With the memorable characters, catchy songs, and beautiful images, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was an instant classic the minute it hit theatres in 1991 and same holds true for its blu-ray release in 2010. The tale, as old as time, follows beautiful Belle (Paige O’Hara) living with her inventor father in a quiet French village yearning for adventure. One day her father, Maurice, loses his way and stumbles upon an enchanted castle where we first meet crowd favorites Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury), Lumiere (Jerry Orbach) and Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers – who also narrates). This castle is the home of a cursed Prince who has been transformed into a Beast (Robby Benson) until he learns to love another and earn her love in return. There is a time limit on this spell, the curse must be broken before his twenty-first year or else he, and his servants will remain in their enchanted form, forever.
When Maurice’s horse returns home without him, Belle searches for her father and discovers that Beast has imprisoned him as a trespasser and decides to trade herself for her father’s freedom. The Beast accepts the trade and the real adventure begins. Will Beast find true love? Will Belle ever see her father again? Could there be something there that wasn’t there before?
One of my favorite character combinations are the villain, Gaston, and his side-kick Lefou. They are such a great duo and balance out the variety of characters we get to know throughout the film. The two songs they sing in the bar might be top on my list. Second favorite? Lumiere and Cogsworth of course! They are hilarious and play off of one another in brilliant form. And, third favorite would have to be Belle & Beast (doesn’t everyone want to know what his real name is? I sure do). I appreciate how Belle is a bookworm with spunk and how the Beast is snarky but tender.
The most popular character by far, is the music, winning Oscars for Best Music: Original Score, Best Music: Original Song (‘Beauty and the Beast’) and nominations for Best Music: Original Song (‘Be Our Guest’ and ‘Belle’), Best Picture, and Best Sound. It also won Golden Globes for Best Original Score, Best Original Song (‘Beauty and the Beast’) as well as Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical with nomination for Best Original Song (‘Be Our Guest’).
Watching this Disney classic made me feel like a kid again. Each character a favorite; each song getting stuck in my head until the next tune starts up. Long after the movie is over I’m still humming a variety of the songs from the film. Be our guest and watch this wonderful film.
Video: (1.78:1 Widescreen) With brilliant animation and striking camera angles, this blu-ray transfer is sharp with bright and bold colors.
Audio: (7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio is almost more amazing than the enchanted castle.
Special Extended Edition (1:31:44)
Original Theatrical Release (1:24:54)
Original Theatrical Release with StoryReel Picture-In-Picture (1:24:54)
FastPlay: Allows you to customize your viewing experience based on your time and interests
Modes: You have the chance to watch the Audio Commentary or the Sing-Along Track. During the Audio Commentary, producer Don Hahn, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise add insight into the animation, storyline and music. Special guest commentator, composer & co-song writer Alan Menken drops in to add to the commentary.
Sing-Along Track; during each song the lyrics are listed much like a subtitle or closed caption.
Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition
Beyond Beauty: The Untold Stories Behind The Making of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Disc 2): (54:28) This behind the scenes is quite detailed and provides a lot of insight into not only the creation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST but provides multiple facts and extra tidbits about the history Disney animation, Walt Disney beginnings and other fun features. You can watch this behind the scenes documentary seamlessly or detour to view extra features without skipping a beat! Extra features within this feature are as follows: History of the Fairy Tale, Laugh-O-Gram Fairy Tales: Puss In Boots (10:56), Little Red Riding Hood (6:18), Cinderella (7:23), The Four Musicians of Bremen (8:27), See Where Disney & Broadway Meet, View The Purdum Team’s Version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Learn More About Howard Ashman, View an Alternate Version of “Be Our Guest”, See a Deleted Scene With Four Lost Enchanted Objects (you can see this in the deleted scenes on disc 1), See More About the Production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and Dig Deeper Into the History of Animation.
Composing A Classic: A Musical Conversation with Alan Menken, Don Hahn & Richard Kraft (Disc 1): (20:19) The trio has a conversation about the composition of the music and how it came to be. They discuss holding the song Human Again from the original feature yet after seeing the Broadway production they added it to a later release as well as talk though each song from the film . It was interesting to hear them go down memory lane each with stories from their Academy Awards and Golden Globes nominations and success.
Deleted Scenes (Disc 1): Four deleted scenes: Introduction to Alternate Story Open By Peter Schneider (:32), Alternate Story Open (18:32), Introduction to Deleted Scene by Roger Allers (:36), and Belle In The Library (8:26). This needs a play all button and the introductions are beyond unnecessary. The team at Disney was smart to get rid of the original story board and to not introduce the other characters such as a book stand, globe, bust and telescope. They would have been annoying and taken away from the brilliant supporting characters.
Broadway Beginnings (Disc 1)
Games & Activities (Disc 2): There are several games for the whole family to play and enjoy.
Classic DVD Bonus Features
Learn How To Take Your Favorite Movies On The Go
This Blu-ray is jam-packed with extras that will keep you entertained and educated but the navigation of the various menus is complicated and at times frustrating.