Making the Grades
Special Note: Beauty and the Beast is releasing to theaters in Digital 3D for two weeks only, beginning January 13, 2012.
Update: Is it worth seeing Beauty and the Beast in 3D?: Considering Disney has already released the 3D version of this heralded animation on Blu-ray, those of you who have a 3D player and 3D capable TV will be best off trading the admission price for two or three people and buying the Blu-ray disc. However, if you really want the 3D experience of Gaston decorating with antlers and can't make that happen in your family room, you better get to the theater during this very limited release. While the 3D effect is very captivating in some scenes, it comes across poorly in others. This is especially evident on facial closeups where the 3D magicians have attempted to make certain features of the face (like a nose) appear closer than others. The same issue happens in what's called a 3/4 shot, where the head is partially turned and one side of the face is closer to the audience than the other. Truly it appears that trying to bring depth to a 2D animation is very difficult when dealing with certain scenes. Yes, it's a picky detail, but lets face it — the only reason you are in the theater to watch this film is to see it in 3D. Frankly, if that isn't all that important to you and if you already have a decent television, watch one of the recent Blu-ray or DVD releases instead.
Our original review of Beauty and the Beast…
This animated adaptation of the timeless classic is a multiple Academy Award winning film. In it we are introduced to Belle (voice of Paige O'Hara), the daughter of a tireless inventor. She is not the type to be happy with just any man. The avid bookworm dreams of a romantic hero, and is not much impressed by the local, most eligible bachelor, Gaston (voice of Richard White). However, her good looks have prompted this vainglorious town bully to announce his intentions for marriage.
Meanwhile, a business excursion leads her Dad (voice of Rex Everhart) into a dangerous magical forest. Narrowly escaping attacking wolves, the distraught designer finds himself in graver danger within the fortress where he has taken refuge. When Belle hears that her father has been taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voiced by Robbie Benson), she sets off to rescue him. But the creature will only release the man if the maiden will take his place. Putting aside her freedom and hopes for the future, the selfless girl agrees.
While the agitated parent tries (without much success) to get help from the pride-wounded Gaston and the villagers, Belle settles into her captivity. Fortunately the castle's enchanted furniture and dishes are far more hospitable than her host. The amicable bunch secretly hopes the young woman may be the one to break a horrible spell that binds them. The biggest obstacle they all face is the Beast's bad manners.
Parents of young children should be aware that the hairy main character appears very frightening at times, as do some vicious biting wolves. Attempts to lighten the mood by including a loud-mouthed boasting villain--who constantly beats upon his sidekick (voice of Jesse Corti) --only add more annoyance than humor. The stereotypical depiction of a womanizing Frenchman (voiced by Jerry Orbach) may also cause brief concern.
Yet these faults are overshadowed by superb animation (which successfully simulates the camera work found in live action films) and an exceptional score (even if the story lags a little during the "Be Our Guest" musical sequence that serves only as a technical showpiece). Beauty And The Beast also demonstrates the value of loyalty and sacrifice, and the need to looking beneath the surface of people to appreciate the qualities found within.
Theatrical Release Date: November 21, 1991
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Beauty and The Beast.
What things does Belle do that eventually tames the beast? In what other ways does the story show that kindness is stronger then force?