Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 23, 2016 by Dennis Amith
May you be a hardcore fan of “Beauty and the Beast”, the young at heart that may want to share this Disney animated classic to a new generation of Disney fans, you can’t go wrong with “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition”. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition
FILM YEAR OF RELEASE: 1991
DURATION: Special Extended Version (1:31:44), Original Theatrical Release (1:24:54), Sing Along Version (1:24:54)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), 5.1 DEHT French and Spanish Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH and English ESL Subtitles, French and Spanish Subtitles
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RATED: G (for General Audiences)
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
Story by Brenda Chapman, Burny Mattinson, Brian Pumental, Joe Ranft, Kelly Asbury, Chris Sanders, Kevin Harkey, Bruce Woodside, Tom Ellery and Robert Lence
Animation Screenplay by Linda Woolverton
Story Supervisor: Roger Allers
Executive Producer: Howard Ashman
Produced by Don Hahn
Associate Producer: Sarah McArthur
Music by Alan Menken
Edited by John Carnochan
Casting By Albert Tavares
Art Direction by Brian McEntee
Featuring the following voice talent:
Paige O’Hara as Belle
Robby Benson as Beast
Richard White as Gaston
Jerry Orbach as Lumiere
David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth
Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts
Bradley Pierce as Chip
Rex Everhart as Maurice
Jesse Corti as Lefou
Hal Smith as Philippe
Tony Jay as Monsieur D’Arque
Be our guest at the enchanted 25th Anniversary celebration of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, universally acclaimed as one of Disney’s finest animated features and now honored in the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Join brave, independent Belle on the adventure of a lifetime as she sets out to rescue her father and finds herself in the enchanted castle of a mysterious beast. Enjoy this timeless tale overflowing with unforgettable characters and Academy Award(R)-winning music (Best Song, Best Score, 1991)!|It took more than 600 animators, artists, and technicians three and a half years to complete the project.|BEAUTY is the first animated Disney feature scripted by a woman, Linda Woolverton.|The film marked the first time each animator was credited on screen specifically for the character he or she brought to life.|Disney’s animation department won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for the design and development of the Computer Animated Production System used to make the film.|The style of illustration was inspired by French painters Fragonard and Boucher.
The story of “Beauty and the Beast” was born as a fairy tale back in the 1740′s by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and then revised in 1757 by French novelist Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont received its animated adaptation courtesy of Walt Disney in 1991.
The film is directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (both worked on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”) and the screenplay adaptation by Linda Woolverton (“The Lion King”, “Mulan” , “Arctic Tale” and “Alice in Wonderland”).
“Beauty and the Beast” is the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics line and is considered one of the greatest Disney animated films of all time. The film was an amazing success as the film which cost $25 million to make had made over $377 million dollars worldwide and the film was also the first animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (note: The second was 2009’s “Up”) and was successful in blending traditional animation with CG.
And now the popular animated film receives its second release on Disney Blu-ray and receives a “25th Anniversary Edition” release. In this release, we get more special features than its previous 2002 DVD release and also three different versions of the film which includes a special extended edition, the original theatrical release and singalong version (NOTE: The previous Diamond Edition featured a third version which was the original theatrical release with storyreel picture in picture, which is watching the film with the original storyboards in picture in picture format).
“Beauty and the Beast” begins with an enchantress who is disguised as a beggar gives a young prince a rose in exchange for a night’s shelter. Unfortunately, the prince turns her away and so she transforms him into a beast and also transforms his servants into furniture and silverware.
The enchantress gives him a rose and a magic mirror. The rose will bloom until his 21st birthday and he must find a woman who loves him for what he is inside, not for what he is in the outside. If he does not find someone who will love him, he will remain a beast forever. As for the magic mirror, it grants him to view what is going on around him from faraway.
We are then introduced to the characters of Belle and her father, an inventor named Maurice. In her village, Gaston is the local hero, an arrogant man she has been courting but has no interest in.
