Thursday, 26 April 2012

Beauty and the Beast in 3D

 Rating: ★★★

The tale as old as time is new again! At least that's what Disney wants you to think as they re-release Beauty and the Beast in dazzling 3D. Some might say it's sad that Disney has started to re-release their classic movies instead of just making new ones. But why shouldn't you re-release such an amazing film? It's not only one of Disney's most beloved animated films but possibly the most beloved animated film of all time, being the first animated feature to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Disney has a history of re-releasing their films in the days before Blu-Ray players and Sky Movies on demand. So it's not really a new idea, if anything it's a blast from the past.

Once upon a time...
Belle (voiced by Paige O'Hara) in an effort to save her father is captured by the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) and forced to live in his enchanted castle were all the servents have been turned into furniture and kitchen wear. Eventually Belle and the Beast fall in love. Even though Belle might sound a bit dim for falling for her captor she is actually a great role model for young girls. She's independent, passionate, brave and smart. In fact, unlike the typical princess, at the start she has no interest in love or getting married. You go girl! She is actually looking for adventure which we can all relate to.

Tune as old as song
I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of Beauty and the Beast in 3D, before its release on the 4th of May, giving me a chance to fall in love with the film all over again. Let me begin by saying the music is amazing and I don't just mean the songs. When the violins started in the scene where Belle is sneaking into the west wing, I swear my heart stopped. The background music by Alan Menken was so atmospheric and gripping it was almost like a narrator bringing the story to life. The musical numbers give the audience the same thrill as watching a stage musical (it's no wonder they adapted it for Broadway). The lyrics in the song Beauty and the Beast by the late Howard Ashman are wonderful.

Mona Lisa of cinema
The beautifully detailed background paintings in this film are one of its major strengths and something you will never get in CGI animation. I really believe that animation is the ultimate modern art form because it combines painting and illustration with storytelling. Beauty and the Beast is the best possible example of that. The scene when Belle brings the Beast back to the Castle after he has saved her life is really poignant but not one of the characters says a word. Now that's what I call good storytelling!

Even though I love Beauty and the Beast I'm not sure if audiences will pay to see another Disney re-release so soon after the re-release of Lion King only 6 months ago. Which isn't very long in movie time. I think Disney should limit itself to one shameless re-release of an old classic a year.

As if that's not enough...
That said giving a new generation the chance to see this amazing film in all its cinematic brilliance is a treat not to be missed. In another attempt to make the film seem new Disney has not only converted it in to 3D but has also added a new short called Tangled Ever After. It features all the Tangled characters getting ready for Rapunzel and Flynn's wedding and it is incredibly funny. It had the whole audience in stitches.

Hopefully, for Disney's sake, that is enough to pull an audience in to see a film they might have on DVD. Personally if you only see one animated film this year I suggest Beauty and the Beast.

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