Beauty and the Beast (1991) Review
With the recent release of the live-action Beauty and the Beast, I’ve brought it upon myself to review the classic Disney cartoon version. Hailed by many as one of the best animated films of all time, Beauty and the Beast has made its way into the hearts of many.
The story (one I’m sure you’ve already heard), is about that of a self-righteous king, whose castle and servants are put under a wicked spell. This spell turned the king into a horrendous Beast (Robby Benson), until he can learn to truly love another.
In comes Belle (Paige O’Hara), the beautiful village outcast who spends most of her time reading. Belle’s father Maurice (Rex everhart) is captured by the Beast, and she is forced to sacrifice herself as the Beasts prisoner to earn her father his freedom. Slowly, Belle warms up to the Beast’s gentler side, and the two steadily begin to fall in love. The only person that may stand in Belle’s way of a happily ever after is Gaston (Richard White), a narcissistic strongman who intends on marrying her if it’s the last thing he does.
Now, you can joke about Stockholm Syndrome all you want, but I seriously think that there is a good connection between the Beast and Belle. The relationship that builds between them is probably one of the stronger written Disney romances, with a lot of time being dedicated to its development. As a viewer, I felt very emotionally invested in both the characters, and their relationship. Overall, the Beast and Belle worked good as a couple, and their chemistry was very uplifting.
One thing I’ve always admired about Beauty and the Beast is that not only are the lead protagonists written well, but so is the supporting cast. I absolutely loved just how memorable all the characters are. From the egotistical Gaston, to the hospitable and romantic Lumiere (a talking candelabra), each character has a distinct personality that I fondly remembered after watching. All the characters were a lot of fun, generally helping to make the story more lighthearted and touching, an aspect I very deeply appreciated.
The sound track to Beauty and the Beast is one of the best Disney I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. All the songs are just so charming and full of energy that its hard not to like how lively they are. My favorite song, “Be Our Guest”, exemplifies this perfectly. The song is sung by the candelabra Lumiere as Belle is served dinner, and it remains one of the most entertaining scenes in the whole film. The music for “Be Our Guest” (as well as every other song in the film) was catchy, fun, and the animation was especially dynamic for this sequence.
This brings me to the animation of Beauty and the Beast on a more broad scale. And honestly, it’s some of the best 2-D animation Disney has ever put out. The colors used are beautifully vibrant, and everything really pops out at you. Every minute detail of the castle interior I got to see was exhilarating, and it left me wishing I could’ve gotten to see even more.
Beauty and the Beast still holds up extraordinarily well, a feat that isn’t likely to change in the future. The high quality of the writing, excellent characters, and breathtaking animation is all top-notch Disney work, and the film should be praised accordingly. I believe that this remarkable interpretation of Beauty and the Beast deserves to be shared with everyone. So if you’re someone who’s never seen it before, I highly suggest you check it out as soon as possible.
The Verdict: A