Beauty and the Beast, Blu-ray (1991/2016)

The 25th anniversary edition of a classic widescreen animation from Disney.

Beauty and the Beast, Blu-ray (1991/2016) 

Cast (Voice-overs): Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach
Directors: Brian McEntee, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Music: Alan Menken
Studio: Walt Disney Collection 136699 (9/20/16)
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD Technicolor
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1, English, French or Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Dubbed In: French or Spanish
3 Versions: Orig. theatrical, speclal edition and sing-along
Extras: Sneak peak at new version; “Always Belle” – Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle; Menken & Friends: 25 Years of musical inspiration!; The Recording Sessions; #1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & The Beauty and the Beast; 25 fun facts about Beauty and the Beast/ More…
Length of feature: 92 min.
Rating: *****

Beauty and the Beast has the reputation of being the finest animated feature Disney has ever done, and that may be right. The story is full of unforgettable characters and the music won the Academy Award for Best Song and Best Score in 1991. Belle is not your usual Disney female, being brave and independent, and she has the adventure of a lifetime rescuing her father and being in the enchanted castle with its mysterious beast. The Disney animation department won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for the design and development of the Computer Animated Production System used in the film. The style of illustration was inspired by French painters Fragonard and Boucher. It was the first Disney feature to be scripted by a woman, Linda Woolverton, and in the credits each animator is credited specifically for the character he or she brought to life in Disney’s animation department.

The animated characters of the enchanted staff of the castle are absolutely delightful, especially the Maurice Chevalier-like candlestick and the Mrs. Pots tea-maker. It’s almost a let-down at the end when the beast turns into the prince again and the staff all assume their human nature.  The villain is really Gaston, who hopes to wed Belle, but is portrayed as a misogynist character who doesn’t know any better (and decorates all his environments with antlers).

—John Sunier

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