||Outstanding development on the part of
the sets, animation, dialog, songs, and of course, the characters, this
movie is a real gem.
The animation is beautiful Disney, pure
and simple. Some call this the pinnacle of Disney animation, though I
think that goes to The Lion King. But I understand the sentiment. The
detail that went into the set locations, both indoor and outdoor, was
amazing. There were some shots that looked like they were taken with a
real camera, because they were so complex. One of these takes place at
the very beginning, as we sweep around the town with Belle -it was
extremely three-dimensional. The other is the ballroom dance, with Belle
and Beast dancing up a storm -something the animators could only do with
the help of a computer! Amazing.
The characters were also drawn
wonderfully. Inanimate objects are easy, I'm sure, to the professional
animator. Bringing them to life, giving them individual personalities,
must be altogether different. These characters are nothing but human, in
another guise. It is easy to tell that they once had human form. Of the
actual humans, Belle was the beauty that everybody says she was. She was
not a knockout bombshell, but extremely attractive in every way. She had
what we call "Disney eyes" (common to so many of the early Disney films
like Snow White, and Bambi, all the way to The Little Mermaid
and Jasmine from Aladdin), even
when she was scowling as Gaston dropped her books into the water. Gaston
was huge and burly, well suited to his role. And of course Beast was at
times terrifying, at others a beauty in his own way. All of the
characters were wonderfully depicted.
Of course, the actors behind the
characters also did a terrific job, helped by outstanding writing. I
don't remember this movie being so funny! Funniest has to be Lumiere,
especially the way he's always chasing the women around! What makes him
funnier, however, is his interaction with Cogsworth. The pair make a
wonderful comic team. Every time they break into song (including the new
"Human Again" for the Special Edition), I was reduced to fits of laughter.
The most touching song, I think, was
not "Beauty and the Beast", though that one was also quite beautiful -I
think it has to be "Something There", as they grow to see each other in
a new light. I was swept away by that. There was also the added comic
touch by having Chip wonder what is there that wasn't there before! The
funniest song is without a doubt "Gaston", especially when combined with
truly hilarious visuals!
I liked how Beast finally learned
restraint by the end, though he learned it on a person who felt no
remorse -Gaston had no trouble attacking him when Beast turned his back.
So Gaston met his end through his own fault, which is also a pure Disney
What I have seen of the extras on this
DVD are quite impressive. The stories behind the story were
entertaining, even though they felt rather short. I would have preferred
to have a long documentary than so many short ones. Still, I've only
watched half of them so far, and I was very impressed with the
information given, especially on the difficulties in making this film.
Some of the extras are very different from what one would expect.
As a character story, a musical, an
adventure, this movie succeeds. As a true comedy, it is also terrific.
As an animated film, this was truly an achievement rarely rivalled. I
loved it, and will treasure this one.