The film that officially signaled Disney's animation renaissance (following The Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, Beauty and the Beast remains the yardstick by whic... more »h all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father's place, imprisoned in the Beast's gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle teaches the Beast to love. What makes this such a dazzler, besides the amazingly accomplished animation and the winning coterie of supporting characters (the Beast's mansion is overrun by quipping, dancing household items) is the array of beautiful and hilarious songs by composer Alan Menken and the late, lamented lyricist Howard Ashman. (The title song won the 1991 Best Song Oscar, and Menken's score scored a trophy as well.) The downright funniest song is "Gaston," a lout's paean to himself (including the immortal line, "I use antlers in all of my de-co-ra-ting"). "Be Our Guest" is transformed into an inspired Busby Berkeley homage. Since Ashman's passing, animated musicals haven't quite reached the same exhilarating level of wit, sophistication, and pure joy. --David Kronke --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.« less
"Disney's animated version of the classic tale, "Beauty and the Beast," is every bit as enchanting as the "tale as old as time" that it tells, making its way into our hearts as well as motion picture history. Being the first film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as six nominations altogether, Disney proves that it has what it takes to make an animated feature enjoyable for adults and children. I remember watching the film as a small child, and now, as an adult, is hasn't lost its luster, and everything is just as I enjoyed it before. Through brilliant animation and song, as well as some terrific voice talents, the story of unexpected love comes to new and exciting life. Small-town girl Belle is forced to head into the woods once her father turns up missing, bringing her to a gloomy, secluded castle where she finds him and his captor, a vicious-looking beast. Of course, the beginning of the movie explains the beast's origins: he was once a selfish prince who, after turning out an old beggar woman, was transformed, given an enchanted rose, and told "if he could learn to love another, and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time." This begins their rocky-turned-romantic relationship, as they begin to warm to one another. Meanwhile, the town brute, Gaston, has plans of his own, involving some sinister maneuvers involving Belle's father in hopes that she will agree to marry him. Many have hailed this as the best of Disney's films, and they wouldn't be wrong in saying so, either. It's easy to see why the movie has become such a success: there are elements at work in this film, just as in every other Disney film, only they seem to have taken on a small degree of maturity with this film's creation. The animation is some of the best and most believable I've seen for an animated film in a long time. Most of the scenes involving solely characters is the same as most of Disney's works, but there are scenes of pure life-like reality that have a special flare to them. The ballroom scene is one such scene: the camera angles sweep across a room filled with high-arched glass windows and a chandelier which looks as real as the words you're reading on this page. Some nice effects go into the creation of the castle as well, especially in the end once everything returns to normal. The is one of the most moving Disney soundtracks to come along since that of "Cinderella" and "Pinocchio." It is clear that composers were striving to capture the feeling and influence of their previous score for "The Little Mermaid," and they truly succeed in doing so. The songs are delightful and will have kids and adults alike smiling and singing along. The score is the perfect underlining for scenes of romance as well as tension and suspense. In case you were wondering, three of the originally written songs were nominated for Academy Awards; that should say something. This is one of Disney's most ambitious and successful projects, ranking alongside such cinematic achievements as the successes of "Citizen Kane" and "Gone With The Wind." Winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, as well as its Oscar nominations, "Beauty and the Beast" is a hallmark of a time when movies were something that everyone, young and old alike, could enjoy on the same levels. This is the best picture of 1991."
HORRIBLE transfer of my favorite movie of all time
jackalanhyde | 10/14/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"How any fan of this fantastic film can accept this HORRIBLE transfer is shocking. The dvd supposedly contains not only the special edition but also the original theatrical edition, but the reality is that the mis-named "original theatrical" edition is a mutilated version that is definitely NOT the film shown in theaters in 1991. The colors were drastically changed, making brown things red, red things pink, and erasing all shadows into virtual non-existence.
Gone is the palette of beautiful rich colors that were used when the film was made. In their place we have a pastel, ... saturday-morning cartoon palette where shadows don't exist. Instead of keeping the brooding, gothic, mysterious castle that once existed, the dvd lightened it up so there are no more mysterious shadows. Now you can see everything quite clearly, including the Beast (when he was supposed to be lurking in shadows as a plot device).
The backgrounds were literally replaced with computer generated backgrounds for the imax presentation, which is fine for the special edition. But they also used the new backgrounds for the supposed "original theatrical" version as well. Oh, and did I mention that they went in with a computer to completely re-draw the characters to make them smoother? They used those altered images for the so-called "original theatrical" version, too. They also cut off the top and the bottom of the film to make the aspect ratio 1.85:1, when the original film was made in 1.66:1 (much closer to your actual "regular" tv shape). Add those changes to the edited dialogue (there is no more stuttering Beast) and the horrid pastel colors that replaced the vibrant colors that used to be, and you have one big mess. ... - what Disney calls the "original theatrical" version is just the special edition without the human again sequence.
