I was much more excited about the Beast dolls from these two companies than I was about the Belle dolls--in part because of the underwhelming promotional pictures of the Disney Store's Belle, but also because the Beast is simply a more unique, intriguing figure.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reviewing the Beast--especially the Disney Store's version--but this fascinating character also somehow managed to make the unfortunate Disney Store Belle doll more appealing to me. The two dolls compliment each other quite well, and bring out something...well, something that I didn't see before:
|The Beast and Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95 each.|
|Disney Store Beast dolls from 2014 and 2015.|
The Beast that I bought in 2014 does not look much like the movie character. He's essentially just a regular Disney Store male doll who's wearing a goofy Beast mask:
His jacket has an attached tail and enormous stuffed Beast hands:
When the mask and jacket are removed, the doll becomes a regular prince:
Prince Adam looks ok, but since he makes such a small appearance in the movie, it's always seemed odd to me that the Disney Store made this the more appealing, usable form of the doll.
|He's got wonky eyes and a smoulder.|
The Disney Store remedied this design in 2015 with a new Beast that bears an excellent resemblance to the movie character:
He has a sheepish, side-glancing expression that's quite endearing:
I wish his cravat wasn't molded onto his beard, but otherwise I really like the head.
In this case, the Beast's bulk is enhanced by a stuffed jacket...but removing the jacket does not transform the Beast into a prince:
In fact, there's no way to transform this Beast into a prince. His head is permanently attached and his arms and legs have a special Beast mold.
The Beast and his 2015 Belle have complimentary side-glances--so they can gaze lovingly at one another:
|2015 Belle ($14.95) and Beast ($16.95) from the Disney Store.|
So that's a little bit of background on the Disney Store Beauty and the Beast dolls. Hasbro has made several Belle dolls in the past, but I am not aware of any pre-2017 Beast dolls.
Today I will look at the Disney Store's Film Collection Beast and compare him to the Beast from Hasbro's Grand Romance set. I'll start with the Hasbro set:
|Hasbro Grand Romance set, $49.99 (on sale for $39.99 now).|
This set looks very appealing on the shelf. The box is large and ornately decorated. The back of the box is mostly filled with a lovely romantic picture of Belle and Beast from the movie:
Here's a close-up of the text:
I appreciate that the featured photograph is not the overused shot of Belle and Beast dancing. I mean I like that picture, too, but I've seen it so many times at this point.
The dolls come mounted on a cardboard backdrop that's decorated to look like the Beast's ballroom. Even the folded sides of this backdrop are decorated, which creates some depth to the scene and a little section of floor for the dolls to stand on:
|Except that they're levitating about an inch off that floor.|
As I mentioned in my last review, the Belle doll that comes in this set is not exactly the same as the Enchanting Ball Gown doll. She has the same body, hair, face, and accessories, but her dress is different:
Here's a quick comparison:
Enchanting Ball Gown Belle (left) and Grand Romance Belle (right).
I prefer the Enchanting Ball Gown dress. The other dress looks and feels inexpensive in comparison. But we're not here to talk more about Belle...
...let's check out the Beast!
He comes packaged with his tail detached.
The overall appearance of this figure is good. As with their Belle doll, Hasbro is not trying to replicate the face of the actor here. The costume and head are recognizable enough to be clearly drawing from the movie, though:
Speaking of Dan Stevens (the actor who plays Beast): it occurred to me that what's missing in the whole lineup of Beauty and the Beast dolls is a singing Beast. Hasbro has a singing Belle doll, but there's no accompanying Beast. It's a shame because Mr. Stevens has one of the most goosebump-inducing male voices I've heard in a while. I mean, I know the pitch was lowered to fit the Beast's character...but, still. Wow.
Anyway, the Beast doll can be made to stand on his own with a bit of effort. He tends to tip over backwards.
