3-D Version ***
Original Film Five Stars
I missed the recent re-release of "The Lion King" in 3-D. So, I made a concerted effort to catch "Beauty and the Beast" for it's 3-D re-release. Although both films are great, I like "Beauty and the Beast" more, so I made a greater effort.
In the late 80s, a new management team at Disney helped lead the venerable studio to a renaissance of animated films. An almost bankrupt institution, Disney found enormous financial and creative success with "The Little Mermaid", leading a string of popular animated films. "Beauty and the Beast", originally released in 1991, became the first, and so far only, animated film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Film.
The film is a magical blend of terrific storytelling, beautiful animation, wonderful music and great voice acting. Watching the film again, I found my foot unconsciously waving in the air during "Be Our Guest". The film is a classic
A vain prince refuses to provide shelter and air to a haggard old woman on a stormy night. She reveals herself to be a beautiful witch and places a curse on the prince, his castle and everything inside. The prince is turned into a beast and his staff become the household objects they used in their daily chores. Beast (Robby Benson) must find true love by his 21st birthday in order to lift the spell.
Belle (Paige O'Hara) is not like the other girls in her small French village. And this is exactly why the muscle bound Gaston (Richard White) wants her so badly. Belle's father, a scatterbrained inventor, gets lost in the woods and becomes the prisoner of the Beast. When Belle realizes this, she offers herself in exchange and what begins as a tormented relationship slowly begins to evolve.
Miss Potts (Angela Lansbury), Cogswoth (David Ogden-Stiers) and Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), the Beast's household staff watch with hopeful eyes.
From the opening frames, as the camera moves in on Beast's castle, the 3-D is beautiful, bringing the landscapes to life, giving them new beauty. In fact, the 3-D works best on the landscapes.
The process is more problematic for the characters. As you watch Belle or Beast move around, it almost seems like the focus of the 3-D effect is moving, as though the filmmakers added a bubble and moved it around to create the effect.
This actually began to make my eyes water and get tired very quickly. Pretty soon, I stopped trying to pay attention to the 3-D, to give my eyes some relief, and tried to enjoy the movie. It was difficult, but not impossible.
Because "Beauty and the Beast", and so many of the other films being re-released soon were not originally made in 3-D, it seems they will experience a similar fate. The process will work sometimes, but not consistently.
So, the question becomes "Is it worth paying $15 plus to see a film in theaters that is already available on DVD?" This depends on the film. I feel my money was well spent.
But next time, I'll go to a 2-D screening so I can experience the classic on the big screen again.