Disney follows up last year’s theatrical re-release of one of their finest animated masterpieces with Beauty and the Beast 3D: Diamond Edition, which brings their beloved 1991 classic home like never before. The first animated feature ever to be nominated for Best Picture, there’s little that needs to be said about this updated musical take on the classic tale. While it can’t match their recent Blu-ray release of The Lion King 3D feature-for-feature, folks who missed out on last year’s Blu-ray release (and lucky enough to have a 3D setup) are in for a magical treat as this version is better than ever, while also featuring some pretty beastly special features.
1991 seems like it was only yesterday, when I saw Beauty and the Beast on home video the day it was released. It was a fun, musical edition of a beloved children’s tale that only Disney could make. The story follows the lovely Belle, who seeks more than just having a boring, ordinary life, while avoiding the passes of the brutish Gaston who wants her as his wife. When her father accidently stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and becomes his prisoner, Belle sets off to rescue him and asks the beast to take her instead. It’s here when she learns that he used to be a vain prince who was cursed by an enchantress, along with his servants. They can only return to normal if he finds true love before all the petals of a magic rose fall off. Can Belle help the beast and his servants return to normal before Gaston comes to kill him and rescue her?
I have to say, for a person that’s usually not impressed with 3D, I really enjoyed watching Beauty and the Beast in 3D, as it looks simply amazing. From the trees that that seem to rush at you as Belle makes her way through the forest, to the infamous ballroom scene, they’ve never looked better than they do here. The enhanced effect is made ever better by the beautiful Blu-ray transfer of the film, as the picture has never been sharper or more clean than presented here. The characters, details, and colors literally jump off the screen as you watch, which will make fans feel as though they’re seeing the film again for the first time. The sound is just as equally impressive, as the tried and true 7.1 DTS-HD master audio makes sure every song, piece of dialogue, and action sound is heard loud and crystal clear.
Disney has once again outdone themselves with the special features here, as there are far too many to mention. I’ll just point out some of the more interesting ones, such as the regular 2D Blu-ray disc including three different versions of the film. There’s the original 1991 theatrical version, the special-edition with “Human Again” song / scene added, and the original film with a picture in picture view that showcases a work in progress cut of the film. It also features audio commentary with producer Don Hahn, directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, and composer Alan Menken, as they share their fond memories of working on the movie.
“Broadway Beginnings” is a series of small features starring Debbie Gibson, Andrea McArdle, Donny Osmond, and Joe Jonas, all of whom have performed in the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, and they share their experiences working on it. “Composing a Classic” features composer Alan Menken, film producer Don Hahn, and film historian Richard Kraft discussing the making behind the film’s songs. There’s also plenty more documentaries and features, deleted scenes, art galleries, music videos, and more on this discs included in the set.
Beauty and the Beast 3D is a wonderful, magically musical treat that families will enjoy time and again, one that has been made even better in this ambitious 3D transfer. The story is as timeless as ever, the animation just as spectacular (including Pixar’s famous ballroom scene), and the soundtrack remains one of the Disney’s best. The gorgeous high-definition transfer and incredible sound mastering only accentuate this, and there’s so many special features and bonus extras that you’ll never look at the film the same way again. If you haven’t seen this amazing film, or for whatever reason haven’t seen it in awhile, I suggest drop what you’re doing and pick up your copy today. It’s truly a tale as old as time, and you’ll be glad that you let this 3D beast loose in your home.
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Walt Disney Video