Beauty and the Beast Reviews
The way this story progresses and develops is very expertly paced to ensure you get enough of each character to understand their personality and who they are as people. The introductions of these characters are handled with perfection as these are the key moments that will shape your perception of Belle, Beast, and Gaston for the entire film. How Belle and Gaston are introduced through song is done so cleverly as you very quickly understand their character, their hobbies, their attitude towards life, and their relationship without having to go through multiple sequences of backstory and setup. And the way the plot moves along, swapping the focus between each of the main characters is done so seamlessly that you never get distracted or overwhelmed by the various side plots all progressing at the same time. As i mentioned, it is a tragic but also a beautiful story, there are moments of romance, moments of humour, drama, and of horror that are all integrated in a way to where the overall tone of the film doesn't come across as disjointed at all.
The performances here from this ensemble cast are all just fantastic, and this creates very engaging, believable, and entertaining chemistry between the various characters. Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (Beast), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), Angela Lansbury (Mrs Potts), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth), and Richard White (Gaston) all put in fantastic voice performances selling each of their characters very well and creating everlasting memorable roles that will be the basis for these characters in any adaptation going forward. You cannot talk about Beauty and the Beast without extensively highlighting the amazing soundtrack of classic songs by Alan Menken that turn what would be a magical film into a wonderful enchanting tale. The way the songs play into the story is done very well to where they play more of a role than just giving you something to sing. They give you insight about the characters and how they feel at the time, and actually, much of the story in the film is conveyed through musical pieces integrating the music with the film forever.
With great characters, instantly recognisable music, incredible animation, and a gripping and touching story this is just an all round fantastic Disney animated feature. And when you throw in the lessons of looking past ones exterior and getting to know someone for who they really are on the inside this becomes a story that transcends generations, hence the reason we now have a modern live-action retelling of the story for a new audience.
Most of us know the story to this one. A young, spoiled prince is transformed into a beast by an enchantress after his selfish behavior towards her in a beggar disguise. This spell on the prince also affects his servants as they are transformed into household objects (candlesticks, clocks, teapots, etc.). He is to remain a beast for the rest of his life unless he earns the love of another person in exchange for their love before his 21st birthday.
We are then introduced to Belle, a beautiful young woman who loves to read books and dreams of a better life than the one she is currently living. She is tired of a repetitive life in the village she lives in. Although a town hero named Gaston has interest in marrying her, Belle could care less. Her father heads out of town, but gets lost along the way and stumbles upon the Beast's castle. When the Beast takes him prisoner for trespassing and Belle discovers the Beast's castle searching for her father, Belle volunteers to take his place and save her father's life. At first, neither of these two have any interest in getting to know each other. But as time passes and certain events take place, these two eventually start to open up and develop feelings to one another.
Beauty and the Beast has some of the most breathtaking animation and visuals the Disney Studios have ever put out. It's the type of drawing that simply needs to be seen in able for one to truly appreciate the craft behind it. Some well-drawn scenes include the introduction with the stained glass windows, the "Be Our Guest" number, and the ballroom scene. If you want further proof why I believe 2D animation is superior to 3D animation, then take a look at what this film has to offer since it is a visual marvel to look at.
Another aspect about Beauty and the Beast that is done perfectly is the music and songs by the colossal teaming of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. Every song in this feature is a classic from the excellent opening musical number "Belle" to the hilarious villain song "Gaston" to the timeless musical number "Be Our Guest" to the immortal title tune. There's a good reason why this is the only Disney animated feature on the AFI's list of the 25 Greatest Musicals. All of the songs contribute to the story as great musical numbers should, they all have memorable melodies and rhythms, and they all enhance the enjoyment of the picture more.
But of course, the spectacular animation and music aren't the only things about Beauty and the Beast to love. There's also the film's high quality storytelling and tremendous characters. Belle easily ranks as the finest Disney female leading character in that she wants something more out of life than a prince, which is more than can be said for all of the other Disney princesses. With his physical attractiveness serving as an ironic contrast to the Beast's deceiving outer looks and his willingness to do whatever it takes to force Belle to marry him, Gaston makes for an excellent even underrated Disney villain.
And while I'm still on the subject of the film's main characters, I should talk about the Beast himself. I must compliment the storytellers on a job well done with making the Beast a complex creature that is stuck in between basically being either a hero or a semi-villain. You can tell that he's stuck between doing the right thing and doing something that will only please himself especially in the first half of the film. The character of the Beast was very well thought through between the way he was designed by the animators and the way the Beast conveys his internal struggles from this spell. Everything about this character was handled impeccably.
The other side characters are very well done. I personally liked Lumiere, the candlestick, the best. I liked his elegant charm which is shown in full display when he's singing in the "Be Our Guest" musical number. I also liked his simple mindedness when it comes to how long it takes for someone to develop a romantic relationship. Cogsworth is another great side character between his loyalty to the Beast and how he sometimes needs to act as his conscience some of the time. Also, the film's central message about looking past the outer looks of certain people or creatures and into their soul is a virtuous message to get across to kids. Sometimes, what we all seek for in life is in the last place we'd look at and what Belle eventually discovers in the Beast is no exception.
Beauty and the Beast is a true Disney classic and is easily one of the studio's finest films. The animation is stunning, the music is sensational, the characters are excellent, and the story is well told and well-paced. It's also one of the rare Disney films in which adults will not only enjoy as much as kids will, but maybe even more than their kids. Definitely see this film if you haven't already.
Una obra maestra de Disney, increíble trabajo artístico y de animación, además de una historia con toque moderno y más que satisfactoria para la audiencia.