Disney’s Beauty & the Beast 3D Review

Disney’s long held tradition of vaulting their classics and reissuing them for a new generation has reached a new level of technology. It used to be that it was just enough to keep it out of reach for a few years only to re-issue it to a batch of newbies who have never seen some of Disney’s classics. But with the type of savvy kids with far advanced command of technology these days, it will take more than just a re-release to get them into the theaters.

Disney is aware of this and for that reason Beauty and the Beast gets a massive theatrical re-release in eye-popping 3-D. It’s been twenty years since this seminal work of animation revolutionized the way kid films were made – not only with the artistic manner in which they were developed, but also in the content of the stories themselves. It’s easy to call this Disney classic a masterpiece.

For one thing, this film remains as enchanting as ever. Belle’s (voiced by Page O’Hara) quest to find “adventure in the great wide somewhere” fully aware that there is “more to this provincial life,” reaches epic scope on the big screen for the little ones who have never seen it in theatrical release. The romance that evolves with the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson) is as timeless as is the movie itself. For that reason alone, it is worth the price of an evening out at the movies. Then there’s the music. It was Howard Ashman’s farewell in top form (he passed away of AIDS shortly before the film’s release). Fashioned like a Broadway musical, the music is memorable from its opening showstopper to its spectacular “Be Our Guest.” It helps that Broadway veterans Jerry Orbach (Lumiere) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts) lend their voices to a couple of the most memorable inanimate objects come to life—particularly the recognizable voice of Lansbury in the theme song, “Beauty and the Beast.” It comes as no surprise that Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category.

Still, the 3D gimmick is a double-edged sword that both improves and takes away from the experience as a whole. In places, the additional dimension enhances the computer graphics that were so revolutionary when it first premiered in 1991. In others, it calls too much attention to the limitations of adapting it to 3D, particularly in the design of the characters. They were not meant to be seen in 3D. Sure, the portions of the film rendered by computer animation lend themselves to that technology, giving depth to the scene, but the remaining picture (which was still hand drawn) remains 2-dimensional.

Even with that flaw, Beauty and the Beast remains a gem in the Disney catalogue. It should be seen on the big screen for the first time and once again.


About Obed Medina
Obed received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Riverside. He has freelanced and volunteered at various theatre companies in Los Angeles since 2002. He launched his own workshop theatre company (Askew Theatre Company) in 2008 and has produced six original one-act plays and one Off-Broadway hit. Currently, he is living in Ashland, Oregon working on his writing and relaunching Askew Theatre Company in Southern Oregon.

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