Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – A Blu-ray Review by John Strange

Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – A Blu-ray Review by John Strange
This is a portion of my review of the theatrical release of Beauty And The Beast.  I have adjusted it to reflect the new Blu-ray release of the film!
This story is so well known that most of us can identify with Belle or one of the other characters in one way or another.  (For me, it is Chip.)  The new film is not a retelling or a revision of that story.  It is an update using technologies Walt would have killed for (or at least given up a leg). 
The opening scenes in the village are staged to take advantage of 3D.  I admit I saw the film in 2D in the theater and on my home TV but I can see how it would look in my head.  Belle comes down the steps from her home and walks through the village singing.  As I watched the scene I realized I could also see this same scene staged as a live play.
The differences between the animated version and it's new counterpart are small but add to the overall story very well.  They are expansions of scenes that meld very well with the story we love  and for the most part give us more backstory on the main characters.  The overall feel of the film is every bit as good as it's original.  I loved the casting choices.  I loved the CGI that replaced the animation.  I loved the way the story flows while at the same time allowing the personalities of the characters and the actors to jump out at us.  Bottom line, I LOVED this film! 
This version will delight your older children, the nieces and nephews, and even the neighborhood kids!  In Beauty and the Beast we have a new classic in the making.  I think that this film will be as much a part of our Disney collections as the 1991 film. 
As you can tell, I love this re-telling of the story of Belle and her Prince/Beast. My whole family are huge fans of the films from Disney.  I love that I have this film for my home collection.  The "hidden" treasure when you buy the Blu-ray version of any film are the enhanced "extras" that come on the disk.  The music videos, the deleted scenes, the filmmaker's commentary, and the "behind the scenes" stories can be worth the cost of the disk.  This, in addition to the film itself, gives you hours of pleasurable watching.
Some of the highlights of this disk's extras include some very special "behind the scenes" videos.  My favorite one is actually the first one on the disk.  It runs a little over thirteen minutes and shows us the table read.  While musicals and live theater do these often, I don't think I have ever seen one of them recorded.  And this one includes a lot of discussion about how the actors felt about being a part of this project.  That and several examples of the musical numbers complete with the dancing.
The rest are as good as the first one.  Many of my filmmaker friends will love to watch the extra titled, The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast”.  In this extra, we find out that most of the department heads on this film were women.  My karaoke friends will love that the section called Disney Song Selection has all of the major songs from the film and gives us the words in the captions in karaoke format!
This film took a long time to make.  One scene, talked about in the section From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences, talks about what it took to bring us the song "Be Our Guest".  It took six months to plan, one month to shoot (poor Emma sitting at a table by herself reacting to led lights for that month!), and then about 15 months to do the CGI required to give us the completed scene.  Think about it.  One scene took about two and a half years to produce!
Bottom line, Beauty And The Beast is a beautiful story of a young woman determined to chart her own course, a story of redemption, and at its heart it's a love story.
Directed By:
  • Bill Condon
  • Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Haydn Gwynne, Gerard Horan, Ray Fearon, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson,  Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci
  • Enchanted Table Read – Join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more.
  • A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic.
  • The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast” – Emma Watson introduces several of the talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.
  • Making a Moment with Celine Dion – Celine Dion shares what it’s like to sing “How Does a Moment Last Forever” – and be a part of the legacy of “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – See what goes into making some of the best-known moments from “Beauty and the Beast.”
    • “Belle” — Filmmakers and cast reveal how it felt to shoot this memorable scene.
    • “Be Our Guest” — Discover all that went into creating this epic, primarily virtual performance.
    • “Gaston” — Join the cast for rehearsals and filming of this rousing, high-energy number.
    • “Beauty and the Beast” — You’re invited on set for the filming of this beloved, classic scene.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Introduction by Director Bill Condon — Director Bill Condon presents a collection of scenes that, for one reason or another, ended up on the cutting-room floor.
    • Gaston Courts Belle — Pleased with himself after settling a disturbance with the townspeople, a triumphant Gaston attempts to woo Belle.
    • Bread and Jam for Agathe — On her morning market rounds, Belle stops by to see Agathe, the village beggar woman.
    • Storming the Ice Gates — The angry mob of villagers, led by Gaston, overwhelms the castle’s defenses.
    • Lumière Torches LeFou — As the fight rages around them, LeFou scuffles with Plumette … until he experiences a sudden, extremely heated interruption.
    • Monsieur Toilette — LeFou escapes from the brawl into a small room, where he's startled by a castle resident.
    • Cogsworth Rescues Lumière — When Clothilde the fishmonger threatens Lumière, Cogsworth leaps into the fray.
    • Treacle the Lasses — Three village lasses chase Chip and Froufrou – Madame Garderobe’s dog-turned-footstool – into the kitchen, where a surprise awaits.
    • LeFou and Monsieur Toilette Reunite — After the spell is broken and the castle residents are returned to human form, LeFou and his new acquaintance meet again.
  • Extended Song: “Days in the Sun” – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, introduced by director Bill Condon.
  • “Beauty and the Beast” Music Video – Award-winning artists Ariana Grande and John Legend perform a moving version of this iconic song.
  • Making the Music Video – Go on set to capture the magic as it happens in Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” music video.
  • Disney Song Selection – Jump directly to all your favorite songs and sing along with the movie.
    • “Belle”
    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Music Box)
    • “Belle” (Reprise)
    • “Gaston”
    • “Be Our Guest”
    • “Days in the Sun”
    • “Something There”
    • “How Does a Moment Last Forever” (Montmartre)
    • “Beauty and the Beast”
    • “Evermore”
    • “The Mob Sing”
    • “Beauty and the Beast” (Finale)
  • 129 Minutes
  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date:
  • 06/06/2017
  • 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
MPAA Rating:
  • PG (for some action violence, peril and frightening images)
Selig Rating:
Selig Rating Scale:
BRAND NEW: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost
SALE ITEM: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale
SECOND HAND: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used
RENTAL: Worth taking a look at, but not owning
COASTER: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks
PULL!: Makes a great Trap Shooting target
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