Saturday, 17 September 2016

Blu-ray Review - Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition

Rated G; 85minutes (theatrical version);$39.99; Amazon
Being released this Tuesday from Walt Disney Home Entertainment is Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition Signature Collection 2-disc set (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD, featuring four different versions of the film - Original Theatrical, Special Edition, and a Sing-Along version (on Blu-ray and Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere)). A Work-In-Process version is available on Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere.

Originally released to theaters in 1991, Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to receive an Academy Award nomination for best picture. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, the film features the voice talents of Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bradley Michael Pierce, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Hal Smith, and Jo Anne Worley.

Based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a Prince Adam who had refused to let a beggar into his castle; in return for his rudeness a curse was put upon him, turning him into a beast. The beggar gives him a magic mirror and a magical rose. He has until his 21st birthday to find a woman that will fall in love with him, despite his beast-like looks. If he fails to do so, he will remain a beast forever.

Ten years later, a man named Maurice takes shelter inside the castle, but unfortunately this upsets the Beast, who tosses the man inside a dungeon. Shortly later, the man's daughter, Belle, finds his horse, Phillipe, and goes searching for him. She stumbles upon the castle and finds her father, but she also finds the Beast. Being a loving daughter, Belle offers to replace her father as prisoner, and the Beast agrees to her terms.

After being put in the dungeon very briefly, the Beast has a change of heart and gives Belle her own room. This is where she learns that a curse had been put on the Beast's servants (Lumière the candlestick, Cogsworth the clock, Mrs. Potts the teapot, and her son Chip the teacup) too. All the servants instantly like Belle, and they all help her see the good side of the Beast.

As for the Beast, knowing that his 21st birthday is near, tries to control his anger and attempts to romance Belle. This is a love story, so of course the two fall in love. However, Belle's other suitor, Gaston, wants her for himself.

Bonus Features on the Blu-ray includes:

  • Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical InspirationGet a front-row seat for an intimate discussion between legendary music composers from classic and future Disney films, including Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”), Stephen Schwartz (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas”), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”), Robert Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s upcoming “Moana”). Discover how the composers are personally connected, how they first experienced “Beauty and the Beast” and how they find inspiration for their own films. And watch as they pay tribute to the film’s award-winning music score and the man who has inspired them all—Alan Menken.

  • #1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & Beauty and the BeastLong before “Beauty and the Beast” became the instant classic we know and love, Walt Disney made two attempts—between the 1930s and 1950s—to adapt the famous fairy tale into an animated film. Discover what Walt and his team was dreaming up through Walt’s actual voice recordings, archived artwork, story notes, and learn why the project was sidelined for decades.

  • Always BelleThe original voice of Belle, Paige O’Hara, reminisces about earning the role of the beautiful bookworm in “Beauty and the Beast” and recalls how the iconic character changed her life and continues to inspire fans both young and old. The Recording Sessions – Go in the recording booth with the cast of Beauty and the Beast and see what went into adding voices to the characters and the lines we know and love.

  • 25 Fun Facts About Beauty and the BeastDisney Channel’s Gus Kamp and Kayla Maisonet host this entertaining countdown featuring little-known fun facts, anecdotes and hidden Easter Eggs (references to Disney animated films and characters) from one of the most cherished animated films of all time.

  • “Beauty and The Beast” Sneak PeekAn exciting first look into the live-action re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.

  • Classic Bonus FeaturesThese offerings from prior home entertainment releases include over five hours of bonus material, such as an alternate version of “Be Our Guest” and the “Beauty and the Beast” music video performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, and deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts: I had only seen Disney's Beauty and the Beast once during it's original release in theaters. I was ten-years-old back then when I was dragged by my mother, grandmother, and my aunt (she's only six-years-older) to the local one-screen theater to go a Saturday matinee screening of the film. Like I said, I was a ten-years-old who liked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and horror flicks, so the last thing I wanted to do was to watch a princess cartoon. Now as an adult, I don't mind watching princess movies, like Snow White, The Little Mermaid, etc.; actually, I like almost all animated movies, especially the older ones.

There are three different versions on the Blu-ray - the original theatrical version, the Special Edition with the added "Human Again" sequence, and the all-new Sing-Along version.

The picture quality on the Blu-ray is clean and crisp with bright colors. The sound is also excellent.

There are plenty of special features and extras, including a sneak peak at next year's live-action film starring Emma Watson.

Overall, Disney's Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition is an adorable animated classic that looks great on Blu-ray. I can only recall bits and pieces from the movie, so it was like watching it for the first time; though I actually wanted to view the film this time around.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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