During my efforts to get the Beast to stand up straight, I inspected his large flocked feet:
The pads of the feet have a surprising level of molded detail:
Even though the pads of the feet look rounded, the bottom surface of each pad is flat--allowing him to stand:
Note: in the picture, above, you might see a small seam just above the Beast's paw. I thought perhaps this was a rotational joint, but it's not. I think that a rotational joint in this area would have helped the Beast find his balance a little better.
The Beast certainly seems designed to stand up on his own, it's just tricky to get his top-heavy body positioned exactly right. I had the most success when he was leaning forward a little bit.
Beast's tail inserts into a hole just below the waistband of his pants:
The two smaller holes on either side of the tail hole are just housings for the screws that hold the plastic body together.
The tail snaps into the center hole easily, and then it can spin around or swing from side to side.
|Does anyone else see an elephant's head in this picture?|
The tail does not fall out easily. In fact, I tried to pull it out at one point and I couldn't.
The Beast's pants close with a small strip of velcro, but there's an opening for the tail just below the velcro:
The jacket has a slit in the back to accommodate the tail:
The Beast's outfit is very plain from the back (the golden decorations don't continue in this area) but at least the outfit works well with the tail.
The Beast has a vinyl face with an intense expression:
The upper part of his head is a separate, firm (hard plastic?) flocked piece that attaches around the hairline:
From what I can tell, the flocking on the beard is glued to the underlying vinyl mold. There are tiny specks of glue along the cut edges of the fuzz:
The small eyes are a piercing blue, and the eyebrows are thick and dark with individual hair lines drawn in:
The Beast's horns are made out of hard plastic and are attached to the upper part of the head. They are a darker brown than the rest of the head, but they do not have any painted details:
Here's a side view of the horns and the back of the hair:
The Beast is wearing a blue jacket over a matching vest and a lace cravat:
The sides of the jacket open a little...but they're connected to the edges of the underlying vest:
The whole top of the outfit is one connected piece.
This piece has nice details, though, like the lace cuffs that are sticking out around the ornamented sleeves of the jacket:
The jacket opens down the back with a long strip of velcro:
The jacket seems designed for ease of use (for younger kids, perhaps), but the bulky shape of Beast's arms (and the friction from the flocking) actually make it a little hard to get the jacket off.
The jacket is not lined, but the inside of the blue fabric has a shinier appearance than the outside:
The free edges of the jacket are not tacked or glued down, so these areas look a little sloppy:
The white triangle of shirt fabric at the top of the vest isn't sewn down, either, and this piece can flop around and leave gaping holes (even when Beast is wearing the jacket):
The metallic gold decorations on the front of the jacket are bright and clear and look great...although they don't look much like the designs on the movie costume:
Some of the finishing (like the slit at the back of the jacket) is very well done:
Under the jacket, Beast is wearing shiny blue breeches:
He also has an un-flocked torso, with molded hair in the center:
The breeches are harder to get off than the jacket. The Beast's flocked and bent lower legs are a tricky obstacle for the small leg openings and flimsy fabric.
The fabric is very prone to unraveling at the edges. Even though most of the edges are finished, I still suspect that the pants will start to look ratty after regular play.
The Beast has a hard plastic body that's partially-flocked. He has seven points of articulation (arms, wrists, hips and tail). I was disappointed to discover that his head does not move at all.
The shape of the body looks really good from most angles. I especially like the muscular, lion-like lower legs:
The back of the torso does not look so great, though. It's lined with deep screw holes and there's no molded hair whatsoever.
The rotational articulation in the wrists was a nice surprise:
As was the detail in the hands themselves:
The flocked arms also have a good shape, with large muscles and some molded areas of hair hanging down:
The body's movement is disappointing. Not only is the head stationary, but the arms only move straight up. To make matters worse, this hands-in-the-air pose invariably makes my bizarre-o brain think of Beyoncé. There's a whole sound track associated with this doll.
|All the single ladies!|
The lower legs can only move back and forth...
...which would be cool except for the fact that Beast can't stand up at all if his legs are moved away from one another.
