Customer Review

88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale as Old as Time, 1 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Beauty and the Beast (Blu-ray + DVD, with Blu-ray Packaging) (Blu-ray)
Just consider for a moment that this film was nominated for an Oscar among other wonderful films of its day, such as Silence of The Lambs, Terminator 2, Hook and even JFK. Now that is rare for animation... This is pivotal in itself for so often in the past, the animated film has been considered expendable amongst the recognition of live action films. Beauty and The Beast broke that mould however with its throwback to the glory days of traditional Disney animation. The film does not try to be clever, nor does it hold any sophisticated meaning apart from one simple truth; that love can prevail when one looks beyond appearance. How fitting it is then that our protagonist 'Belle', the young book lover and son of an inventor, is at first horrified by the appearance of the ghastly Beast, living alone in his gloomy (yet enchanted!) castle - yet once she see's beyond the cover, the contents is undoubtedly loveable.

This is only half the value of the movie, for the soundtrack lends itself as an important motive to the films enjoyment. Every single song from the film is memorable both in lyric and melody, making it all the more sad that the lyricist Howard Ashman passed away before the movie was even released. It's also challenging to say that much of Beauty and The Beast's music is more emotionally captivating than many of the studio's efforts beforehand. This is no fluke - it was a need and a wanting to return to importance of sound within animation.

'Diamond Edition' - Disney's latest blurb for their hand-picked movies that they consider to the studio's finest, though I would argue this entirely given that 'Fantasia' was dropped from the line only earlier this year (for some reason...), and that itself was pivotal in movie history. Needless, Beauty and The Beast has had possibly Disney's best ever treatment. Not only do you get a nice selection of extra features on the movie discs (both Blu-Ray and DVD), but the package as usual has yet another Blu-Ray disc dedicated to extras - so many that the back of the case can't fit them all. A week of owning this product has not been enough to join Lumiere in the virtual-castle and seek all the extra features that are on offer. Disney have frankly pulled out all the stops here, and it doesn't disappoint in any single way.

On a note of Disc formats, a few people are confused about the whole 'Double Play' description and what you get with the product. This is made all the worse because Disney, in a vein attempt to move people to Blu-Ray, have released the exact same product only in a DVD case. Essentially, the disc layout is the following, and this applies to ALL Diamond/Platinum Editions;

1 x Blu-Ray [Movie Disc, With Extras]
1 x DVD [Movie Disc, With *limited* Extras]
1 x Blu-Ray [Extras Disc - "Bonus Material"]

Therefore, PLEASE be aware that the dedicated "Bonus Material" is a Blu-Ray, NOT a DVD. If you want just a DVD only product, you will have to wait until it is released;

Beauty and the Beast [DVD]

On a final note, 'Double Play' simply means that the FILM can be played in both Blu-Ray and DVD formats within that product. Furthermore, a 'Triple Play' product means you get a Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital copy of the film to watch in that product. I know, it's all rather uncalled for and I have sympathy for those who are confused to find the alternative 'DVD Packaging' of the same product in the DVD section of high-street stores.

Picture quality needs very little mention, essentially because the film itself was mastered on digital files, and therefore does not require the same 35mm film scanning that older Disney films require from Lowry Digital. However, it will look dramatically different. The colour timing has been shifted away from any release seen before and into, what was stated, the "intended palette', meaning even the theatrical release never looked this good. Background paintings are stable and lush, revealing gorgeous water-colour detail. The animation is pin-sharp, itself revealing all the original pencil lines. It's as pristine as it will ever look. The sound also benefits Blu-Ray for the lossless format booms with emotion, just increasing that dynamic range and giving the Beast a menacing growl, while the music pierces the top ends.

Presented in a glorious slip-case and intuitive menu system, Beauty and The Beast has reached the treatment it deserves. With bags of humor and lessons of love, it is truly the ultimate family film and couldn't have been released at a better time. There is just something so majestic about this film that, as Belle and Beast dance through the Ball-Room and the camera tracks down from the ceiling, it is obvious animation can go beyond what live action may offer - possibly even touching the viewer and placing them in that very scene, such is the beauty of the artwork and relationship to the title song 'Beauty and The Beast'. It was just the right film at the right time.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Nov 2010 17:07:36 GMT
marybear says:
Just recieved my copy today in the post and watched it straightaway. When watching the extra special features on the PS3, I noticed too that parts of it freeze and the sound goes and then it skips forward. I thought it was just me, but from reading your comment it can't be!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2010 18:43:45 GMT
Picard says:
Thats really helpful, thanks for the feedback! I have actually been on a few forums and many people (if not, almost all users involved) had the exact same problem. It's nothing to do with the discs which is a good thing, but just the software of the Blu-Ray player. In this case, Sony will introduce an update soon.

:)

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2010 10:23:18 GMT
MyKeyReviews says:
I had random freezing also when playing on the PS3, although the actual film itself was fine :)

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2010 10:26:27 GMT
Picard says:
Thanks J.M! :) Did you pre-order Fantasia too?

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2010 23:16:17 GMT
The bonus disc documentary, when I click enter on the first "added" feature it glitches - the sound goes and then it skips. Very annoying!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Nov 2010 10:29:19 GMT
MyKeyReviews says:
Naw, I don't have the money spare for that atm :P

Posted on 12 Nov 2010 11:51:33 GMT
Andy K says:
Quality review, many thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2010 12:38:34 GMT
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are indeed a fantastic composing team. They rescue this movie which in all other respects is standard Disney hash. Don't forget, the story - as in almost everything from The Mouse - is a standard folk-tale from France which they attack with their habitual lack of imagination. Turn the picture off and just listen to the songs. Or better still, go and see Little Shop of Horrors, Ashman and Menken with added spectacle.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 18:35:54 GMT
Kloklo says:
Happened to me too... Lets hope an update will fix this otherwise I forsee disney losing a few millions.... :P

Posted on 4 Jul 2011 17:25:08 BDT
Can anybody who has this UK version of Beauty and the Beast confirm that it does indeed have a Portuguese sound track? I'm in the US, so if anybody has any knowledge about whether this disc is region free, that would be very helpful also. Thanks!
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Picard
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