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Beauty and the Beast is without a doubt one of Disney's finest
classics. The first animated film to ever be nominated for best picture
and after you see it, you could understand and agree with it's
nomination. Beauty and the Beast is going to be one of those films that
will always be remembered, I know that it's a movie that I will show my
children one day. It has unbelievably terrific animation, a beautiful
story, lovable characters, and is just over all a perfect movie. I
really love this film so much, I don't think anyone couldn't fall in
love with it.
Bell is just a simple girl in her town in France, she reads books constantly and her father is an inventor. They are sort of the outcasts of their town due to their "oddness". But Bell is being pursued by the town hunk, Gueston, simply because she's the one girl he cannot have. One day when her father's inventions are about to be displayed at the fair, he gets lost in the woods and stumbles across a castle and is held prisoner. Bell goes after him and comes to the castle; it turns out that her father is being held by a beast who is cursed with this hideousness unless he finds a true love before a rose he has welts. Bell trades places with her father; the house also has living objects, a candle holder, a clock, a tea pot, all who are also cursed until the curse is broken. They look at Bell as the perfect opportunity for the beast to find a true love, but he must learn to be a gentleman, but Bell brings out the best in him and it turns out that this might be a happy ending after all.
This was actually the first movie that I ever cried in, the ending was just so beautiful and heart felt, you'll have to see what I mean. The songs are just so lovely and perfect for the scenes that they are performed for. Beauty and the Beast, the song, was just one of the most touching songs ever. This films is a major recommendation for me, it's one of my favorite Disney films of all time, it's a timeless classic that is just perfect and reached a new level of great animation.
The only animated movie to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, and it
Magic from the opening prologue to the final credit, "Beauty and the Beast" is the last real classic to come from the Disney crew before John Lasseter came along. This was one of the few movies I happily paid to see twice in the cinema, and sitting in a sparsely-populated Friday night audience (I was living in Barbados at the time, and it was hardly the most artistic place on Earth... it was a crying shame that there was hardly anyone there while "Home Alone 2" went through the roof) the second time, the magic remained.
You all know the story, so apart from pointing out the movie's one flaw (the prince's spell had to be broken before he turned 21 or he would remain a beast forever; so if it was cast ten years before the events of the movie, wouldn't that mean he was 11 when the spell was cast...?), let's look at how well the movie works. You have a monster who's more human than the movie's medallion-man villain; you have a heroine who's PC but engaging with it; you have a supporting cast of magic utensils who wisely never upstage the couple at the centre of this love story (and despite the Disney animated trappings, it IS a love story); and you have a captivating story, beautifully told.
The movie's also got wonderful design of its French setting and characters, with the ballroom scene a standout (the tiny but appreciative audience were impressed by the sight of the Beast and Belle in their evening wear - the only time I've ever seen cartoon characters get wolf-whistled in a cinema); and Alan Menken's score is his finest work for the Mouse, with matchless lyrics from the late and much lamented Howard Ashman - how many musicals can you name where ALL the songs are brilliant? But ultimately it's the movie's very real heart that makes it a keeper; the cliche "You'll laugh, you'll cry" is all too true in this case. A lot of movies called 'classic' don't deserve that appellation, but this one does.
I'll be slaughtered by anime fans, but what the hell... one "Beauty and the Beast" is worth a thousand "Akira"s. And "Shrek"s. And, I'm willing to bet, "Treasure Planet"s. This is a truly adult animated feature that's also one for the entire family. Forget "The Silence of the Lambs" - this is the real best picture of 1991.
a great movie story done with wondrous animation and lovely music. the
pacing was perfect, the music blended extremely well with the action, and
each character was developed charmingly. the contrast between the mean but
insecure beast plays very well against the lovely but bright and secure
belle. the animation was top notch: even now, after disney has had time to
develop better computer animation techniques, it still has beautiful color
and flow. except for pinocchio, I don't know any disney movie more lovely.
It's a movie that appeals to children of all ages, especially adults :
enough of the "technical stuff" let's get on to my emotional attachment to the movie.
I remember the first time I saw B&tB so vividly; I was completely enthralled by the movie that all I could do on the way home was smile and cry. I've seen it many, many times, yet the ballroom scene still gives me goose bumps. Angela Landsbury as Mrs. Potts sings the title song with so much feeling that every time I hear the song, I'm swept away back to that ballroom.
I was also moved by Belle's strength of self worth and generosity. She is a heroine I'd love girls to emulate. She knows what she wants, but yet is sensitive to others in trying to achieve that goal. She also learns to apologize and to forgive, no small task.
