and the Beast
Release Date: October 8, 2002
Running Time: approximately 84 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: A beautiful and independent-minded young
Frenchwoman falls in love with a hideous but strangely cuddly
beast, discovers that it's what's inside that counts, then
gets her cake and eats it, too.
Version: Two-Disc Special Platinum Edition
of the film
Invention Workshop Game
Behind The Story
Potts' Character Profile Game
Musical Challenge Game
videos by Jump 5 and Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson
and scads of production notes
from the Broadway Musical
The Spell Adventure Game
posters, advertising campaigns
Scene: The Beast battles wolves in a wintry forest - it's
still hard to believe that's Robby Benson.
Specs: Widescreen, aspect ratio 1.66:1, English and French
Dolby 5.1 surround sound, close-captioning in English.
mind that its ending sort of undercuts the theme of the movie;
Disney's Beauty and the Beast deserved every accolade
it got on its initial release in 1991. After a few shakier
experiments, it smoothly integrated computer animation, and
dared to break a few Disney traditions in character design.
(Though I've never seen it credited, Gaston sure looks like
an homage to Image co-founder Jim Valentino's artwork.)
ever (and now, thanks to changing rules, only) animated film
nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, the film still stands
as a fine example of art, music, and storytelling meshing
just right. And as a choice for Disney's Special Platinum
Edition series, it absolutely fits.
this DVD release series really stood out from Disney's regular
DVDs. Of course, when the complaint is that Disney commonly
takes full advantage of the DVD format's capabilities, fans
are in pretty good shape.
Disney has treated this movie with a special reverence from
the very beginning. Knowing they had something special on
their hands, Disney premiered a "Work In Progress" cut at
the New York Film Festival in 1990. This version had the complete
soundtrack, but with a substantial portion of the movie still
at the pencil test stage. Some scenes existed only with concept
look into the process of animation, it was fascinating, and
Disney treated its die-hard fans by releasing that cut onto
laserdisc with an alternate version of "Be Our Guest." Just
last year, they tweaked the movie again for IMAX, adding (they
occasionally claim "restoring") a number from the subsequent
Broadway show, "Human Again."
One of the DVD lets you have it your way, able to watch any
or all three of the versions of the film. While it gets annoying
that filmmakers no longer leave well enough alone (hellooo,
George Lucas?), it's reassuring to see original versions still
get included. For the average viewer of this disc, however,
our money is on the IMAX version being the one that gets watched
the most. Aside from it being the default version to play,
it's also the cut being given the most hype.
is a bit of a shame. While the new/old number has a certain
charm to it, it does feel wedged in, and one later visual
joke from the original gets ruined for the sake of Broadway
spectacle. It also gets a little creepy to have to keep thinking
about all those poor subjects of The Beast turned into inanimate
objects, now including the brooms from Fantasia. Sure,
it gave IMAX a little bit of extra oomph, but it all seems
Disney himself once said that Disneyland would never be finished
as long as there was still imagination; in an included documentary,
Michael Eisner updates that to mean that Beauty and The
Beast will never be finished as long as there is new money
to be made.
as long as the original release, a masterpiece in its own
right, can still be seen, we shan't quibble.
extras cover just about everything you could possibly want
to know about the film, including a look at that aforementioned
Broadway musical. Much of the background information duplicates,
and due to the appearance of Celine Dion often causing seizures
in small children (oh, if it doesn't, really, it should),
my recommendation is to go to the Lumiere and Cogsworth section
of Disc 2 to watch the extras. It's a Celine-free zone. If
not for yourself, do it for the children.
outside of the norm but surprisingly interesting is a series
of shorts called "The Story Behind The Story." This is only
a guess, but it looks to have been originally produced for
The Disney Channel. In short vignettes, a celebrity introduces
and tells a brief version of a Disney movie, then goes into
its source tale. Each short then covers the changes made for
film. Not only does this remind kids that the Disney version
isn't really the original, it guides them into finding the
sources. (The exception would be The Lion King; Disney
did win a court case claiming it was an original story. Sorry,
release also does a better than average job with its set-top
games. Most Disney DVDs have included trivia games, but here
the studio throws in a little action reminiscent of Dragon's
Lair. Reaction time is still a little slow, and resetting
is a bear, but if you have a young child just learning to
game (hey, fanboys and girls have to start somewhere), this
disc is just the right speed. Okay, okay - I let the last
rose petal fall. There. I've admitted it.
do my civic duty here and also report that some sites have
complained about some artifacting due to overcompression on
the first disc. On huge screens, this may be a problem, but
it wasn't noticeable on a 35" TV.
this is another good release from Disney, aesthetically only
marred by the odd decision to put advertising stickers directly
on the slipcover instead of the cellophane wrap. Try to convince
yourself it's not just about the money to be made.
Get Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition)