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"Beauty And The Beast: Diamond Edition” - {Blu-ray} - (Samantha)
Samantha Isler
Studio: Disney
Release Date:
Special Features:

Original Theatrical Release; Special Extended Edition; OriginalStoryboard Version; Audio Commentary; Sing-Along Mode; The Story Behind theStory; ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Music Video; Early Presentation Reel; SneakPeeks; Beyond Beauty; Composing a Classic; Deleted Scenes; Broadway Beginnings;Enchanted Musical Challenge; Bonjour, Who is This; New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Music Video


The classic Disney movie comes out of the vault and on to Blu-ray format in this Diamond Edition. You should probably know the story (and the songs) by heart.Suffice it to say, Belle the intellectual beauty teaches a cursed prince, apompous hunter, and an entire village a lesson in kindness. Also there’s someanthropomorphic singing furniture. All joking aside though, “Beauty and the Beast” truly is Disney in its prime. Touching, hilarious, and filled with gorgeous music. Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, and Angela Lansbury lend their vocal talents to bring the characters tolife.***

Image and Sound: Disney did a superb job with this one. The visuals are fantastic andthere aren’t any digital errors or evidence of editing. Already a vibrant andvery dynamic film, this release takes it to an entirely new level. The picture here is simply magical. The surround sound in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 brings wonderful dimension to the sound, bringing dialogue in from every direction sothe movie envelopes you entirely. Footsteps, growls, and clinking silverware all softly submerge you into the environment, and Alan Menken’s score dances around you. Truly a work of art.***

Special Features:

This edition is packed with special features that will keep you enthralled for hours. For starters, there are five versionsof the movie. Yes, five. We’ve got the Original Theatrical Release and the Extended Edition (which includes a song cut from the original, “Human Again”).Then there’s the Storyboard accompaniment, in which the producer, Don Hahn,narrates the maturation of the project from storyboard to final cut. This is complete with picture-in-picture shots of production sketches and storyboard narration. Then there’s the audio commentary, which is only on the Extended Edition, and features Hahn and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. They discuss everything from the original fairy tale to animation techniques to the movie’s place in Disney history. The commentary avoids being boring and is really quite engaging throughout. Finally, a Sing-Along mode was included (forthe young kids, of course. Twenty-somethings who grew up with this movie definitely ought to have the songs memorized). ***

There are some bonus features that have been carried over from previous editions, including a music video of Celine Dion performing the feature song and trailers for other Disney titles being re-released. There’s a 25-minute feature called “The Story Behind the Story” that talks about the a few of the original fairy tales that “Beauty and the Beast” was based on and how they worked to adapt the tales to a suitable family film. Hahn and Menken come back in “Early Presentation Reel” (35 min) to discuss an alternate version of “Be Our Guest” and the deleted song “Human Again”(which can now be seen in the Extended Edition of the movie). ***

Not all the bonuses are recycled, however. New for the Blu-ray release are three special features. “Beyond Beauty” (157 min) is an interactive feature that lets you explore production when icons appear on the screen. Though it is easy to get lost in the information, you can find a menu that has every sub-scene so you can be certain you caught everything. This feature contains just about everything that happens behind the scenes, and is extraordinarily detailed and thoughtful. The shorter feature “Composing a Classic” (20 min) concentrates solely on the music of the movie, as Alan Menken discusses the music and how Disney is able to make music tell a story. There are also two deleted scenes included,though the menu is a little clumsy in that you must select the introduction toeach scene and then the scene itself (as opposed to a Play All feature). The scenes are presented in storyboard and include an alternate opening and new characters. ***

Finally, Disney has included four “Family Play” features a couple of interactive games, a new music video featuring Jordan Sparks covering the title song, and a 13-minute look at the Broadway adaptation of the story. “Enchanted Musical Challenge” consists of travelling through the castle and plays as atrivia game. “Bonjour, Who is this?” is a little bit more complicated, and requires players to use phones. Probably too odd to hold a your attention for very long. *** ---

Final Words:

Fantastic update to a tale as old as time (see what I did there?). The beautiful conversion to Blu-ray along with the plethora of bonus features means you should definitely add this one to your list.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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