I've loved this movie from the start, and it has grown into an obsession. I collect everything I can now, and watch it when I need a lift. So I know my opinion is strongly biased : ) but I hope you get a chance to see this film and judge for yourself. I realize it is difficult to get access to the videos or laser discs (check out the spanish version cover imdb is using in B&tB's page) but it is well worth the search. The first time is most magical. I envy you.
I've not seen the newly added song sequence (Human Again) featured in the
latest IMAX version so my comments are based entirely on the original
theatrical and VHS release.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is Disney at its peak. From the stained glass window at the opening and the beautiful narration, the viewer is drawn into the story by the appealing music and clever lyrics ("Belle's Song") which gets the picture off to a bouncy start. The opening sequence showing Belle and the townspeople in song is masterfully handled and choreographed for maximum effect, setting the tone for the entire story.
The plot becomes thicker once Belle's father enters the castle grounds where the Beast resides. The castle interiors are brilliantly Baroque and the odd characters inhabiting the grounds are delightfully rendered by a perfect blending of art and voice talent. Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts are delightful creations, each with strong, consistent personalities. David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury cannot be praised enough for their contributions.
Two of the musical highlights are Orbach's dazzling job on "Be My Guest" (with French accent) and Angela's tender rendering of the title song, "Beauty and the Beast". Unforgettable movie moments. As Gaston, Richard White's robust baritone voice adds greatly to the effectiveness of his villainy.
It's no wonder the film was the first to receive recognition by the Academy with a Best Picture nomination. Outstanding in every department, including the end title song sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson in a more "modern" style.
Along with SNOW WHITE and SLEEPING BEAUTY, a top-notch fairy tale with its appeal evenly divided between adults and children--as well as the child in all of us.
Beauty and the Beast is an engaging movie with so much care and beauty
fused into its core. Beauty is much more than just an influential
animated classic. It is a grand and powerful fable, sugar coated with
the best animation effort in a time where CGI was becoming a movie
mainstay. In its finest moments, Beauty is a rousing musical, making
your head move and getting caught up right in the mix. The score is
unforgettable and the characters are so easy to get into. A movie that
children and adults alike will love, Disney deserved its Academy Award
nominations for creating such a joy.
Small town Belle longs for more than a local life, maintaining her imagination through books and taking care of her kind, yet eccentric father. But when their horse returns without papa, Belle sets out to find the awful truth in an enchanted castle.
You can see that so much time and care was spent in drawing this masterpiece. I cannot think of many other movies that show such meticulous background and animation. That such effort is woven effortlessly into its songs that make Beauty and the Beast the timeless classic Disney rightfully lauds itself over. 'Be Our Guest,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Gaston,' you will be humming these songs at one point in your your life! Kudos to Disney for creating a charismatic, attractive villain in Gaston. He would not be a villain if he was not such a jerk. You must watch this movie at least once in your life, in a comfortable sofa and with the sound turned right up for the Broadway scores. You will enjoy it!
Indeed, it's a tale as old as time, with a complex message that is as
ageless as it is universal; but beneath all the layers it can be summed up
very simply: love one another, and refrain from judging others who `seem'
to be `different.' And leave it to Disney to present it in such a way that
it can be embraced and understood by young and old alike as they have here,
in one of their best animated features ever, `Beauty and the Beast,'
directed by Gary Trousdale. When a young Prince fails the test of an
enchantress disguised as an old hag, she transforms him into a hideous
beast, as he is destined to remain until he opens his heart and learns how
to love and be loved in return. And so that he'll know where he stands as
time goes by, she gives him an enchanted rose, which will bloom until his
twenty-first birthday, and he has only until the last petal falls from the
flower to effect the change within himself that will be his salvation.
The beast, however, seems doomed, as he shuts himself away, alone in his castle, taking up a reclusive existence far from everyone and everything. Until, one day, a beautiful young woman named Belle shows up at his doorstep. Belle is searching for her inventor father, Maurice, who disappeared while taking one of his latest inventions to the fair; and his trail leads Belle to the castle of the Beast, where she discovers he is being held prisoner, having run afoul of the Beast by trespassing while lost during the night of his journey. Repulsed by the appearance of the Beast, Belle nevertheless strikes a bargain with him: If he will release her father, she will stay in his place. The Beast agrees, with the stipulation that she must remain with him forever. And as the Beast casts Belle's father from the castle and sends him on his way, Belle's fate seems sealed. The only hope now for either Belle or the Beast lies in the remote possibility that true love may somehow prevail before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls.
