Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast tells the classic story of Beauty and the Beast where a beautiful young woman becomes trapped in an old mansion which belongs to this beastly figure who eventually falls in love with her and vice versa. Hence the old saying Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

As with almost all of Disney’s animated films, the voice work is simply sublime and there is not a bad voice in the bunch.

The two stand outs, obviously are the voices of Belle and the Beast.

The Beast is voiced by Robby Benson and this is by far the best performance in the film. Benson gives Beast this deep, booming voice which is intimidating, but at the same time he gives his voice a hint of humanity which also intrigues the audience. It also shows that even though a person may look like a beast, inside they are as human as you or i.

Belle was one of the first Disney princess that started the rebellious streak found in the Disney princesses of the 90’s and as such had to get the right combination of sweet and innocent yet also with an attitude to gently easy the audience into this new mindset. Paige O’Hara does this beautifully and can seemingly, effortlessly switch between this angelic singing voice, to a stubborn, hard headed girl who wishes to challenge prejudices towards woman and people in general.

The animation, as you would expect from a Disney film is simply sublime. However, there is definitely one stand out scene, the ballroom scene. I remember seeing it as a child and just thinking that it looked cool, it is only now as i am older how much i realise the amount of effort must have gone into that scene to make it look so amazingly perfect. The long tracking shots, twisting and swerving with the music and with the dancing Beast and Belle below. It truly was the peak of animation at the time and it was a long time before that peak was reached again.

I believe that the above scene as well as the magical musical numbers and the great story was what caused this film to be the first animated film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar.

This film is filled with magic and wonder. It is innocent enough for kids to have a great time with yet it also has some darker undertones, as with most Disney films, which means adults can enjoy the film just as much.

It truly is a masterpiece in animated film making but it just lacks something which knocks it over the edge, however this film is definitely a must watch and belongs in every film lovers collection


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