One day, Maurice has invented a wood-chopping machine and plans to take it to a fair. Unfortunately, he gets lost and while his horse knows where to go, Maurice takes the other direction where the woods look dark and creepy. He ends up at the beast’s castle and when he goes to check inside he meets the beast’s servants such as Lumiere the candle holder, Mrs. Potts (a pot) and her son Chip (a chipped tea cup) and Cogsworth. Because Maurice has stepped into private property, the beast has imprisoned him.
Meanwhile, Belle is worried that her father has not returned but the horse has. So, she goes with the horse to the Beast’s castle and in order for the Beast to release her father, Belle tells the beast that she will be his prisoner and to let her father go. The beast accepts.
Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts know that this is the probably there best chance in order for the beast and the to change back to human-form and they to show the kind and gentler side of the Beast (and trying to curb his anger).
As for Maurice, when he arrives to the village, he tries to tell people that Belle has imprisoned by a Beast but no one believes him.
Will the beast manage to convince Belle to stay and somehow have her confess her love to him? Or will she leave him and he will stay a beast forever?
Everything about “Beauty and Beast” screams gorgeous, vibrant and magnificent with the release of “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition”. In my 2002 DVD review, I talked about how beautiful the animation was and how well-painted the backgrounds were but after watching this on Blu-ray, I’m going to focus on how vibrant the colors are, how well-defined the lines are, how detailed the backgrounds to the simplest of objects such as wood, leaves and objects are. How every character and object and its shadowing are well-done.
“Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). From the daylight scenes that showcase the amber oranges to the winter scenes that show the whites and blues, to the night-time and more ominous and darker scenes, blacks are nice and deep but yet you can still see detail where shadows are present on objects. You can see the stains on the roof of the background and can easily make out the different color bricks on the chimneys, the pattern of wood on the home and well. And of course, the animation and how free flowing the characters are, especially in the dance scene. For a film that was created in 1991, you can’t tell this animated film is nearly 20-years-old. This film still looks incredible and it looks wonderful in HD. I detected no banding, edge enhancement, haloing, combing or compression artifacting.
This is the definitive version to own of this title yet and if you have a Blu-ray player and love Disney animated classics, picture quality-wise, this is a title that simply is a must-own.
As for the included DVD, the DVD is presented in 1:78:1 aspect ration-enhanced for 16×9 televisions.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” is not only fantastic in picture quality, the film is absolutely fantastic via lossless as well. Presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, “Beauty and the Beast” does not disappoint.
If anything, I wished that everything Disney releases were in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and fortunately, the animated classics have received this attention. Audio literally envelops the soundscape with immersive audio coming from the front and center channels, the surround channels, the rear surround channels. Dialogue and music is crisp and clear, the slight sounds of leaves, horse galloping, the leaves rustling, the Beast growling, the sound of flame flickering, pots and tea cups clinkering, these are all well-done. And it doesn’t stop there, there is also LFE present as well.
But if anything, one thing that “Beauty and the Beast” is known for is its music. Alan Menkin’s music for the film is wonderful. You will find yourself singing to songs such as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Be Our Guest” and “Belle” and the truth is, the music captivated many people in 1991, so much that it won an Academy Award for “Best Music, Original Score” and “Best Music, Original Song” and also won two Golden Globe Awards as well for its score and for “Best Original Song – Beauty and the Beast”.
As for subtitles, “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” is presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.
As for the included DVD, the DVD is presented in English French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
“Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features presented in HD (note: original DVD features that are on the Blu-ray are presented in standard definition):
- Always Belle – (11:30) Featuring Paige O’Hara and her memories of working on “Beauty & the Beast” as the voice of Belle.
- Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration – (19:05) Grammy Award winning Robert Lopez and Grammy Award winning Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Broadway actor Lin-Manuel Miranda visiting Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken.
- #1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & Beauty and the Beast – (9:33) Featuring audio recordings of Walt Disney creating fairy tales and crew of “Beauty & the Beast” discussing Walt Disney and more.
- The Recording Sessions – (3:47) Featuring a sneak peak at the original voice actors at the recording booth and recording for the film.
