Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Writer: Linda Woolverton (animation screenplay)
Cast: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Jesse Corti
Storyline: “A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.” IMDB
I am so excited to watch Beauty and the Beast again! It was one of my favorite Disney movies, during the glory days (as far as I am concerned) of Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Lion King. This movie originally came out in 1994, when I was a Sophomore in highschool and to this day I remember all the songs by heart. I would always consider my best friend as “Belle” and I would make her sing the songs all the time (luckily she has a much better singing voice than me).
Although not as excited as American Girl I am still looking forward to watching this film again, it has been such a long time. I did own the soundtrack to this on CD along with the Little Mermaid and Aladdin, looking back at the release dates it appears that Beauty and the Beast sat firmly between these other classics.
Set the Scene
Brit Boy and I only have our three babies home, all six big kids are off to their respective parents’ houses. This happens only a few times a year, yet we embraced the moment to continue our blog journey. Our 8 month old and 2 year old were having a nap, and we curled up on the sofa with our 3.5 year old to watch the film. This would be the first time she has seen it. We pulled out our blue ray remastered disc and selected the “extended” version. Brit Boy and I both questioned if we could spot the 7 minutes of added time…
I must admit that initially I was shocked (and disappointed) at the animation. It wasn’t as I remembered at all. The animation seemed jerky, and not what I am used to with current animated films. It wasn’t until Brit Boy pointed out that Beauty and the Beast was made 24 years ago that I truly became in awe.
I’m in agreement that animation did unfortunately look dated, I’m not sure whether some of that was related to the Blu-Ray disk combined with the large screen tv. However it should be noted that this movie was an animation groundbreaker as it was the first feature use the CG techniques which are now commonplace with all the Marvel and Star Wars films. Well where did this happen Brit-Boy I hear you ask…well it was all centered around the large ballroom dance sequence. I’ve found a really interesting article here.
Belle joins a long line of Disney “Princesses” that are smart, strong-willed, and determined women. She may not be the Merida of our current time, but she didn’t swoon after men (Gaston), and she relished in dreaming of a life for herself. In an era of “Barbie”, I love that Disney started to show girls that there is so much more to life than being “pretty”. Belle definitely fit this bill, and Disney has continued to extend on this, creating positive role models for our daughters (and sons).
I completely agree, in fact the opening song “Belle – Bonjour” goes to great lengths to explain to the audience that Belle is regarded as weird by the towns populace because she always has her nose in a book. This is reinforced later in the film with Gastons introductory song outlining what an ignorant fool he is, brilliant writing (Alan Menken) and song choices once again by Disney.
Even after 24 years, I still love the songs, and sang along to them (ok in my head not out loud, but still…). Brit Boy and I think we spotted the added “seven minutes”, the biggest (in my opinion) being a brand new song. Wait, what? A new song??? How can this be?? “Human Again” sung by Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, and the Wardrobe. It definitely wasn’t my favorite, and I felt like it was too long (which probably led them to cut it), but I will probably always watch the extended version moving forward, because I feel like I would still miss it now that I know it was once there!
The added material in my mind did not really add anything additional to the story and I can see why it was cut in the released film, in fact I felt myself wanting the song to hurry up and finish so that we could get back to the story.
Ironically, our 3 1/2 year old daughter lost interest in the film multiple times. Granted she is a bit young to follow the plot and isn’t really into “princesses” yet, but I was surprised she didn’t enjoy it more. Maybe it was the dated animation? Maybe she was too young? Maybe it was too long? Time will tell, but I will try to watch it with her again. This movie is a classic.
I think we should certainly persevere with this and other Disney classics but maybe we should give it a few months before we try again.
I definitely feel like this deserves a spot on the list, and I hope some of my favorite Disney movies are still to come. Even after all these years the movie still filled me with the same energy it gave me when I was a teenager. I am sure the cult following for this movie led to the live action “Beauty and Beast” released in 2017 (which I also loved, and will do a separate blog post on).
I absolutely agree this is definitely a classic and deserves its place here.
Footnote – Six Degrees of Sir Richard Attenborough
This films link to Sir Richard is Angela Lansbury. She starred in the original “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) with Frank Sinatra, this was remade in 2004 with Denzel Washington playing the role of Ben Marco. Sir Richard Attenborough directed Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom.