Published on January 13th, 2012 | by dvdpinson0
Beauty and the Beast is Still Enchanting
I know I’ve been very vocal about the repetitive state of Hollywood. I just read in The Hollywood Reporter that, for the first time in history, in 2011 the top ten domestic grossing films were “franchise titles or spinoffs”. All we get is a steady diet of sequels and retreads. But I’m going to give “Beauty and the Beast” a pass. I actually support Disney’s idea to re-release the classics in 3-D if, for no other reason, they used to do it all the time and I loved it.
Back in the 80’s, Disney would trot out one of their old titles every year for a new generation to admire. This was both an easy business decision and a way to see classic on the big screen again. Win-win. This is how I saw “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia” for the first time and the memories are branded in the brain for eternity. Then everyone went and bought a VCR and there was no reason to release these gems in the theater anymore when they could just sell them to the masses for his or her collection.
So “Beauty and the Beast in 3-D” makes sense to me. The idea is a return to an old tradition and a chance to let the wee ones experience the hand-drawn classics. And “Beauty and the Beast” is truly a classic. The film has the designation of being the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (it lost back in 1991 to “Silence of the Lambs”) and was produced during the brief Second Golden Age of Disney that occurred between “The Little Mermaid” (1989) and “The Lion King” (1994).
The songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are almost annoyingly memorable with highlights including the show-stopping “Be Our Guest,” the burly “Gaston” and the lovely title track “Beauty and the Beast”. Speaking of Gaston (voiced by Richard White), the giant fiend is one of the most disturbing villains in Disney history because his motivations and actions are almost true to life. Here is a man who schemes, lies and plots to force a young girl to marry him. What he wants, ultimately, is to sleep with her and that is not what drove Ursula or Maleficent to do their dastardly deeds. Least I don’t think that was their motivation. Ariel and Aurora were pretty gorgeous.
Finally, the 3-D transfer is, for the most part, amazing and worth the up charge. Taking two-dimensional cell animation and giving it the depth they achieve here is nothing short of a magic trick. This new version of the film was set to be released way back in 2010 but Disney postponed it until now There are times when the image isn’t perfect and Belle looks like she is sort of floating off the screen but these instances are minor and few.
With the release of “Beauty and the Beast” coupled with the success of “The Lion King” last year, let’s hope that this becomes an tradition. Disney already is planning on releasing a 3D version of “Finding Nemo” later this year, Sept. 14, 2012. I would like to take my daughter to see “Alice in Wonderland” where it is meant to be seen: In the darkened theater where the true enchantment happens.