--and that's no fun. Please keep comments respectful.

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    7. I like the commentary about Emma's Belle having been on a one way ticket to dieing an old maid. It has helped me figure out some of what was bugging me about the village scenes (besides how comically expensive every townsfolk's clothes were).

      I understand that under no circumstances is the new movie historically realistic except maybe in the clothes of everyone but Emma, and the villagers' attitudes/beliefs. And I think that's the original poster's point in saying Emma's performance tanked. She played it 100% modern day feminist in an otherwise period village. We relate to Emma's values but they add up to be disastrous in the old setting. It ended up feeling like watching Lost in Austen with out the understanding going in that I was watching a comedy.

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  12. Also I'm recreating this gown in silk and embroidery (at the LEAST, the gown in the movie should have been embroidered instead of literally glitter glue and paint).

    And an FYI: The Disney Store doll's gown is based on the original version of the gown, which had longer layers and only one decorated layer. Here's a comparison photo: https://www.facebook.com/AriaCouture/photos/rpp.207726889254059/1730113853682014/?type=3&theater The waterfall draping (not bustle) is accurate to both versions.

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  13. There is always a certain comic that comes to mind whenever I see Beast transform into his human form: http://johnsu.deviantart.com/art/Beauty-and-a-Beast-55635672

    I always find Disney dolls very tempting, but thanks to your warnings I don't have to feel that bitter disappointment of having a doll that is more expensive than it needs to be. It seems like they like to change things with out perfecting the technique first and collectors end up with bow legged and oddly proportioned dolls instead of something we may feel proud to own. I don't think even a child would like one with such weird legs...

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  14. what a coincidence! i'm going to see this movie tonight, and was actually wondering if there might be a post like this here!

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  15. My friends all know that I collect Disney Store dolls and am a fan of Emma Watson, so a couple of them had an absolute ball showing me the weird-faced Disney Store Belle. The comment I keep hearing over and over again is that the Belle doll looks more like Justin Bieber than Emma Watson--and I have to agree. I kept hoping that the promotional photos just depicted odd prototypes and the actual dolls would be much nicer, but I had to accept the truth when I saw them at my local Disney Store the other day. :(

    Oddly enough, though, I couldn't tell what the problem really was until I read your review. Like, I knew that she looked "wrong," but it wasn't until you specifically pointed out that her hairline was way too high and her head was out of scale with her body that I finally was able to say, "Yes, that's it! That's exactly it!" Also, I think that her gold ear cuff just looks like a huge glob of stray glue in your pictures. Of course, close-up photos DO tend to be a bit unkind ha ha...

    Your efforts to make her look better were awesome! After seeing the "fixed" version, I *did* actually think that I might want to get a Disney Store Belle after all...but at the end of the day, I can't justify spending $30+ on a doll that's going to need so much work.

    Thanks so much for the review! Next time I'm out shopping, I might just wind up taking home a Hasbro Belle. :)

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  16. Ohhh I was waiting for this review and I really love it ❤

    I also sent you an email a few minutes ago, about how to fix the arm ❤

    Have a lovely day

    Séverine

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  17. About the head wobbling, have you heard of MyFroggyStuff? She does a lot of body swaps with dolls onto the Made to Move Barbie dolls. Here's a link that that will help with the wobbling heads: https://youtu.be/lE8PbFOewg0

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  18. Thanks for this review Emily. I was surprised to see the Belle head with action figure construction. I hope it isn't a sign of things to come because it wasn't an attractive option until you fiddled with it. Also, I wonder how safe it is for kids to have the head separate into smaller pieces. I like both dresses but neither doll to be honest. Would the old Hermione heads work with any body, perhaps a petite Fashionista or Kuhrn doll body ? They were better likebesses.

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  19. Oh my goodness! I think the modified Disney store head looks fantastic! Worlds better than before! My one gripe with the head was that the forehead looked too tall and the jawline was too long. You cant really fix the jow, but she looks so much better with a smaller forehead! Eons better to me! I think I will try and buy one now to modify. I also think some modification would let it sit on the MTM body better (maybe winding a small clear hair elastic around the base of the head connector piece?). Also, I think that blushing of both the body and head would allow them to match better. Great reviw as always!

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  20. Hey, have you seen girls&co 18in vinyl cloth body dolls? Their a lot cheaper than American Girl dolls, and just as niceness of quality. They even have backstories that are actually original compared to most play dolls. I believe there are seven total of the dolls. You should definitely check them out, and possibly review them.

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  21. Emily, I really liked this review. And actualy when you washed And styled Disney Belles hair I really can see Ema Watson in her. I totally love her on MTM body. I saw on My Froggy stuff YouTube if they swap bodies and head Is too loose they use some smaller rubber bands like from Rainbow Loom, to put it around that neck anchor to make it more steady

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  22. I really like how you lowered her forhead, SO much better!

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  23. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney fairytale so I was very excited when the live action movie was announced. Before the first pictures of the dolls were released, I was sure I would get the Disney Store doll. Unfortunately it turned out that I do not like her face and I am very sad that she's not pretty enough for me to get her. I like the Hasbro doll more than the Disney Store one which is quite surprising for me as usually I am not a big fan of Hasbro dolls (except Descendants). I might pick up the Hasbro Belle in her yellow ball gown or the one in the blue dress when they go on sale as I don't think they are worthy of paying the full price (in Switzerland the yellow dress one is ~45 usd and the blue dress one is ~28 usd). Overall I think of the 2017 live action Belle dolls a bit as a missed opportunity.

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  24. That one always-anonymous commenterApril 13, 2017 at 5:53 AM

    I agree with the earlier commenter who said that your altered-forehead was an improvement. Now if only there were a way to make the head not-shiny!

    As for me, I would love to see a review of ALL the dolls you've bought. I really enjoy living vicariously through you all these toys that I would never buy on my own, but that you document so well that I often find myself wanting to run out to a toy store ASAP so that I, too, can open a new doll and examine it in detail. Since you've already got them, I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to see the whole lot of them! I really enjoyed all the different Cinderellas, and even more all the Frozen dolls (including the knock-off ones!) because I had no idea how much sheer variety there was in versions of one character. So seeing the same thing in this case would be super fascinating.

    Also I actually like the Disney bodice, and I think both dresses are really, really pretty. It's too bad that the Disney doll's body is so skeletally thin and frail, with that huge bobblehead. :/

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  25. A really informative review and I enjoyed reading it very much!
    Maybe this method could help with the leg issue? It's not mine, I just found it but I hope it can help:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/pseudanonymous/15405725815
    Your Belle seems to have particularly bad legs...

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  26. It's interesting seeing all of the different looks of watson's dolls, I know the disney one looks the most like her but I actually like the hasbro one best.

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  27. Although I'm not a charmed Prince - I'm dreaming of Belli!
    Harmony surprised me with beauty and grace - cool!

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.