Beauty and the Beast (1991)

G   |    |  Animation, Family, Fantasy


Beauty and the Beast (1991) Poster

A selfish prince is cursed to become a monster for the rest of his life, unless he learns to fall in love with a beautiful young woman he keeps prisoner.

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  • Paige O'Hara at an event for Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Paige O'Hara at an event for Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Director Kirk Wise discusses the 3-D version of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Jerry Orbach in Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • David Ogden Stiers in Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Robby Benson and Paige O'Hara in Beauty and the Beast (1991)

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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

The first stained-glass window seen in the prologue has the Latin phrase 'vincit qui se vincit', which means, in a subtle prefiguring of the arc of the whole story, 'He conquers, who conquers himself.'


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

In the song "Gaston" when Gaston sings "when I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs, every morning to help me get large" he grabs the eggs and swallows them whole. LeFou attempts the same to only have them fall on his face. After he says "so I'm roughly the size of a barge!" and shoots his gun, a bowl of eggs appears on the counter.


Crazy Credits

"To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman (1950-1991)"


Alternate Versions

In the 2010 Diamond Edition release and current releases, the original 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo was replaced with the current 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo and the 2007 Steamboat Willie-inspired Walt Disney Animation Studios logo was added in. These changes were also made in the 3D re-release.


Soundtracks

Something There
(uncredited)
Music by
Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Performed by Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, and David Ogden Stiers
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

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