DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Beauty and the Beast, Blu-ray 3D 5-Disc Combo Pack (1991/2011)

Wonderful to have this super-classic Disney animation in 3D.

Published on September 13, 2012

Beauty and the Beast, Blu-ray 3D 5-Disc Combo Pack Diamond Edition (1991/2011)

Voices: Paige O’Hara, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, Richard White, Robby Benson
Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Studio: Walt Disney Studios 107788 [10/4/11] (Blu-ray 3D+2 Blu-rays+DVD+Digital Copy)
Video: 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1, DD 2.0
Subtitles: French, Spanish
Extras: On 2D Blu-rays = 3 versions of film, “Broadway Beginnings,” Music video, Deleted scenes, Disney Sing Along, “Beyond Beauty” – the untold stories, “Enchanted Musical Challenge” game, BD Live, More…On DVD = 3 versions of film & Disney Sing Along
Length: 84 minutes
Rating: *****

Beauty and the Beast is the only animation feature to ever receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, and its title song did win an Oscar for Best Song in 1991. This was the second feature I had seen years ago in 2D and now was seeing in 3D. The first was Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder, and although that was converted to polarized 3D, today’s 3D is light years better than what was done back in the earlier 3D period.

I don’t think I need to lay out the story line here. Disney’s ornamentation of the original fairy tale is a delight, with the added hunter Gaston vying for Belle’s heart and the joking and dancing household things of the Beast’s castle—including Jerry Orbach’s hilarious Maurice Chevalier candlestick. The funniest of the songs has to be Gaston’s, with the line “I use antlers in all my decorating.”

The first of the three films is the unfinished version shown at the New York Film Festival six weeks before the movie’s premiere. The second is the 1991 theatrical release, which is the 3D version. The third film is the special edition, with the added song “Human Again.” All three have the DTS-HD 7.1 audio tracks, so perhaps that’s why they needed so many discs. Some have complained about rough details in the hand-drawn animation, but I didn’t notice anything that seemed a problem. Perhaps I was distracted by the 3D. A few videophiles say both Pinocchio and Snow White got better Blu-ray transfers.

The 3D is great fun, but I did notice that while sometimes it had considerable depth, at other times it had various flat layers like 3D in comic books. There are a few effects that look like Disney had 3D in mind from the beginning, such as Gaston’s spear sticking out of the screen.  There are cheaper versions on less than five separate discs, but this one looks beautiful in either 2D or 3D.

—John Sunier




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