It has been over 15 years since I’ve seen the 1991 animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise’s family musical and, with that, a special Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD release of the film on home video from Disney.
For those that don’t know the story, it’s fairly simple. When Belle’s sick father gets imprisoned by a beast in a terrifying castle, Belle offers to switch places with her father so that he can be free. Unbeknownst to Belle, the Beast is actually a prince who has been cursed and the spell can only be broken once he finds true love and his love admits it to him as well. After an initial disdain for each other, the two begin to hit it off, finding common ground thanks to the enchanted group of household appliances and furniture. When Belle’s father warns the town of the Beast’s terrifying nature, the nasty Gaston leads a hunting party to kill the beast and capture Belle’s heart.
Revisiting a film like Beauty and the Beast after so many years had me worried initially, would the film hold up? Would all the jokes land properly? How does the animation look in comparison to the last Disney Signature Release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The answer is yes, yes, and incredible. The HD version of this film is absolutely stunning. The colors pop, the animation is terrific and the film will capture your heart immediately the way it did the world when it was first released.
The story, while simple, is captivating, fun and engulfs you completely. I’m not a fan of musicals but it is hard to deny the quality of the songwriting in this film which is complemented wonderfully by the peppy script. The pacing of the film never allows for a dull moment and, before you have a chance to think about hitting the pause button, you’re already near the end of the film. For me, that’s the big selling point. The speed, the energy, and the genuinely fun entertainment that unfolds on screen is worth every penny for any Disney lover or parent looking to subdue their child for 85 minutes.
Unless you’re under the age of 10, chances are you’ve seen Beauty and the Beast. There isn’t much else I can say about the film that you don’t already know. That being said, the reason you buy this film isn’t just for the regular ‘ol flick. You buy it to see it in glorious HD, to see the colors pulsating vividly on a 4K screen. You pick it up to explore the plethora of amazing special features (which are described below). With three different versions of the film available, including a sing-a-long version, there’s a lot joy to experience with this specific release. Plus, there’s all the cinephile goodness with behind the scenes voice casting featurettes and informative interviews with the cast and crew of the film.
BLU-RAY, DIGITAL HD* & DISNEY MOVIES ANYWHERE:
Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration – Get a front-row seat for an intimate discussion between legendary music composers from classic and future Disney films, including Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”), Stephen Schwartz (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas”), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”), Robert Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s upcoming “Moana”). Discover how the composers are personally connected, how they first experienced “Beauty and the Beast” and how they find inspiration for their own films. And watch as they pay tribute to the film’s award-winning music score and the man who has inspired them all—Alan Menken.
#1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & Beauty and the Beast – Long before “Beauty and the Beast” became the instant classic we know and love, Walt Disney made two attempts—between the 1930s and 1950s—to adapt the famous fairy tale into an animated film. Discover what Walt and his team was dreaming up through Walt’s actual voice recordings, archived artwork, story notes, and learn why the project was sidelined for decades.
Always Belle – The original voice of Belle, Paige O’Hara, reminisces about earning the role of the beautiful bookworm in “Beauty and the Beast” and recalls how the iconic character changed her life and continues to inspire fans both young and old.
The Recording Sessions – Go in the recording booth with the cast of Beauty and the Beast and see what went into adding voices to the characters and the lines we know and love.
25 Fun Facts About Beauty and the Beast – Disney Channel’s Gus Kamp and Kayla Maisonet host this entertaining countdown featuring little-known fun facts, anecdotes and hidden Easter Eggs (references to Disney animated films and characters) from one of the most cherished animated films of all time.
“Beauty and The Beast” Sneak Peek – An exciting first look into the live-action re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.
DIGITAL HD* & DISNEY MOVIES ANYWHERE:
Classic Bonus Features – These offerings from prior home entertainment releases include over five hours of bonus material, such as an alternate version of “Be Our Guest” and the “Beauty and the Beast” music video performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, and deleted scenes.
Beauty and the Beast is now available as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection