Disney animated films have become part of almost every movie lovers history. The films you grew up with, the ones that came before you that you grew to love, and the films released since that you have either enjoyed with your kids or just enjoyed on your own as a discerning adult. But even Disney has its benchmarks and one of the biggest ones is Beauty and the Beast. Released in 1991, it was a huge hit on release and has become even bigger with each year that passes since. It is a timeless wonderful story that audiences have clung to and deservedly so, it is a wonderful film. This month a new Beauty and the Beast: Walt Disney Signature Collection 25th Anniversary Edition release is hitting shelves and if you do not have this classic tale yet, this is a great one to pick up.
Belle (Paige O’Hara) is a smart young maiden in a small provincial French village living with her brilliant if bumbling inventor father, Maurice (Rex Everhart). When Maurice goes missing in the woods and stumbles upon a cursed castle, he is taken prisoner but when Belle finds out she offers to take his place to the castle’s mysterious owner, a large ill-tempered beast. But as they spend more time behind the same walls, Belle learns there is much more to the Beast than she thought and the Beast thinks perhaps Belle could be the one love that could break the spell that curses him once and for all.
Beauty and the Beast is such a timeless tale, the story alone would make for a great movie. But when Disney takes the story in their hands, especially in the early 90s when Disney was starting to reinvent the way it told animated stories, the result became a thing of serendipity and produced one of the most entertaining, beautiful and lovely animated films ever made. Every character is memorable, funny, and authentic, the music is catchy and of the highest caliber, not the type of throwaway songs in many animated films, and the animation, one of the first times traditional animation was blended with computer animation, is stunning, rich, full of depth and extraordinarily beautiful.
This new Beauty and the Beast: Walt Disney Signature Collection 25th Anniversary Edition has tons of goodies for fans of the film including three versions of the film, the original theatrical, the extended branched version and the theatrical sing-along version. It also includes a great tribute to Alan Menken, an Always Belle featurette, a doc on the recording sessions, and with the digital copy, the workprint version and hours of classic bonus material. Very highly recommended.