Beauty And The Beast 3D

February 8, 2012 by staff 

Beauty And The Beast 3D, I’ve loved Beauty and the Beast for twenty years. My grandmother bought me the VHS when I was a kid, I went to see the IMAX re-release as a teenager, I bought the special edition DVD later that year, then I bought the special edition Blu-ray back in 2010, and have been expecting the 3D version ever since I saw the opening number at Comic-Con back in 2008. I’m not 3D’s champion and Beauty and the Beast doesn’t need a 3D post-conversion. It’s perfect the way it is, but I’m willing to put on a pair of 3D glasses if it means I get to see it on the big screen again. But is it possible to improve upon perfection and if not, does that lower the quality?

The renaissance of Disney animation (wonderfully shown in the must-see documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty) slowly began to grow after the The Black Cauldron flopped in 1985, and truly blossomed once the studio reached The Little Mermaid in 1989. Some will argue that the renaissance reached its apex in 1994 with The Lion King (re-released in 3D last year), and commercially that’s true. It’s the highest grossing of all the 90s Disney movies, but it’s not the best. The plot is fine but it lacks the grandeur of a storybook tale. The songs are memorable, but they’re not on par with what Alan Menken was able to do with the late, great Howard Ashman on Mermaid and Beauty.

After a brief prologue with a wonderful stained-glass exposition a vain prince became the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson), we get the fantastic “Belle”. It’s a number that would be right at home in a stage musical, but the animation adds wonderful sweeping visuals set against a storybook style. The number not only sets up Belle’s character (Paige O’Hara), but perfectly sets up the overall theme and foreshadows what makes the town so oppressive to our heroine. But most of all and most importantly, it’s a wonderful song. Ashman and Menken never talk down to their audience in their lyrics and that’s why the songs have no problem throwing in words like “provincial” and “expectorating”. The visuals and the tone of the song help children understand what’s happening and the adults can appreciate the craft.

There’s also the simple message every kid can take home: people who are ugly on the outside can be good on the inside and people who are beautiful on the outside can be ugly on the inside. As an adult, it’s still interesting to see how the movie approaches the superficial. Exploring that approach may seem ridiculously high-minded for a movie with singing dishware, but when it comes to the human characters, it’s neat to see how the filmmakers approached Belle. The town is baffled by her not because she reads books. They think she’s odd because she’s beautiful and she doesn’t need to spend time developing her mind when there’s a handsome stud like Gaston (Richard White) waiting in the wings.

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