I have to hold him up with one finger if I want him to strike cool poses like this:
He can sit in a chair (or on a box) reasonably well:
But cannot sit on the ground:
The Beast doesn't strike me as a $25 doll (half of the Grand Romance set's MSRP), or even a $20 doll (half of the sale price). He's a relatively inexpensive-feeling doll with a lot of articulation and clothing shortcuts. His limited movement is probably the most frustrating thing to me. He just can't do very much--he's like a prop for Belle. However, he has a decent face, nice flocked limbs, an articulated tail, and a fancy-looking costume. And, oddly, he reminds me of the hollow flocked model horses that I used to have when I was a kid...I loved those.
Overall, I was pretty happy with Hasbro's Beast when I first looked at him. He's a good souvenir from the movie and I was eager to get out my Belle doll and see how the pair could be posed together. But all of those thoughts evaporated when the Disney Store's version arrived at my doorstep and showed me what a Beast doll is supposed to look like:
|Disney Store Beast.|
Aside from being heavier, this doll's box is almost exactly like the Disney Store Belle's box. It's the same size and has the same backdrop:
Belle looked awkward and shiny in her box, though. Beast looks magnificent!
The only de-boxing complication was that Beast's jacket was tied to the plastic support with thread. I couldn't see this thread at all and it didn't pull free like the smaller plastic ties sometimes do:
This Beast does not stand up on his own very well, either, but he has better balance than the Hasbro doll:
He has a wonderful beast-like shape with a hulking upper body, a lion-like head, and dramatically curled horns.
The back side of the jacket is the only thing that doesn't look amazing:
This jacket does not have an opening to accommodate Beast's tail, and so the whole area looks bulky and lopsided:
But on the whole, the outfit is incredible. All of the rich colors, golden scrolls, and tiny buttons make this Beast look majestic and expensive:
He also has a face that captures some of the movie character's personality:
In the midst of an elaborately-sculpted mane of hair, Beast has a mouth and eyes that convey a decidedly human interior:
The knowing blue eyes are side-glancing, but can be positioned so that they look right into the camera:
The eyes on my doll don't look great up-close, though. There's a smudge of beige paint at the corner of the eye, and the iris and pupil seem hazy and ill-defined.
Good thing none of these qualities are visible under normal magnification.
Beast's head has two main parts that connect with a jagged seam just under his horns:
Here's a close-up of the seam on one side--it's pretty well hidden:
The seam at the top of the head is a bit more obvious because the front part of the hair is lighter than the back:
Still, both the hair and the horns are painted with multiple colors to create a wonderfully realistic effect:
Here's the back of the hair:
And a closer look:
Next let's look at Beast's impressive outfit. I'll say right up front that the outfit is a very good replica of the movie costume. One exception is that the doll has a vest that's darker blue than his jacket. I think that in the movie the vest and the jacket are the same shade. I'm not positive about this, but that's how it looks in the pictures I've seen.
The sides of the jacket were plastic-tied to the vest, and the cravat was tucked under the jacket on one side and plastic-tied in place:
With all of the plastic ties removed, though, it became clear that the jacket was its own, separate (fully-lined) piece:
Before I remove the jacket, let's look at some of the gorgeous little details.
Both sides of the jacket are lined with small golden buttons. These buttons are larger than the row of buttons that decorate the center of the vest. All of these buttons (paired with the intricate metallic scrolling patterns on the jacket and vest) are a feast for the eyes:
There are even three buttons on each of the jacket's large cuffed sleeves:
And buttons marking the decorative pockets on either side of the jacket:
The metallic gold design on the jacket is an interwoven series of leafy, blooming vines. It's almost exactly like the designs on the movie costume. There are also a few patterns next to the vines that look like raining storm clouds:
The gold design on the jacket features more precise, symmetric scrolls:
The jacket slides off quite easily. Here it is on its own:
Most of the jacket is lined, with the exception of the pleated folds at the back:
And the interior of the sleeves:
The jacket is beautifully-made and has a nice weight and feel. I love how the jacket looks on Beast, too. It's very authentic to the movie.