- 25 Fun Facts About Beauty and the Best – (5:25) Kayla Maisonett (of “Stuck in the Middle”) and Gus Kamp (of “Best Friends Whenever) discuss the 25 fun facts of the film.
- Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Live Action Preview – (1:24) Emma Watson and Dan Steven at a table read, the massive sets and more.
- Sing A Long – Watch the movie with karaoke style Sing A Long.
- Audio Commentary (Extended Edition Only) – Audio Commentary for the special extended edition is included. Featuring commentary by directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise plus producer Don Hahn. The three go into look and feel of “Beauty and the Beast” and what they wanted to achieve. As well as dissecting the scene and the characters of the film. Alan Menken lends his commentary on the creation of the music for the film.
- Classic Bonus Preview – (:43) Promotion of Disney Movies Anywhere
A DVD version of the feature film is included (all three versions of the film is presented on DVD). Also, a slipcase cover and Disney Movie Rewards code is included for this release.
My opinion of “Beauty and the Beast” has not changed since my DVD review for the title back in 2002. The animation, the painted backgrounds, the music, the characters, the movement… everything about the film is a pleasant reminder of the classic Disney films that I have loved and “Beauty and the Beast” is a film I still love.
Similar to the “Snow White” Blu-ray release, when “Beauty and the Beast” was released on Blu-ray in 2010, it was a magnificent improvement over the original 2002 release? Easy…by adding a ton of special features and three different versions of the film. This is what I love about Disney, they know what their customers want and what they expect and that is simply getting quality releases each time but raising the bar higher and higher of what a release should be. And for Disney, there classic animated films are expected to be fantastic releases and fans expect nothing lower.
I expected something incredible and to tell you the truth, I was pretty much expecting better picture quality in HD and lossless audio quality with the same special features and maybe a new audio commentary and possibly a retrospective featurette, but Disney has surpassed my expectations by giving us way more than what we would have expected for this film and I’m impressed and also very grateful.
The film has everything you want. Great characters, adventure, drama, action, memorable music and more! And 25-years later, “Beauty and the Beast” looks and sounds phenomenal on Blu-ray.
But now, to answer the question that everyone may be wondering. Which version is better? The 2010 “Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition” or the 2016 “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition”. For one, you are going to get all three versions of the film that were featured in the 2010 version on this 2016 Blu-ray release, but you will not get the story reel version.
Picture quality and lossless audio are the same for both releases but the true differences are in the special features featured.
Surprisingly, all special features on this 2016 Blu-ray release are new. And all the special features from the 2010 two-disc Blu-ray release were not included. In fact, Disney put a lot of the special features from the previous discs up on there Disney Movies Anywhere website, in order for people to access them digitally.
This was a big surprise, as the “Diamond Edition” had two Blu-ray discs and a DVD and to me, because it was fully loaded with special features along with the brilliant picture and audio quality, the “Diamond Edition” was and I still consider it the definitive edition.
But because Disney releases are only released every 6-7 years, chances of finding the Diamond Edition new, is probably very slim. But because we are living in a digital age and Disney is really wanting to promote there Disney Movies Anywhere streaming site, by purchasing this 2016 Blu-ray releases, you will have access to the special features, just not on Blu-ray, those special features can be accessed online. Otherwise, if you want it on Blu-ray, then you are going to have to look for the 2010 “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release.
So, it’s quite subjective of whether or not the special features matter to you. Otherwise, if you are in it just for the film, by all means, “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” is the way to go.
If you have a fast Internet connection and don’t mind watching the previous special features online and want access to the newer special features, then also, the 25th Anniversary Edition is the way to go. But if those older and newer special features are important to you and you want it on physical media, then you’re going to have to purchase both.
But I do feel that hardcore fans will want to own both, while casual fans and parents just purchasing for their children will be content with the “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition” release.
Overall, may you be a hardcore fan of “Beauty and the Beast”, the young at heart that may want to share this Disney animated classic to a new generation of Disney fans, you can’t go wrong with “Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition”.
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