Tuesday, January 18, 2011

# 9: Beauty and the Beast (Diamond Edition three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo blu-ray-packaging)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 135 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars What's wrong with this movie?, October 11, 2002 The biggest flaw in this story ... is that it makes a 45-year-old man cry like a child every time I watch it. My opinions on Disney movies vary -- some are good, some are almost unwatchable -- but "Beauty and the Beast" is the best work the studio has ever done.

Why do I love this movie so much? I think it's the music. In some musicals (animated or live), as soon as a song begins, the story comes to a grinding halt. (Can anyone remember one tune from "Mulan"?) But in this film, the music by Ashman and Menken advances the story marvellously. Animation and voice acting combine in a near-flawless performance, and the use of computer animation in the ballroom dance sequence was ground-breaking in its time.

As for the added features, the added song "Human Again" is a wonderful fun number. I can understand why it was left out of the original version, but its inclusion really doesn't detract from the story (it's another big production number like "Be Our Guest", not really essential to the plot, but helps us get to know the supporting characters).

The "making of" features are fairly interesting; the on-disk games I can take or leave. But the film itself is still the gem, worth the purchase price all by itself; the standard by which all other Disney movies are measured.

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74 of 87 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Disney Classic, September 4, 2003 Belle is bored with life in her village. Her only escape is her books, and she longs to have an adventure of her own. When her father heads out to a fair, he gets lots, and Belle finds him in an enchanted castle. The objects are thrilled, because if she and their master, the Beast, fall in love, they will all be freed from the enchantment. But will Belle be able to see past the outward appearance? And what about the handsome bore back home who wants to marry Belle?

I feel in love with this movie the first time I saw it, and that love has only grown over the years. The story is the right mix of fun and uncertainty. Gaston was a wonderful addition to the mix because his story was the part I was most uncertain about the first time around. The artwork on the film catches your eye from the first shot of the castle, and doesn't let go. Beside the incredible background shots are wonderful drawings of the characters. I especially love the boyish excitement they manage to give the Beast in several scenes. Finally, there's the music. Every song adds to the story and is memorable in its own right.

This DVD is perfect for any fan of this movie. Disc 1 includes three versions of the film. The first is the "in progress" version shown to the New York film festival 6 weeks before the premier of the movie in 1991. While it's fun to have, I won't be watching it regularly. The second version is the original release. And finally comes the special edition, with the added scene and "Human Again." Ironically, this is probably my least favorite of the songs added to the Broadway version, but it does advance the story. And, there's always the option of watching the original version. Obviously, the version that you are supposed to watch is the special edition, as the audio commentary and sing along bonus features only work with this option. All three come in Dolby 5.1 sound, which sounds great.

The second disc features hours of bonus material. Most of it focuses on the making of this movie. Everything is covered, from original idea through characters and the Broadway version and special edition. Galleries show character designs over the course of the project. Also featured is the original treatments for "Human Again" and "Be Our Guest." Celebrity voices give background on the original story and Disney versions of classic tales. And there's a fun documentary as the stars of "Even Stevens" take a backstage look at all the work that goes into making a feature animated film.

This is the only film so far to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Watching the film, the reason is clear. This is something the entire family can enjoy. Don't miss your opportunity to catch this classic film.

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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing transfer, October 10, 2010 This review is from: Beauty and the Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) (Blu-ray) We all know that "Beauty & the Beast" is a "5 star" movie. It's too bad this transfer is not. This is exactly the reason Amazon needs a two-rating system. One for the movie & the other for the actual product. Nobody is getting their movie reviews from Amazon, believe me. What we need to know is if the DVD or Blu-ray is good.

So, let me start by pointing out the good. You get all 3 versions of the movie. The sound is excellent. Very level, deep when it need to be & the music sounds clear & full. Colors in the movie are bright, while the darks are perfect, with no sign of artifacts in them.

Now we get to the bad stuff. Let's face it, when we're buying any kind of video product, the picture is the most important thing. If the picture stinks, the whole think stinks. And although the picture on this Blu-ray doesn't stink, it's not perfect. Far from perfect in fact.

Let's start with the first problem, the lines. In hand-drawn animation, the lines are everything. If they are not constant & clear, the characters lose some of their realism. The lines in Beauty & the Beast are very thin, which is great for details. However, digital media is just not able to handle thin lines correctly. Several times pieces of a line will disappear into the color behind it. Most noticeably on Cogworth's face. His clock face will come through & "bloom" over most of the lines on his face, losing most of the detail. But the main problem with the lines in this transfer are the white "halos" around them. It seems like they used edge enhancements on the characters. But I'm not 100% sure this is what they did, as this halo never appears on any of the backgrounds. All I know is that at certain times, characters will have these halos surrounding their lines. The Beast takes the brunt of this & looks terrible in every shot. Just check out the sharp ends of his fur to see what I mean. Gaston also suffers from this, especially his face. What I did notice is that for the first half of the film, the lines seem to have been drawn with a dark brown color. Later on, the lines are black & this halo problem lessens. So I'm thinking that the problem is the digital media of Blu-Ray, even though it's high-def is not able to handle the dark brown lines against any brown-based back (flesh, brown fur, tan). When I saw this film at an IMAX theater, I did notice some of the same problems with the lines. So maybe the problem isn't even the transfer, but the actual film itself. Maybe the transfer is just so high-detail it's showing the film's flaws. In any case, these line problems can be distracting at times & I found myself noticing them & focusing on them, rather than the movie itself. Which is not a good thing.

Other video problems include graininess within certain colors, especially yellows or gold, like Lumiere. There is also an annoying strobe like problem, when the action seems to be going fast. This was most noticeable when Maurice is escaping the wolves.

To finish up, we all know the movie is great. Unfortunately, this film just doesn't look as good as let's say Pinocchio or Snow White. Which is kind of amazing, considering those movies are 50+ years older than this one.

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