With the help of a richly textured screenplay (by Linda Woolverton) that invests the characters with a depth of humanity that is often lacking even in `non' animated films, and an Oscar winning score by Alan Menken, director Trousdale provides some real insights into human nature in this retelling of the familiar story of how true love can change even the darkest and coldest of hearts. There's magic in this film, which holds an enchantment of it's own, and the message is presented ever so subtly and with a sensitivity that draws you in gradually until you are so caught up in the story that you become immersed and totally involved without being consciously aware of it. It's a film that enfolds you and takes you where it will, and you go willingly. A beautifully rendered and realized film that successfully transcends it's genre, it is the first animated feature ever to be recognized and rewarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Movie (quite a feat in itself, as it received the nod over such films as `The Fisher King,' `Fried Green Tomatoes,' `Thelma and Louise' and John Singleton's `Boyz N the Hood' that year).
The talented cast supplying the voices of the characters includes Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (The Beast), Richard White (Gaston), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Bradley Pierce (Chip), Rex Everhart (Maurice), Jesse Corti (LeFou), Hal Smith (Phillipe), Jo Ann Worley (Wardrobe), Brian Cummings (Stove), Alvin Epstein (Bookseller) and Kimmy Robertson (Featherduster). There's a scene in this film that is so entrancing and so emotionally involving that it stands up against the best from any drama ever made: As Angela Lansbury (as Mrs. Potts) sings the Oscar winning title song, Belle begins to perceive the true nature of the man within the Beast; and it's no longer the cold-hearted Prince upon whom the enchantress cast her spell, because he has changed. And as they come together and the Beast takes Belle in his arms, sweeping her in dance across the elegant ballroom floor, it becomes one of those rare cinematic `moments' that are entirely transporting, and it does, indeed, take you away. It's a memorable scene that exemplifies the quality and craftsmanship of this film, as does the scene in which the Beast is at last transformed; that such emotion can be captured and expressed in an animated film is an exemplary accomplishment, and it's all a part of why `Beauty and the Beast' is one of Disney's all time greatest films.
One final note: Stay for the credits to hear Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's title song once again, this time performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. Hypnotically beautiful, this version has a magic all it's own and makes the perfect ending to an enchanting experience. It's all a part of the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
This is a classic movie. We have breakthrough films like Snow White and Fantasia, and we have other greats like Aladdin and The Lion King, but this definitely tops them all. There is so much here that is missing in other Disney classics. This film has emotion, incredible music and animation, characters that you admire, laugh at, and despise. This movie is a fun ride from beginning to end. We can all relate with the suffering of the Beast (being an outsider), and we all know a Gaston in our lives. The way we can identify with the characters sucks us into the story. Don't miss this classic...the only animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
Who can resist this beautiful story? I love the fact that even though Belle hated Beast at first, she saw underneath that he was a kind and gentle soul, and didn't care what he looked like on the outside! And what girl hasn't known a Gaston in their lives? I thought it was so great how he was put in his place! All the voiceovers are amazing, especially Robby Benson as Beast. Another Disney masterpiece.
When an arrogant Prince turns away an old woman looking for shelter
with only a rose for a gift, she warns him not to just take the surface
appearance as being the all of a person; however he rejects her a
second time only for her to reveal herself as a beautiful
enchantress. She casts a spell on him, turning him into a beast with
the only hope of return being to fall in love with a woman and have her
fall in love with him before the rose wilts and dies. Resembling a
carpet stuffed with walnuts, the prince figures he has no chance and
withdraws into his castle. When an elderly man wanders into the castle,
the Beast holds him prisoner and only lets him go when his daughter,
Belle, offers to replace him in the Beast's castle. With time running
out, the Beast's staff hope that Belle will be the one to break the
curse but the Beast cannot remember how.
Being quite a cynical, acerbic person I must admit that I prefer modern animated films that deliver lots of adult humour along with a good emotional story and often I struggle to enjoy films that take the more traditional Disney route. However with this film I was quite taken by how classy the whole affair was, with great effort being shown in every area from the animation, to the songs through to the emotionally involving story whose telling is touched with a nice sense of wonder throughout. The story doesn't really hit many bum notes (I thought Gaston's sidekick was a bit too obvious and half cooked) and it is interesting and enjoyable for the vast majority of the time. The story and comedy is aimed at both adults and children but the stuff for kids is not basic pratfalls, nor is the adult material just a load of references or suggestive jokes. Instead the two are quite well blended with good physical comedy and plenty of wit. Again, it is the sense of spectacle and wonder that came through that I really appreciated.
The animation feels more impressive for the reliance on mostly traditional animation rather than computer effects in fact the computer effects look a bit dated now, even if they do still produce the goods in some key scenes. Mainly it is the feeling that every frame has had a lot of effort and love put into it that makes the whole affair feel classy. The songs are also great and feature quite a few memorable songs that stick in the mind; meanwhile the choreography of these scenes is generally very imaginative (Be Our Guest was my favourite). The cast don't feature many big stars and perhaps this is good because the real people don't distract from their characters. That said, I thought that Benson, O'Hara, White and a few others were quite unremarkable even if they were good enough for the film. Orbach, Stiers, Lansbury and others provided comic work in the support characters and everything worked well.