My Favorite Disney Classic
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 09/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Belle is bored with life in her village. Her only escape is her books, and she longs to have an adventure of her own. When her father heads out to a fair, he gets lots, and Belle finds him in an enchanted castle. The objects are thrilled, because if she and their master, the Beast, fall in love, they will all be freed from the enchantment. But will Belle be able to see past the outward appearance? And what about the handsome bore back home who wants to marry Belle?I feel in love with this movie the first time I saw it, and that love has only grown over the years. The story is the right mix of fun and uncertainty. Gaston was a wonderful addition to the mix because his story was the part I was most uncertain about the first time around. The artwork on the film catches your eye from the first shot of the castle, and doesn't let go. Beside the incredible background shots are wonderful drawings of the characters. I especially love the boyish excitement they manage to give the Beast in several scenes. Finally, there's the music. Every song adds to the story and is memorable in its own right.This DVD is perfect for any fan of this movie. Disc 1 includes three versions of the film. The first is the "in progress" version shown to the New York film festival 6 weeks before the premier of the movie in 1991. While it's fun to have, I won't be watching it regularly. The second version is the original release. And finally comes the special edition, with the added scene and "Human Again." Ironically, this is probably my least favorite of the songs added to the Broadway version, but it does advance the story. And, there's always the option of watching the original version. Obviously, the version that you are supposed to watch is the special edition, as the audio commentary and sing along bonus features only work with this option. All three come in Dolby 5.1 sound, which sounds great.The second disc features hours of bonus material. Most of it focuses on the making of this movie. Everything is covered, from original idea through characters and the Broadway version and special edition. Galleries show character designs over the course of the project. Also featured is the original treatments for "Human Again" and "Be Our Guest." Celebrity voices give background on the original story and Disney versions of classic tales. And there's a fun documentary as the stars of "Even Stevens" take a backstage look at all the work that goes into making a feature animated film.This is the only film so far to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Watching the film, the reason is clear. This is something the entire family can enjoy. Don't miss your opportunity to catch this classic film."
What's wrong with this movie?
jackalanhyde | Mundelein, IL | 10/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The biggest flaw in this story ... is that it makes a 45-year-old man cry like a child every time I watch it. My opinions on Disney movies vary -- some are good, some are almost unwatchable -- but "Beauty and the Beast" is the best work the studio has ever done.Why do I love this movie so much? I think it's the music. In some musicals (animated or live), as soon as a song begins, the story comes to a grinding halt. (Can anyone remember one tune from "Mulan"?) But in this film, the music by Ashman and Menken advances the story marvellously. Animation and voice acting combine in a near-flawless performance, and the use of computer animation in the ballroom dance sequence was ground-breaking in its time.As for the added features, the added song "Human Again" is a wonderful fun number. I can understand why it was left out of the original version, but its inclusion really doesn't detract from the story (it's another big production number like "Be Our Guest", not really essential to the plot, but helps us get to know the supporting characters).The "making of" features are fairly interesting; the on-disk games I can take or leave. But the film itself is still the gem, worth the purchase price all by itself; the standard by which all other Disney movies are measured."
Beauty and the Beast coming next year.....
Robin McDonald | USA | 10/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeez I hate to waste my opportunity to review this movie right now but the purpose of these reviews is to be helpful. The most helpful thing I can happily contribute is Disney is releasing Beauty and the Beast on DVD next year and plans to release each subsequent film on a one per year basis. That means Aladdin probably won't be available for two years and Lion King for three. Its very frustrating to have to wait this long for these titles and hopefully public pressure will encourage them to accelerate the pace of the release. As far as the new Beauty and the Beast disc goes I believe you can expect to see some of the following supplements. Addition of the deleted song "Be Human Again" sung by the enchanted objects in the house after Belle arrives and they begin to have hope the curse will be broken...(This will not be added to the film itself) Pencil animated version of 'Be Our Guest" where the song is sung to Maurice instead of Belle. Belle was swapped in to make the story flow better. Television promotional featurette for the film with interviews with Angela Lansbury Paige O'Hara and other cast members as well as animators Glenn Keane Will Finn and others. I suspect there will be a commentary, concept sketches and storyboard images. I am one of the few people to have seen this but I would love it if they would include as a hidden easter egg a joke animation from "Gaston." When Gaston sings....and every last inch of me's covered with hair" he pulls open his shirt and instead of the hairy chest is a pair of flouncy bosoms in a bra with tassels. I wouldn't count on that one. Depending if they want to release a two disc version at the same or different price you might also get Beauty and the Beast the Work in Progress reel. Which is another full version of the film in an unfinished state shown in a limited pre-screening. Inserted throughout the film where it was not yet completed are either rough, cleanup pencil or storyboard sketches to fill in the gaps. Its a fascinating way to see the animation process in its various stages. As the disc is not finalized yet I can not say for one hundred percent sure what will be included. If it is like the new Snow White DVD there could be a heck of a lot more. I would not expect to see the DVD until next Summer at the very earliest and probably not 'til winter. I know many of you are wondering when? when? when? so I am sacrificing my opportunity to review one of my favorite films to let you know."