Reviewed by: Timothy Flick
humility versus egotism and pride
music in the Bible
human becomes an animal
girl held hostage
father daughter relationship
Paige O'Hara … Belle (voice)
Robby Benson … Beast (voice)
Richard White … Gaston (voice)
Jerry Orbach … Lumiere (voice)
David Ogden Stiers … Cogsworth/Narrator (voice)
Angela Lansbury … Mrs. Potts (voice)
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Walt Disney Pictures
Silver Screen Partners IV
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|Distributor||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“The most beautiful love story ever told as it has never been seen before.”
Calling something timeless is quite a profound exclamation. When considering films that impacted multiple generations, one would have a rather thin catalog to sift through. “Beauty and the Beast” is undoubtedly timeless; it continues as it did in 1991 to bring a lighthearted joy to audiences. Looking around the theater while watching the newly released 3D version, it was a different experience seeing parents reliving what they experienced as a child, bringing their children to experience the same wonderful movie that affected them over 20 years ago.
Unlike many films made in the 90s, “Beauty and the Beast” truly shows no signs of age. It carries with similar depth and breadth that works in this day. Being the only animated film to win Best Picture at the Golden Globes and the first Disney film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars® since “Mary Poppins” in 1964, it is no surprise the sheer adoration millions have for this film.
If you are not familiar with the movie, it centers around a once-majestic prince that has become selfish and shallow in his thinking. One night, he is visited by what seemed to be an old hag, and was unable to see her inner beauty; he judges her by her haggard appearance and turns her away. But to his dismay, the hag transforms before his eyes into the enchantress that she truly was. Because of his selfishness, she places a curse on him and his kingdom, materialized by a red rose. If he does not learn to truly love and be loved by another, he will forever be the beast that he is transformed into. The other main character that becomes a part of his life is Belle, a young and lively woman who lives in a small village with her father, Maurice, an eccentric inventor.
The village is filled with a myriad of characters, one being the “beastly”—pun intended—Gaston, who is desperately vying for Belle’s affection. Gaston is a brutish and hulking man who constantly has women falling over him, but Belle’s disdain towards him and greater interest in a grander life greatly increases his desire to woo her. The story truly begins to develop when Belle’s father becomes lost in the woods, stumbling upon a castle full of enchanted creatures and the Beast. With the disappearance of her father, Belle comes across the same castle only to be confronted by the Beast, as well. In exchange for her father’s freedom, Belle concedes to permanent imprisonment in the Beast’s castle. Seeing this as an opportunity to break the spell, the Beast, with the help of his enchanted assistants, looks to show Belle that he is capable of love.
The film is by all means the definition of a classic and hits all the beats that high quality films should. The comparison of this film to quality and “family-friendly entertainment” is in such contrast in 2012 that is disappointing. Yet, it is refreshing to see audiences captivated by decades-old films like this, as well as the massive success of “The Lion King” back in September. “Beauty and the Beast” is a beautifully entertaining film that melds wonderful music, humor, drama, and a love story—all created on sheets of paper.
The 3-D of aspect of the film is not a phenomenal transformation of the film, but it does provide a fresh look for those who have seen it time and again. Something else I noticed was that some animations and set pieces felt reworked, either digitized for the 3-D diversion or purely to clean up some of the handdrawn animations. This was specifically noticeable in the Belle and Beast ballroom scene. If it was reworked, I appreciate Disney for not just shoving the film to theatres. If it is all original, I find it a little mindblowing that some of that animation is 20 years old. Simply enough, if you have seen the film dozens of times, there is still something different to experience in 3-D.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
The Beast is greatly punished by his selfishness and vanity, just as we have the ultimate punishment for our sins. Acting Christ-like, putting Jesus and others above our own selfish desire, in the way that the Beast did with Belle, will bring joy to God.
Regarding objectionable content, the film is very minor in all departments. Profanity is nonexistent. The only thing found suggestive would be the way some of the female characters show cleavage, dressed in the typical 18th century garb, and that beer is drunk during one of the musical numbers. The violence is a little heavy at the end where a confrontation between characters leads to one falling off a building. Some scenes could be scary to very young children and characters are wounded with blood being shown.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.