Plot: What’s it about?
Admittedly, it’s been some time since I last saw Beauty and the Beast, but I did enjoy it as a kid. With that being said, it was never one of my favorites. I have more fond memories of Aladdin, The Lion King and Toy Story than this one, but that’s me. It was a bit of a nostalgia trip revisiting this film after so many years, but after that wore off, I can’t say I was left with much else. Disney has been having a good run with some recent remakes, including The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon and a few others. Indeed, Beast will be getting a reboot in a few short months, and I think it’ll be another big hit for Disney. I will say that as a kid this outing held more interest than it does to me in my 30’s, but it’ll touch everyone a bit different. I can’t see myself revisiting this chapter any time soon in the near future. We all have our favorite Disney films and this simply isn’t one of mine. By no means do I look at it as a disappointment, but it just doesn’t stay with me the way some of the other films do.
We begin with a prologue where we learn of an arrogant prince who gets transformed into a beast. He’s given a specific amount of time to find true love (in his current beast form) or else he’ll be a beast for the rest of his life. His servants are also turned into strange household objects. We then move ahead some time and meet a young woman named Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara) who feels a bit out of place in her small town. We then see Belle’s father, Maurice (Rex Everhart) get lost on his way to a fair. Eventually, he’s held captive by the beast. Maurice’s horse is able to travel back to the village and inform them what has happened. At this point, Belle decides to go find her father and ultimately, encounters the beast. Seeing as how the beast simply won’t release her father, Belle strikes a deal where she will trade places with her father. Indeed, that is what happens and Belle is now a prisoner. Several of the castle’s staff hopes that Belle will be the true love of the beast so not only he, but they too will be transformed back into their human form. We then follow their relationship as the film progresses. Belle doesn’t know the stipulations of the deal (she doesn’t know that the beast will turn into a human) and we hope things work out for these characters. There’s a bit more to the plot, but it’s mostly straightforward stuff. Indeed, it can be a bit predictable and it does take a while to get going, but the fans are already out there. It’ll be interesting to see a fresh take on this material, though I can’t see the remake straying too far from course.
Video: How’s it look?
We get an amazing 1.78:1 AVC encoded image that is more than pleasing to the eyes. This is really no surprise as Disney takes more than adequate care of their classics. Colors are crisp and well defined with no known issues to speak of. Details are strong as well. There’s really nothing negative to report on here. This transfer is top notch.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is also strong. Effects add to it and there’s a naturalness to the whole outing. There’s a crisp and clear sound to the track that helps involve the viewer. The effects really added to the atmosphere of the film as well. There’s little else to say as the track is a strong compliment to the positive visuals.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Always Belle – Paige O’Hara discusses her life, going to New York to pursue acting and essentially anything and everything relevant to the iconic character of Belle.
- Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration – Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Lin- Manuel Miranda, Stephen Schwartz, and Alan Menken discuss the long-lasting influence of the movie and even sing a few tunes for us.
- #1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & Beauty and the Beast – We get a look at Walt Disney and his original idea for the film, some of his travels abroad and a general overview of this movie in various stages of its works.
- The Recording Sessions – We get a look at the voice actors as they do their lines for the film. Some people like watching people sing into a microphone and others don’t. I’m of the latter camp.
- 25 Fun Facts About Beauty and the Beast – Because this is a Disney movie/disc, we get two teenyboppers from Disney shows as they give us some facts about the movie.
- Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek – You didn’t think they’d miss an opportunity to tease the live action version coming in March 2017, did you/. Of course not.
- Song Selection (Sing-Along Edition Only) – If you really want to sing along with some selected songs, you’ll need to watch that version and them boom – you’re there!
- Audio Commentary (Extended Edition Only) – Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, Producer Don Hahn, and Composer Alan Menken don’t create a new commentary track, it’s been on others, but this is still a nice inclusion nonetheless.
- Classic Bonus Preview – A short ad for all the features available digitally.
- Exclusive Digital Bonus Content – There is a plethora of digital content available for this release as well.
The Bottom Line
I’d be lying if I said revisiting Beast did a lot for me. I can see how the fans could enjoy it, but it didn’t do much for me. Still, it has its heart in the right place and the simple, but nice story is easy to get involved with. While I didn’t care for it, fans should be more than pleased.