'Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition'
(Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, et al / 3-Disc Blu Ray+DVD / G / (1991) 2010 / Disney)
Overview: The film that officially signaled Disney's animation renaissance (following The Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, Beauty and the Beast remains the yardstick by which all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father's place, imprisoned in the Beast's gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle teaches the Beast to love.
Blu-Ray: The Walt Disney Company's 1991 animated film 'Beauty and the Beast' is remarkable for the way it balances the demands of the classic story with its own stated aims of providing family-friendly entertainment. This film has very little in common with the classic Jean Cocteau film of 1946, but in certain key scenes it also does not disregard the mature angles of the tale.
With the voice talents of Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson and Angela Lansbury, it opens its story in an ideal French village following a short prologue detailing the origins of the Beast. In the village, the heroine Belle is a bit of an odd duck, always reading books and avoiding the advances of Gaston, the local brawny sportsman who rudely courts her. She is much more interested in looking after her father, the eccentric inventor Maurice. When Maurice gets sidetracked on his way to a tradeshow, his and Belle's lives will change forever.
The differentiating factor which marks this adaptation as Disney's own is its supreme narrative balance. While it is very clear the Beast can be dangerous, he is much more tormented than evil. By contrast, Gaston, who is beautiful in the eyes of the village, is a vain, soulless greedy man.
And so, in conclusion, Belle is witty, curious, and fun with a bold edge that makes you root for her throughout the film. Colorful animation sequences and wonderful songs bring the story to life on the screen. The backgrounds are stunning, each hand painted with oils and each holding that special detail only a brush can capture. All of the characters are fun to follow, especially the blond triplets that adore Gaston, and even Gaston's sidekick is a riot that takes a bit away from the serious tone of the tale. I still love it!
With excellent songs like "Poor Provincial Town," "Be Our Guest," and the stirringly romantic title song, Walt Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" will continue to be applauded for a long time. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Restored film
• Three versions of the film
• Original theatrical release
• Special extended edition
• Original storyboard version (BD-exclusive)
• Original theatrical version with a PIP of the storyboard
• Disney song along mode
• Audio Commentary
• Beyond Beauty: The Untold Stories Behind Making Beauty And The Beast (interactive)
• Broadway Beginnings – Up close and personal celebrity interviews with Nick Jonas, Donny Osmond, Toni Braxton, and others who have starred in the Broadway production
• Composing a Classic: A Musical Conversation With Alan Menken, Don Hahn, and Richard Kraft
• Deleted scenes
o Alternate opening (boards)
o Belle in the library – never-before-seen moment where Belle meets three new characters in the library
• Art galleries – Only available inside the “Beyond Beauty Experience”
• Family play games
o Enchanted Challenge: help Belle and the Beast fall in love in order to break the spell before the last petal falls (Disney Quest)
o Bon Jour, Who Is This? A Disney TelePlay Game – Powered by BD-Live. Using your cell phone, guess the identity of the other players before they guess yours
• Music & more!
o All-new music video
• Classic DVD bonus features