Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Aladdin", "The Little Mermaid"
The successful re-release of Disney's "The Lion King" in 3D last year has definitely unleashed the beast, pun intended, and this re-release of the classic tale of "Beauty And The Beast" is just as good, if not better. It is inconceivable to compare the epic Hamlet-esque "The Lion King" to this fairytale about a village girl, Belle, who longs for a life of adventure beyond her dreary village. When her father is captured by a Beast, she takes it upon herself to free him, offering herself in exchange as the Beast's prisoner. Unbeknownst to her, the Beast is actually a prince who was cursed into this hideous form due to his selfishness and the only way for him to break the spell is to love a girl and earn her love in return before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls, or he will remain a Beast forever. And from the movie comes the lesson of the year: "For who could ever learn to love beast?"
This is precisely one of the reasons why "Beauty And The Beast" remains so beloved till this day. It brims with moralistic elements that are still relevant to today's generation, such as the lines of the Mob song, which goes "We don't like what we don't understand, in fact it scares us, and this monster is mysterious at least," yet it does not feel overly preachy as it is cleverly done through the use of music. Humour and the human touch of characterisation cut through fairytale cliche to start, as Belle walks out of her house and into the provincial village. Paige O' Hara brilliantly brings the earnest young girl to life, with her eager talk about books and adventure as well as a reserved disdain for Gaston, the vain and shallow young man who has his eyes set on marrying her. Much of the humour comes from the enchanted inhabitants of the castle, such as Lumiere, the talking candlestick holder, Cogsworth, the talking clock, and Mrs. Potts, the talking teapot.
Although the story of "Beauty And The Beast" differs much from the original version of the fairytale, which saw Belle's father as a wealthy merchant instead of an eccentric inventor, and Belle is not his only child, but has three sisters, Disney provides an equally acceptable version. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise fully explored the story by choosing to tells it from an omniscient point of view instead of limiting it to Belle's, as per the literature.
The cinematography of the movie is also excellent, for the hand-drawn 2D animation managed to deliver more detail and depth compared to the 3D animation of the 21st century. For example, there are breathtaking scenes like when Belle runs into her backyard for the reprise of the song "Belle". The dollying camera effect of the iconic waltz sequence with Belle and the Beast is merely simulated within a 3D space is the one scene that required the use of computer-generated imagery, which testifies for the cinematography's excellence. However, as the movie itself had already brought in so much detail, there is nothing new to be experienced in this 3D re-release, other than nostalgia and that confirmation that Disney is just bringing in more cows to cash in on.
It should be mentioned that the songs in the movie continues the tradition of being Disney's hits. Notable favourites are "Belle", "Be Our Guest" and of course, the Academy Award-winning "Beauty And The Beast". But hardcore fans of "Beauty And The Beast" would be disappointed that this re-release of the 1991 film rather than the 2002 special edition, which features the song "Human Again". It is worth knowing that "Human Again" was replaced in favour of "Something There", due to the inconsistencies in the story's timeline that the song caused although it is then re-written for the 2002 re-release.
As a result, Disney's re-release of "Beauty And The Beast" manages to reaffirm that this movie is every bit the critical success it was back in 1991, and brings something of value to any of today's generation that have not been exposed to Disney classics yet. If anything, this animated musical-fantasy film should be re-released from time and time again as a national cultural history, for it brims with an emotion, imagination and modern implication that is rarely seen in movies of the same genre.Cinema Online, 12 February 2012