Beauty and the Beast has always had a place in my top ten favourite films list. It was one of the first VHS tapes I ever owned and at the ripe old age of twenty-six my love of the film hasn’t waned.
PLOT: Belle's father Maurice gets lost in the woods and seeks shelter in an old castle. After Maurice is taken captive by Beast Belle offers to take his place as the Beast’s prisoner. Little does Belle know that the Beast, his staff and the castle are all trapped under a spell. The Beast must fall in love and be loved in return by his twenty-first birthday otherwise the castle will remain enchanted forever. END PLOT
As I have previously said that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite films perhaps you will forgive my gushing when I freely admit that it is also my favourite love story. The film captures the romance and the fantasy element ridiculously well and I am trying to resist using the word magical to describe it.
I love Belle, who is a nerdy social outcast, and also the Beast, who is angry and frustrated by his predicament. By the time Beast has given Belle the library my mind has turned to soppy mush – this is coming from someone who prefers swearing and explosions over hearts and flowers!
Beauty and the Beast is probably one of the few Disney films that doesn’t have a celebrity voiced sidekick – there is no Genie or Mushu to give us comedy relief. Instead we get the bickering double act of Cogsworth and Lumiere and the kindly Mrs Potts as support. There are light hearted moments but Beauty and the Beast focuses more on the story of Belle and the Beast rather than broad comedy.
Despite Beauty and the Beast being just over twenty years old the arrogant Gaston remains a brilliant villain. The fact that he is the villain just for being an obnoxious prick makes him one of the most realistic bad guys in the Disney back catalogue!
The score is instantly recognisable with the piano heavy “Prologue” and “West Wing” being two of the most listened to songs in my movie play list! "Be Our Guest" is one of Disney's most famous songs but I have always thought it to be the weakest in the film. “Kill the Beast”, “Gaston” and "Belle (reprise)" are all stronger offerings.
Seeing Beauty and the Beast at the cinema was an opportunity not to be missed but I was surprised by how different it looked from my dvd. On the big screen the background animation, the horizon and at times the villagers, looked noticeably basic although it has to be said that the main animation was fine. It is very likely that a blu-ray release is on the way and I don’t doubt that I will be crying over how beautiful it looks when it arrives.
I skipped the 3D version although I can’t imagine that I have missed much. The ballroom dance scene is probably the only part of the film that may have been enhanced by 3D.
Beauty and the Beast is a film I absolutely love and one that I will never tire of – it is the easiest 10/10 I will ever give. Disney loves to double-dip therefore it is very likely that in another twenty years time Disney will re-re-release the film and I’d like to think that I will take my kids to see it. If not I will be there on opening weekend at the very ripe old age of forty-six still living my life with the naive notion that I could still be Belle.