However, I actually prefer how Beast looks without his jacket!
The regal navy blue and gold of the vest paired with the crisp white of the shirt looks amazing:
|Why, thank you!|
The satiny white sleeves are decorated with the same opulent lace that was used for the cravat:
The vest and shirt are sewn together into one piece that opens down the back with velcro. The velcro seam has a small gap at the bottom to accommodate the tail:
I could feel that there was some stuffing in the back of the Beast's vest. This wasn't a huge surprise to me, given how the 2015 Disney Store Beast doll was constructed.
It was a bit of a surprise when I released the velcro and the vest sprung open, though! This garment is lined with a lot of padding:
The whole interior of the vest area is stuffed, and there are two extra pads that enhance the shoulders:
The sleeves of the shirt are also lined, but with a thinner layer of stuffing...and only to about wrist-level.
The vest easily stands up on its own!
Ok, so I knew that most of the Beast's bulk was because of this amazing vest. It's not like that was a surprise. And yet, I was not prepared to see what Beast would look like without his clothes. I just wasn't. It all happened so quickly. I mean, he went from this glorious creature with his impressive profile:
|I am the Beast! Hear me roar!|
This has to be one of the strangest profiles I've ever seen on a doll:
The neck piece is ill-fitting against the chest in front:
But has slightly better continuity in the back:
The great thing about this design is that the head connects to the neck extender with a ball joint--so Beast has wonderful head mobility:
Anyway, Beast has hinged rotation in his shoulder joints, so he can lift his arms straight out to the side:
And move them back and forth:
His elbows also have hinged rotation, with slightly limited flexing range because of the muscles and hair in the arm mold:
When I tried to remove Beast's pants, I discovered another surprise:
The tail is connected to the pants--not the body:
This--coupled with the irregular shape of the legs--makes the pants quite difficult to remove:
The pants are made out of a sueded blue fabric and have an elastic waistband:
The tail is slotted through a hole at the back of the pants, and is held in place with a vinyl flange and two stitches:
Here's Beast in all of his unclothed glory:
And from the side:
Here's a closer look at the molded detail in his arms:
His lower arms have some nice shading in the hair pattern and on the palms and fingers of his hands:
The upper legs have the same style of molded pattern as the arms, but the lower legs (the only part of the limbs that show when Beast is clothed) have a more detailed design:
The lower legs have finer hairs molded into the vinyl:
They also have painted highlights throughout the hair, and shaded areas on the claws and pads of the feet:
The knees have large hinged joints that do not rotate:
These joints allow the lower legs to bend to about a 90 degree angle with the upper leg:
Beast also has rotational movement in his hips, so he can sit on the ground:
And on a chair or a box:
Unlike the Hasbro Beast, this doll can stand on his own in a few walking poses:
Here's Beast next to a regular Disney Store Prince. The only thing they have in common is that torso:
|Kit (left) and Beast (right) from the Disney Store.|
(Kit can only stand upright if his arms are acting as counterbalances--hence the strange pose)
Here are the two Disney Store Beast bodies together:
|Film Collection Beast (left) and Classic Beast (right) from the Disney Store.|
The older Beast retains more of the original male body mold:
|Film Collection Beast (left) and Classic Beast (right) from the Disney Store.|
Despite their identical torsos, these Beast dolls cannot share clothing with regular Disney Princes...or with each other. The Classic Beast can't even get the Film Collection Beast's shirtsleeves over his large hands:
|Classic Beast trying to wear the Film Collection outfit.|
The Classic Beast's clothes technically fit onto the Film Collection Beast's body, but the shirt doesn't close in back, the collar gapes open, and the stuffed jacket doesn't look right:
Film Collection Beast wearing the Classic Beast's outfit.
|Hasbro Grand Romance Beast (left) and Disney Store Film Collection Beast (right).|
The Hasbro Beast looks lifeless and unrealistic to me now next to the Disney Store's version. The Disney Store Beast also has better articulation. It must be said, however, that the Hasbro Beast has a more convincing body design.
