Sunday, October 3, 2010

Well, There's The Usual Things: Flowers... Chocolates... Promises You Don't Intend To Keep...


Beauty and the Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging)

Beauty and the Beast revolutionized how the world viewed animated films. Disney was on the cusp of its second Golden Age and had experienced success with The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Beauty garnered such critical acclaim in its initial release that its creators were unequipped to handle it. Disney had shown the world that they still knew how to create magic!

I won't talk about the film in this review (anyone reading this blog should have already seen it umpteen times), except to say that the Blu-ray presentation is magnificent. There is finally a medium, outside of the theater, that does the film justice.

This Blu-ray disc, alone, is worth getting a Blu-ray player and hi-def television. Sounds extravagant, yes, but nothing quite shines like animation on Blu-ray.


Since I started collecting movies, I have followed the format wars and changes. We purchased a lot of VHS when the market opened up in the late 1980s. I bought all of the Disney movies on videocassette and anything else I wanted to watch from the comfort of my couch.

Then came dvd.

I dutifully re-purchased everything Disney released since the clarity and sound were vastly improved. There are not many films that I have purchased more than once; most Disney films I have bought twice. Beauty and the Beast is one of those rare films that I have owned on videotape, laserdisc and dvd. And now, I own it on Blu-ray. Each format change presented a major leap in technology for the visuals, so I was inclined to purchase it. Blu-ray adds so many layers to Beauty and the Beast, that I do not hesitate to recommend purchasing it again.

Blu-ray was made for animation; the colors are magnificent and the sound is outstanding. I noticed musical motifs and sounds in the film that I had never heard before.

One of the best things I can say about the film is that my entire family enjoyed it. My six year-old son has asked to watch it again. My eleven year-old laughed in all the right places (and maybe saw himself during his upcoming teenage years). My wife sang along and reminisced. I loved every minute of it and was equally thrilled that my family loved it, as well. I remembered the first time I saw it in the theater...

Why does Cogsworth look so guilty?
Rico Suave!

The bonus features are outstanding! I was shocked when I ran across four Laugh-O-Gram Cartoons in the massive documentary. Beyond Beauty, on the second Blu-ray disc, is one of the best documentaries that I have seen concerning the creation of an animated film. It is easily over two hours of material and has interviews with Disney Historians (a few that are featured in the Geek-End Updates) and animators.

Bonus Features include the following and more:
Three Versions of the Film
  • Original Theatrical Release
  • Special Extended Edition
  • NY Film Festival
Disney Backstage
  • Beyond Beauty: The Untold Stories Behind Making Beauty and the Beast – journey back through time as we look at the personal stories from the creators of this award winning animated film
  • Broadway Beginnings: Up-close and personal celebrity interviews with Nick Jonas, Donny Osmond, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Deborah Gibson and others who have starred in the Broadway production
  • Composing A Classic: A Musical Conversation with Alan Menken, Don Hahn & Richard Kraft where they reminisce, sing songs and share personal stories of the times during production of Beauty and the Beast
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Opening and Ending
  • Belle In The Library – never before seen moment where Belle meets four new characters in the Library
Music And More
  • New Jordin Sparks “Beauty and the Beast” Music Video
  • Sing-Along – when you select this option, the words to the song appear on th screen so you can sing along to your favorites.
  • Audio Commentary – by Don Hahn (Producer), Kirk Wise (Director), Gary Trousdale (Director) and Alan Menken (Composer)
  • Family Games and Activities
  • Chip’s Musical Challenge
  • Mrs. Pott’s Personality Profile Game
  • Additional Version of the Film
  • Original Storyboard – Original theatrical version with a picture-in-picture of the storyboard version running simultaneously throughout the entire feature. With introduction by Don Hahn.
Backstage Disney
  • Beyond Beauty: The Untold Stories Behind Making Beauty and the Beast-This interactive experience allows fans to expand areas of the documentary to uncover even more about each topic making have up to 3 hours of additional content. Areas include the story of Beauty and the Beast, Walt’s fascination with fairy tales, the Purdum Reel and Kurt Wise/Gary Trousdale short, tribute to Howard Ashman and much, much more…
  • Music And More
  • Beauty and the Beast Music Video Performed By Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson
  • Alternate Version of “Be Our Guest”
  • Alternate Score of “The Transformation”
  • Introduction To Deleted Songs By Don Hahn: “Human Again”
  • Introductions To Deleted Song By Alan Menken: “Human Again”
  • Deleted Song: “Human Again”
  • Family Games
  • Bonjour, Who Is This? A Disney TelePlay Game powered by BD-Live. Using any phone, guess the identity of the other players before they guess yours. Available in the US and English speaking Canada only. Requires BD-Live enables Blu-ray player and internet connection.
  • Enchanted Musical Challenge: A DisneyQuest Game
DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:
  • The Beauty of Voice Acting – Learn about the extremely talented and creative actors who have performed some of Disney's most memorable and endearing characters - from Walt Disney himself (the voice of Mickey Mouse), to Cliff Edward's Jiminy Cricket, to the cast of Beauty and the Beast. Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (Beast), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Richard White (Gaston), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere) and David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth) tell in their own words how some of the movie's most sensational moments came to be. Featuring rare archival interview footage of the late Jerry Orbach and exclusive new interviews with Richard White and David Ogden Stiers.




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