Overall this is a really classy animated film that shows the effort and care put into it in many different regards. It does suffer a bit from cuteness and sentimentality but I didn't think this was a massive problem or something that was not to be expected from Disney and generally I really enjoyed the film and see it as one of the films that define Disney for people of my generation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Traditional versions of this story feature a good and handsome prince
who has been cursed by a wicked fairy. The Disney version's basic
premise is entirely different: the prince had been selfish and was
consequently punished -justifiably- by a good fairy. He is described in
a voice-over as "spoiled, selfish, and unkind." The Beast has until his
twenty-first birthday, until the enchanted rose petals begin falling,
to remove the spell. To do that, he must not only be loved in spite of
his outward ugliness (as in traditional versions) but also learn how to
love in spite of his inward shallowness (unlike traditional versions).
A new character has been added, too: Gaston, the village bully and
braggart. Vain, ignorant, arrogant, and preposterously macho, Gaston
excels at hunting, brawling, drinking, and spitting. The Disney version
also eliminates Beauty's evil sisters.
There is a reason for these changes a political one. The major male characters, representing men in general, are evil in either the bestial or sexist sense. On the other hand, there is only one major female character, and she is flawless. Apart from her physical charms, Belle is good. She feels compassion for the Beast. She is intelligent,ambitious, heroic, & liberated. In traditional versions, the Beast is interesting and even appealing in his own right. Indeed, he is often more important than Beauty not only to boys but to girls as well. Despite its title, this new version is not about Beauty and the Beast: it is about Beauty alone. In other words, a story that had once been addressed to both girls and boys, helping each learn something different, is now addressed only to girls. Belle is obviously a feminist from late twentieth-century America projected as a "fairy tale" back to what looks more or less like eighteenth-century France. In itself, this might be fine; girls do need to see strong and competent female characters on screen. The problem here is not what this movie does for girls but what it does to boys. According to traditional versions, the Beast is thoroughly human from the beginning. He just looks like a beast. He knows how to love but must learn how to be loved. A male counterpart to the female protagonist of "Sleeping Beauty," he must wait for someone to love him (as he really is). It is Beauty who must learn how to love. She discovers the difference between sexual attraction, for instance, and true love. Although physical beauty is only skin-deep, spiritual beauty is not. Or, to put it differently, she discovers that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a matter not of the object seen but of the way it is seen." Only when Beauty herself is transformed by maturity can she transform the Beast by "magic." And she transforms only his outward appearance, not his inner being.
Although Disney's horrid Beast finally turns into a sweet prince, he is just another patriarchal villain for most of the story, a "grouchy bison" who growls and snarls at everyone who fails to obey him instantly. Actually, he is nothing more than a depressed version of Gaston. Both are archetypal villains for feminists, because they are not merely evil but evil in a way that is specifically and stereotypically male, masculine, or both. Because only male characters are evil in this cinematic world, and because both major male characters are evil, maleness itself is identified with evil. It is true, once again, that the Beast turns good but only after Belle goes into action. She transforms him both metaphorically and literally from a beast into a fully human being. So the problem with men is not merely cultural, according to this movie, as it would have been if men had been represented only by the hyper-masculine Gaston. It is also ontological, because Disney's Beast, unlike his prototypes, was inhumane (not ideally human) even before he became inhuman (not human at all). Men belong to some alien species, by implication, until women work on them. Like the Beast who slops his food all over the table, men are supposedly "mean, and coarse, and unrefined" until women civilise them. And even then, the effort can fail: Gaston, irremediable and unredeemable, is therefore trashed by being thrown off a parapet. To be sure, this movie says something "positive" to girls. Femaleness confers not only autonomy but also superiority. But it says something very negative to boys. Maleness confers dependence and inferiority. The males exist only to provide occasions documenting Belle's self-liberation. Nor does the Beast contribute anything to her voyage of self-realisation. It is not his surface appearance that prevents Belle from loving him, according to Disney, but his actual behaviour.
If there is any message at all here for boys, it is that they are superfluous at best and contemptible at worst. For Belle, unlike either Beauty or the Beast, the source of darkness is "out there," not "in here." So how is all this an improvement over earlier forms of gender stereotyping? According to some, it is just a healthy "alternative." But a healthy alternative for whom? And what about an alternative to sexism of any kind? Would it have been so difficult to produce a fairy tale that affirms both femaleness and maleness?
And my goodness, the songs are awful too.
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