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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2011

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"Beauty and the Beast 3D" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-october-2011-beauty-and-beast-3d

Synopsis

The story begins as we are introduced to a cold hearted Prince who has been cursed by an enchantress to live as a beast until he can love another and earn her love in return.  Banished to his castle, he lives his life in solitude with only his servants, also transformed into different objects, for company.  One night, Maurice, a local inventor becomes lost and stumbles upon the castle.  When he asks for shelter, the Beast imprisons him.  His daughter Belle comes looking for him and offers herself in exchange for Maurice’s freedom.  He agrees but forces Belle to live in the castle forever.

When Belle goes exploring in the castle, she discovers the Beast’s secret and runs away.  Set upon by wolves, the Beast manages to rescue her.  She starts to see a glimmer of kindness in him and they soon begin to fall for each other.  Meanwhile, Gaston, who is determined to marry Belle, discovers the existence of the Beast and rallies the townspeople together to attack the castle.  During the battle the Beast nearly dies but not before Belle professes her love for him.  The curse is lifted and the Prince and all his servants are restored to human form.

Specifications

  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • 1991, Color, Rated G, 1 Hr 25 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Codec: MVC
  • 1080p
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring the voices of Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson and Richard White
  • Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

This has always been one of my favorite Disney animated features.  Not only did I see it in the theater, I owned it on VHS tape!  The acting and singing are just excellent and the story is a classic fairy tale; something that Disney does without equal.  I really appreciate the casting of Paige O’Hara and Richard White as Belle and Gaston.  Their musical performances are fantastic and no wonder given their extensive stage credits.  Kudos also to Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers and Angela Lansbury who bring a great comedic element to their parts.

This new presentation on 3D Blu-ray is a lot of fun.  It has a different look than Lion King; I suspect this is because it uses a lot of rendered backgrounds and mainly takes place indoors.  The effect is subtle but really pops when it needs to.  My favorite scene is the ballroom sequence with its exquisite imagery and music.  For Disney animation lovers, this is a must-own.

Technical

I can’t imagine the picture quality being any better.  Color is natural and beautifully saturated with just the right level of contrast.  The 3D effect is used sparingly but it always enhances and never distracts.  Since the moving objects are hand-drawn, they still look two-dimensional but on different planes from foreground to background.  The rendered elements look amazing especially inside the Beast’s castle.  2D or 3D, this transfer is a winner.

Audio is stunning too with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 encode.  The front soundstage is wide and deep with great-sounding dialog and lush transparent music coming from the main channels.  Surrounds and LFE are used sparingly but they are present.  The score by Alan Menken makes great use of a full orchestra and the songs are as timeless as they are beautiful.

Extras

I received the Diamond Edition which includes 3D and 2D Blu-rays, a DVD version and a digital copy.  Bonus features, most of which are in HD, run over five hours and include documentaries, audio commentary, and deleted scenes.  Also included is an extended version of the film that adds about seven minutes of content and a large collection of trailers for other Disney movies.