It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since Beauty and the Beast first graced the big screen, and forever found its way into our hearts. It was famously the first animated film ever nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and both the film and its music have won many awards since its release. Disney has re-released the film on the big screen in 3D, and since most families already own the movie on DVD or Blu-ray, the question will be is it worth it? The answer is definitely.
The Beauty and the Beast 3D experience begins with a delightful short film sequel to Tangled, called Tangled Ever After. In it, Rapunzel and Eugene (Flynn Ryder) are finally getting married, and are having a lavish royal wedding. Maximus the horse is the ring bearer, and Pascal the chameleon is the flower lizard, perched atop Maximus’ head and happily throwing flowers everywhere. One flower gets caught in Maximus’ nose, he sneezes, and the wedding rings roll out of the castle and through the town. The two frantically careen through town after the rings, managing to hilariously disrupt everything being prepped for the reception. The short film had the entire theater laughing and cheering.
And then it begins: that opening scene that tells the tale of the selfish, conceited prince who turned away the old beggar woman and was transformed into the beast as a result. This background story is told mainly through images in stained glass windows, which might not seem like the best visual format to make use of the 3D, but that’s not the case. The opening sequence is made even more breathtaking; the 3D enhances every dimension of the landscape around the castle, every detail in the windows, and makes it look like the most beautiful pop-up book you’ve ever seen. When the narrator asks, “For who could ever learn to love a Beast?” and the title card comes onscreen, the entire screening audience applauded.
As the movie progresses, the 3D only gives a little more dimension. It’s really noticeable during the bigger production numbers such as “Be Our Guest”, which is utterly joyful and enchanting, and also during the ballroom scene “Beauty and the Beast”, where every detail of that already gorgeous ballroom is enhanced. The climactic fight between Gaston and the Beast on top of the castle is heart-pounding, and when Gaston falls to his death, the 3D effects make him look like he is shrinking away from the audience.
Beauty and the Beast is really a joy to see on the big screen again, and it’s just even more beautiful in 3D. The screening audience was comprised mostly of young children, many little toddler girls donning their Belle dresses, and throughout the entire movie, nearly a single sound could be heard. The adults were laughing at the funny parts and the children were quite literally under the spell of this classic film. Beauty and the Beast 3D is definitely worth the cost; seeing a Disney film on the big screen is an experience not to miss.
Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Notable Cast: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers
Writer(s): Linda Woolverton, Roger Allers