A tale as old as time returns to theaters

“Beauty and the Beast,” one of Disney’s most beloved cinematic fairy tales, has returned to the big screen – in the third dimension.

Likely encouraged by the lucrative box office profits of the three-di-mensional “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” is the next in a series of classic re-releases by The Walt Disney Co.

Many were very young children when “Beauty and the Beast” was released in theaters in 1991, so the opportunity to see it on the big screen shouldn’t be missed.

An adaption of a classic French fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast” follows the story of the restless and beautiful Belle, who is enchanted by books but has yet to have an adventure of her own. However, when she decides to take her father’s place as a captive of a hideous and cruel beast, Belle’s life dramatically changes. She learns not to take appearance at face value as she and the Beast gradually fall in love, even as the world (in the form of the handsome yet arrogant Gaston) tries to stop them. The story is familiar to anyone fed on a Disney movie-diet as children, the re-release represents an opportunity for those who haven’t seen this entertaining movie.

It’s been over 10 years since “Beauty and the Beast” was last in theaters, but the animation hasn’t lost any of its unique, fluid beauty. From the tortured, animal-like movements of the Beast to the energetic musical numbers for which this film is famous, nothing has been lost in translation. The colors are bright, and the scenery is heavily detailed. The characters are animated brilliantly, especially during songs, and each of their personalities is perfectly conveyed through their own unique animation.

The addition of 3-D technology does not detract from the film either. Instead, it adds another layer to the animation, giving it a new depth that makes the onscreen action pop.

Falling snow looks like you could grab it if you reached out, but for the most part the effect is extremely subtle. However, certain scenes make better use of the technology than others. The famous ballroom scene, for example, in which the camera pans down over a crystal chandelier to focus on Belle and Beast’s dance, is absolutely breathtaking in 3-D. Though perhaps not worth the price of admission by itself, that scene is possibly one of the most beautiful uses of 3-D technology to enter the movie theater.

Still, the use of 3-D is not perfect. Like most 3-D movies in theaters today, “Beauty and the Beast” underwent a post-production conversion, meaning that the 3-D effect was added to a previously 2-D movie. Because of this, not all of the movie is in 3-D. There are entire scenes where the 3-D effect is not present. Also, for some people, the 3-D effect can sometimes induce headaches and eyestrain.

Seeing one of the crowning achievements of the Disney Renaissance should be one of the top priorities for anyone remotely interested in film. Disney movies can be notoriously difficult to view – theatrical runs are limited, and films are often shoved into the infamous Disney vault for years at a time. “Beauty and the Beast” won’t be around forever, so audiences should take advantage while they can.

While it may be a re-release instead of a new movie, “Beauty and the Beast” has more than earned its spot near the top of the box office. While it may have been made in the early ‘90s, it is a timeless film that will likely be enjoyed not only by our generation but by generations of future animation fans.

Leave a Reply