While we at Fohnhouse are great fans of the Disney classics, it had actually been a while since we’d watched Belle and the Beast learn to look past each other’s differences so we were excited to get a chance to revisit the animated classic.
A quick plot recap for the uninitiated: Belle lives in a small provincial town but longs for something more. When her inventor father loses his way in the woods, he accidentally stumbles upon the castle of The Beast, a once handsome man who was cursed for his cruel, shallow nature with a hideous appearance. It will become permanent if he can’t earn somebody’s love before the enchanted rose withers. When Belle finds that the Beast has taken her father prisoner, she offers herself in exchange. But can the Beast change his ways and earn her love?
While the reason for the film’s re-release is to show off the 3D conversion, one of the genuine pleasures of watching Beauty and the Beast again is reminding yourself how beautiful the 2D Disney artwork was. The detail, both in the small town and in Beast’s gloriously cavernous castle, is utterly fantastic, and the characters are beautifully drawn (our personal favourite this time around was the finger-steeple-ing asylum doctor).
It’s also impressive to note how the film appeals to both young and old audiences, with plenty of more adult touches in amongst the nicely constructed slapstick. Old favourites like Lumiere, Mrs Potts and Cogsworth are as great as ever, and the Beast’s still an impressively scary figure in the film’s first half. Belle is a strong lead, and not just because she refuses the advances of the hilariously vain and deluded Gaston. She’s determined, she’s clever, and she’s aspirational. And she loves books, which is always a good thing.
It’s also got great musical numbers, good jokes, and, as we mentioned, fantastic animation. If we had one complaint: Why does it need to be in 3D? We only really noticed it in the first few minutes, although the darkness that’s often a problem wasn’t noticeable at all.
Take the opportunity to see the Disney classic on the big screen.