I re-dressed both Beasts so that I could take a few pictures of them with Belle. The Hasbro Beast was the hardest to re-dress. His jacket sleeves got twisted around on his arms:
And his breeches shed quite a few loose threads from those fraying edges:
But here he is, dressed again and meeting up with Belle:
|Hasbro's Beast and Belle.|
These two look ok, but they're a very stiff and hard-to-pose couple. Beast can only stand there with his arms hanging down, and Belle's arms--while articulated--can't bend enough to encircle Beast's elbow:
Belle's arms can bend enough to create a decent dancing pose, though, and in this position it also looks like Beast is gazing adoringly at her:
I should mention that the relative scale of these dolls is off by quite a lot. Beast should tower over Belle, but the Hasbro dolls are almost the same height. The Disney Store pair isn't scaled well, either, but there's more of a height discrepancy between the two.
The Disney Store's Beast was a little easier to re-dress. I paused before I put his jacket back on so that I could get a few pictures with him in just the gorgeous blue vest and shirt:
Beast and Belle have side-glancing eyes that are looking in the same direction, so they can't really gaze at each other. Beast can admire Belle while she knowingly looks at the camera, though:
|Disney Store's Film Collection Beast and Belle.|
Both of these dolls have articulation that allows them to interact naturally with one another (if I ignore the fact that Belle could never balance on her crooked legs without a doll stand hidden under those skirts):
Here's Beast back in his jacket:
Bottom line? I could break my summary down into several categories (the way I did with the Belle dolls) but I feel like this analysis is a lot simpler. First of all, the Hasbro Beast is a toy, and the Disney Store's Beast is more of a collectable figure...which can also be played with.
The Hasbro Beast's strengths are that he has a body shape that was designed especially for this character (including an articulated tail) and he has soft flocked fur. I really liked the flocked fur when I first opened the Hasbro set, and assumed that I would prefer this to the Disney Store's hard vinyl counterpart. However, it's not possible to achieve fine details with flocked plastic, and so I ended up preferring the Disney Store Beast's fur (overwhelmingly) because of its superior realism. In addition, while the Hasbro Beast's body definitely has a more authentic shape, the lack of articulation is frustrating. He's a very stiff, unexpressive figure.
Aside from the underlying body shape, I find the Disney Store's Beast to be superior to the Hasbro doll in every way. The Disney Beast body is absolutely ridiculous to look at, but I also realize that this doesn't actually matter very much. This is not a doll that was designed to be redressed regularly--what other clothes would fit him, anyway? One caveat here is that I wish the Beast's tail was attached to his body, not his pants. Not only does the tail design make the pants difficult to remove, but it adds a level of complexity for anyone who might want to sew new outfits for this character. The tail is also unarticulated, and so it can't be used to add expressiveness to Beast's poses.
The excellent things about this doll far outweigh the strange body choices. This Beast has a realistic face, intricately molded and painted features, decent articulation, and an incredible outfit. While the Disney Store Belle's dress adhered to an earlier draft of the movie dress, Beast's outfit replicates the actual movie costume to an impressive level of detail. All of the little buttons and designs are accurate. I even think that the face mold on this doll captures the complex personality of the Beast--gruff, but with an underlying vulnerability.
An unexpected perk, as I mentioned at the very start of this review, is that there's something about the Disney Store's Belle and Beast together that makes me appreciate Belle more than I did initially. You might have noticed that the Belle doll in this review is not the same doll that I reviewed (and decapitated) in my earlier post. Maybe there's something about this specific doll that makes me like her better (her hair seems less bulky in front, for example), but I think it's mostly that she goes very well with the style of the Beast...and he looks great. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle brings out the best in the Beast, saving him from a grim fate. I find it amusing that with the Disney Store dolls, the opposite is true: Beast brings out something unexpected in Belle, and ends up being her salvation.