Friday, September 27, 2013

Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991) Review

It's been a while since I reviewed a Disney Animated Classic film and I recently digged out Beauty and the Beast to re watch particular reason (really, I was bored) and since it's one of the only Disney films I have the soundtrack for (it was on sale), I think it's time to review one of the films grouped within the Disney Renaissance so is that for good reason? Let's find out.

In a quiet, simple village, Belle (Paige O'Hara) is a girl seen as an outcast who dreams of a more adventurous life. When her father (Rex Everhart) goes missing, she ventures out and finds an abandoned castle where is being kept prisoner. She reasons with the master of the castle to release her father and take her instead and learns that the master is a Prince who was transformed into a Beast (Robby Benson) 10 years ago. The village hero, Gaston (Richard White), is determined to marry Belle and starts to scheme a plan to force her into marriage whatever the cost may be.

This is easily one of the best looking Disney films. The character design is excellent (especially the Beast's design), it's coloured well (although Aladdin still has the best colour of any Disney film) and the backgrounds look beautiful (and yes, the CGI used in the ballroom is effective). Also we have some of the best voice acting in any Disney film. Paige O'Hara gives personality to Belle as do the rest of the stars and is supported by some of the best side characters such as Lumiere (Jeremy Orbach), Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers) and Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury). The characters are some of the most developed in Disney's history.

I mentioned I bought the soundtrack to this film...and for good reason. While not ALL of them are gems, there are some very good songs such as the memorable 'Be Our Guest' (my personal favouite), the eponymous 'Beauty and the Beast' and the very catchy villain song 'Gaston'. While it's not Disney's strongest soundtrack (it is very close though), it has some genuine gems that will stick with you forever.

Beauty and the Beast is one of the greatest Disney films and one of the greatest animated films, period. The animation is very nice looking, the voice acting is great, the songs are catchy and memorable and the story actually allows character development (especially the parallel in development time between Beast and Gaston). While Aladdin and Basil, The Great Mouse Detective are still my favourite Disney films, I wouldn't be surprised to find myself thinking that this is that far off my favourite.

One of the best looking, best sounding, best written and all round best Disney films.

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