Beauty And The Beast/3D (1991/2012)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

Starring the Voices Of: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers. Angela Lansbury, Bradley Michael Pierce, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Jo Anne Worley.
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Director: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Rating: G

Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Date: November 15, 1991
Release Date 3D: January 13, 2012
Home Video Release Date: October 8, 2002 (reissue)
Home Video Release Date 3D: TBD
Box Office (All Releases): $219.0 Million
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Silver Screen Partners IV and Walt Disney Studios.

Written by: Linda Woolverton; Story by Brenda Chapman, Burny Mattinson, Brian Pimental, Joe Ranft, Kelly Asbury, Christopher Sanders, Kevin Harkey, Bruce Woodside, Tom Ellery, and Robert Lence; Story Supervisor – Roger Allers.

 

“He’s no monster, Gaston…you are!” – Belle (Paige O’Hara).After the staggering and surprising success of The Lion King 3D last fall, Disney has now released the film which was initially supposed to begin the Disney 3D re-release project, Beauty And The Beast, a film which is arguably the finest animated Disney film of the legendary film studio’s modern era of animation.  Initially pegged as the first film Disney would reissue in 3D to audiences new and old, Beauty And The Beast returned in January 2012 to what is historically a month reserved for studio castoffs and failed projects.  Financially, I have no idea if Beauty And The Beast will elicit the same exuberant response The Lion King 3D did, but revisiting this once again on the big screen, in this format, it is hard to argue against Beauty And The Beast‘s legacy and its distinction as being the most nominated animated film in Oscar history (with 6 nominations, WALL-E tied the record in 2008) and the first animated film to ever receive a nomination for Best Picture of the Year.

Beauty And The Beast, on its own merits, is wonderful and wins at every turn.  I remember going to see the film with my girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife) and feeling as if I was just doing her a favor, going to the chick-flick, seeing the cartoon, and being amazed at how impressive a film Beauty And The Beast truly was.  I probably played it off as being “alright” or “fine”, but I was pretty struck by how well the film mixed in its music and score, the richness of the colors, the inventiveness of the characters, and the compelling drama that this silly little musical cartoon drummed up for me.  While in hindsight, I knew it had no chance in winning Best Picture against the likes of Bugsy, The Prince Of Tides, JFK, and eventual winner The Silence Of The Lambs, I still kind of wondered how awesome it would be to have a cartoon win the film industry’s top prize.

Seeing it on the big screen with my daughters, age 12 and 5, I was able to experience the film in a whole new capacity and while I may bristle at Disney’s 3D renovation projects on a personal level, the film feels important and significant, even historical, back up on the big screen and in this re-release, the film looks every bit the part of a tale as old as time.

The story of a girl named Belle (Paige O’Hara), who has no interest in marrying the handsome and arrogant lug, Gaston (Richard Wright), who makes all the other women swoon, and ends up the captive of a hideous and menacing beast is well documented.  Rather than running through a summary of the happenings of Beauty & The Beast, if you have not encountered the film before, Beauty & The Beast is brilliantly conceived, the scenes move effortlessly from one to the next, and the music, composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, is classic Disney – expertly written, moving the story along, and as memorable now as it was in 1991.  You can do far worse than spend 84 minutes watching this classic and to Disney’s credit, the 3D transformation is quite well done, especially in the film’s opening moments, where the 3D is at its most profound and pronounced.

Also of note, Disney unveiled the animated short film, Tangled Ever After, which packs more slapstick and inventive laughs in 5 minutes than any family film of recent memory.  For those who have seen Tangled, Flynn and Rapunzel are now set to marry and things are running smoothly until it is time for the ring-bearing horse to provide the rings.  The short works tremendously in drawing younger kids into the romantic musical set to unfold before them.

For audiences of all ages, Beauty And The Beast is a wonderful film and while the 3D relaunch does lose its effectiveness as the film moves along, the film is so timeless and so wonderfully entertaining, that even though I have reached a level of elderly grumpiness over the incessant 3D this-and-that, I really could not fault people for checking this out in this format.  Beauty And The Beast is a classic and seeing it on the big screen is an experience I am glad people can take part in all over again.

So, let’s rate Beauty And The Beast 3D like this.  The film is a 5-star classic and the 3D work is, at times, impressive enough to be noteworthy.  So allocating 4-stars for the 3D makes this a film worthy of 4-and-a-half stars and entry in our “Yes You Should!!!” club for our sites best films.

Should I See It?

YES

Why wouldn’t you (inflated ticket prices aside)?

Beauty And The Beast works just as well, and frankly better, than any animated film released in recent memory.  It is entirely possible that your kids will watch this and have no idea that is 20+ years old.  The film truly has a timeless element to it that few animated films, not made by Pixar, have been able to capture.

Forget that it is animated and acknowledging the musical interludes, the film just works as a comedy, a compelling drama, and a romance that transcends its animation and resonates just as profoundly as live action.

NO

Your interest was snuffed out by Disney’s previous reissuance of the film and its straight-to-video knock off “sequels”, which have diluted the product for many fans.

Spending between $14-$20 per ticket for you and your family is just not financially an option for you; or, like me, you find the expense almost unnecessary no matter what the film happens to be.

You are adverse to musicals; or, might be dead inside.

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