Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Disney's Beauty and the Beast Charms A New Generation on Blu-Ray

I have fond memories of watching the Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast when I was a freshman in high school. It was my favorite of all of the Disney movies for several reasons. First, Belle was a smart, independent, bookish girl like myself. She wasn't looking for a man to complete her, and was quite happy to reject the town hunk rather than give in to someone she didn't like. Love came as a surprise with the Beast, and it involved both of them accepting each other for who they were. It wasn't the typical princess fairy tale we all have come to expect, and I liked that.

But I also loved the animation. I still can picture the shot of the chandelier while they were dancing during the song "Beauty and the Beast." It was the first extensive use of computer animation, and seeing such detail in that chandelier was amazing.

The music was also fantastic. I still own my original cassette of the soundtrack, and can still probably sing every word of "Be Our Guest." The film won two Academy Awards and two Grammy Awards for music, and was the first Disney animated film to inspire its own Broadway show.

In other words: I love this movie. It was one of the first Disney films that I truly fell for, and I'm thrilled that I can now show it to my smart, independent and bookish daughters.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition was released for the first time on Blu-ray in a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack on October 5, 2010. Included in this set is a fully remastered and restored version of the film on Blu-ray as well as a DVD copy, along with lots of bonus features and extras to keep the fun going well past the movie.

Some of the extras include deleted scenes, making-of and behind-the-scenes features, enhanced music tracks, and interactive games. There are three versions of the film you can choose from: the original theatrical release, the special extended edition that includes the song "Human Again" which was cut from the original version, and the storyboard version, which shows the storyboards alongside the film.

My favorite extra is the Sing-Along Mode, where the words of the songs appear on the screen so you can sing along. I know most of the songs, but it's nice to have a cheat sheet to help me teach my girls the songs as well. My youngest daughter loves the Enchanted Musical Challenge game, while my oldest likes to watch the "Belle in the Library" deleted scene storyboard.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a well-made addition to Disney's Blu-ray Diamond Edition collection. I compared it to my older DVD version of the movie, and they really did an excellent job at making the picture quality even sharper, the colors brighter, and the music even more enchanting. The extras are nice to have as well, but just the stunning quality of the film is worth the price.

The Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo pack is available now, and a DVD-only version of the movie will be available next month. Don't wait to get your copy - like all Disney movies, they're only available for a limited time before they go back into the vault - and you don't want to miss your chance to own one of the best Disney movies of all time.

Full Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of the DVD to facilitate my review. However, the opinions stated here are still 100% my own and I know I could out-sing most of you on the song "Belle" because I sang it all the time in my car in high school. Wait...did you just call me a geek?

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