Beauty and the Beast (1991)

G   |    |  Animation, Family, Fantasy


Beauty and the Beast (1991) Poster

A prince cursed to spend his days as a hideous monster sets out to regain his humanity by earning a young woman's love.


8/10
412,819

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


27 March 2005 | bob the moo
Classy piece of animation
When an arrogant Prince turns away an old woman looking for shelter with only a rose for a gift, she warns him not to just take the surface appearance as being the all of a person; however he rejects her a second time – only for her to reveal herself as a beautiful enchantress. She casts a spell on him, turning him into a beast with the only hope of return being to fall in love with a woman and have her fall in love with him before the rose wilts and dies. Resembling a carpet stuffed with walnuts, the prince figures he has no chance and withdraws into his castle. When an elderly man wanders into the castle, the Beast holds him prisoner and only lets him go when his daughter, Belle, offers to replace him in the Beast's castle. With time running out, the Beast's staff hope that Belle will be the one to break the curse but the Beast cannot remember how.

Being quite a cynical, acerbic person I must admit that I prefer modern animated films that deliver lots of adult humour along with a good emotional story and often I struggle to enjoy films that take the more traditional Disney route. However with this film I was quite taken by how classy the whole affair was, with great effort being shown in every area from the animation, to the songs through to the emotionally involving story whose telling is touched with a nice sense of wonder throughout. The story doesn't really hit many bum notes (I thought Gaston's sidekick was a bit too obvious and half cooked) and it is interesting and enjoyable for the vast majority of the time. The story and comedy is aimed at both adults and children – but the stuff for kids is not basic pratfalls, nor is the adult material just a load of references or suggestive jokes. Instead the two are quite well blended with good physical comedy and plenty of wit. Again, it is the sense of spectacle and wonder that came through that I really appreciated.

The animation feels more impressive for the reliance on mostly traditional animation rather than computer effects – in fact the computer effects look a bit dated now, even if they do still produce the goods in some key scenes. Mainly it is the feeling that every frame has had a lot of effort and love put into it that makes the whole affair feel classy. The songs are also great and feature quite a few memorable songs that stick in the mind; meanwhile the choreography of these scenes is generally very imaginative (Be Our Guest was my favourite). The cast don't feature many big stars and perhaps this is good because the real people don't distract from their characters. That said, I thought that Benson, O'Hara, White and a few others were quite unremarkable even if they were good enough for the film. Orbach, Stiers, Lansbury and others provided comic work in the support characters and everything worked well.

Overall this is a really classy animated film that shows the effort and care put into it in many different regards. It does suffer a bit from cuteness and sentimentality but I didn't think this was a massive problem or something that was not to be expected from Disney and generally I really enjoyed the film and see it as one of the films that define Disney for people of my generation.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beast says only two words to Gaston, "Get out!"


Quotes

Narrator: Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter's night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and ...


Goofs

When Gaston knocks on Belle's door to propose, before opening the door she looks at him through a "peephole" gadget attached to the door. After he walks in, the inside of the door is seen and the gadget is no longer there.


Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits.


Alternate Versions

This film was re-released in IMAX and other large format theaters on January 1, 2002. The following changes were made to the film for this release:

  • The "In Association with Silver Screen Partners IV" credit is replaced with "The Special Edition Of--" on the opening title sequence. The 2002 Platinum Edition DVD omits this credit and the Walt Disney Pictures Presents credit stays on screen.
  • The 2002 Platinum Edition DVD omits the Beast's "stutter" ("You wan-wanna stay in the tower?").
  • The animation in some of the scenes went back through the clean-up animation department a second time, to correct problems such as wavering lines and missing details, which, while not very noticeable during a traditional 35mm showing of the film, would have been discomforting on a much large IMAX screen. Small details, such as the blood in Beast's wound after his fight with the wolves, were also added.
  • At the end of the "Something There" sequence, the background has been changed from Belle and Beast in front of the fireplace to an empty hallway, and a bit of the character animation has also been altered in this shot.
  • Six minutes of new footage was added between the songs "Something There" and "Beauty and the Beast," most of which is made up of a new musical sequence, "Human Again." This song was written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken for the original version of the film, but cut for continuity purposes. After Alan Menken altered the song to make it work for the Broadway stage version of Beauty and the Beast, the song was worked back into the film.
  • During the "Human Again" song sequence, the household objects clean up the Beast's castle, which necessitated having the background artists go back and digitally re-paint the backgrounds for the castle scenes that followed so that the castle was clean.
  • The animation for Cogsworth's line to the Beast after Belle is freed ("Yes-yes-yes, but...why?") was completely re-done, as the directors never liked how the animation looked in the original version.
  • New sound effects are added to the shot where Belle and Phillippe leave the castle to find Maurice, which are supposed to suggest that the Beast trashes his room in anguish (and also so that the backgrounds from this point on would not have to be repainted).
  • The ending credits are longer to necessitate the addition of an additional passage of score music, the version of the 'Transformation' theme that was cut out of the original film, to the end of the film.


Soundtracks

Belle
(uncredited)
Music by
Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Performed by Paige O'Hara, Richard White, Alec Murphy, Mary Kay Bergman, Kath Soucie, and Chorus
Produced by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Arranged by Alan Menken and Danny Troob
Orchestrated by Danny Troob

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Animation | Family | Fantasy | Musical | Romance

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$162,146 17 November 1991

Gross USA:

$218,967,620

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$440,118,382

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