The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 1991
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 85/92 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH/ESL, French, Spanish
Starring: Voices of: Robby Benson, Paige O’Hara, Angela Lansbury, David Ogden-Stiers, Jerry Orbach, Richard White
Directed by: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Music by: Alan Menken & Howard Ashman
Written by: Linda Woolverton, Roger Allers
Region Code: 1
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 5, 2010
"A beloved Disney Classic"
Set in and around a quaint French village during the late 18th century, Beauty and the Beast follows the fantastic adventures of Belle, a bright and beautiful young woman who finds escape from her ordinary life, and the advances of a boorish suitor, Gaston, by reading books. Meanwhile, off in a castle in the distance, a cruel young prince is cast under the spell of an enchantress who turns him into a tormented beast, while transforming his servants into animated household objects. In order to remove the curse, the Beast must discover a true love who will return his affection before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. When Belle’s inventor father stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and is taken prisoner, Belle comes to the rescue and agrees to take her father’s place. With the help of the castle’s enchanted staff, she sees beneath the Beast’s exterior and discovers the heart and soul of a human prince.
I love this film. I haven’t seen it in a long time but watching it again brought back wonderful memories of watching it countless times with my kids when they were little. Beauty and the Beast is an enamoring film with incredibly endearing characters and one of the most memorable music scores in film history. It received two Academy Awards for music in 1992, three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Original Score and Best Original Song in 1992, and two Grammy Awards in 1993. It is listed as number seven on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Animated Films, and helped define Disney animation for a new generation as the second film in the “Disney Animation Renaissance” (1989-1999) which launched with The Little Mermaid and revitalized animated features by captivating mature audiences while still delighting young viewers. Walt Disney was truly a pioneer whose vision has brought us some of the most beloved characters (both animated and living) in American cinema. Beauty and the Beast has become a part of our entertainment culture and has been replicated in various forms that are recognizable all over the world. This is a classic that easily stands the test of time and like many of Disney’s animated films has touched and will continue to touch generations of viewers. My daughter was quite a fan and loved singing along to the musical numbers. I am sure that my children, like me, will share the experience of Beauty and the Beast with their children when the time comes. What an immeasurable legacy for Disney, which is a class act with an impeccable track record for wonderful family oriented films.
This Diamond Edition home video release of Beauty and the Beast is another example of their long standing dedication to offering quality home video releases. They, like several studios, have shown a fervent commitment to the Blu-ray format. Disney high definition Blu-ray discs have consistently been technically impressive as well as providing worthwhile bonus supplements. I appreciate the attention to detail and implemented features such as their enhanced menu navigation, BD-Live features/interactivity, Movie Rewards, Fast play, the inclusion of a DVD version of the film in the multi-disc Blu-ray release packages, and in this case their Beyond Beauty: The untold stories behind making Beauty and the Beast feature which is innovative and just plain cool. Let’s not forget their willingness to digitally restore their films and bring them to life in a way that doesn’t negate the original elements. I can’t think of a better way to experience them all over again or perhaps for the first time.
My review copy is the three disc Diamond Edition which comes in the standard DVD style amaray case and includes a Blu-ray guide insert, Disney Movie Rewards code, and the two Blu-ray discs and DVD. Blu-ray Disc has come a long way in the last year or so. We are beginning to see what the format is capable of and from what I can see Disney is looking toward the future by providing high quality releases that will hopefully solidify the place of this great medium. I am thrilled that this masterpiece has finally arrived in high definition. I can assure you that the wait was well worth it.
This film is appropriate for all ages.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Beauty and the Beast comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.7 Mbps.
With digital animation taking center stage over the last decade or so it is refreshing to come back to Disney’s hand drawn animation. Animation can sometimes be difficult to thoroughly judge when evaluating its video quality. There are aspects shared by both high definition and standard definition in terms of the absence of defining texture and lesser dimensional perspective. Objects in backgrounds are two dimensional which isn’t a problem but images can appear to have less depth. I have noticed that with good high definition animated video this is still the case but rendering is notably improved. Such is the case here. Images have excellent visual depth with deep, rich, color fidelity and stable contrast that enhances dimension. I can fully appreciate the attention to detail that went into design of each of the animated characters. Contrast and brightness is stable and strikes a wonderful balance that highlights the multi-layered grays and delineated chromatic elements within the video. This accentuates the varying levels in the light and dark segments visible within the village, forest and interior of the Beast’s castle which bolsters dimension. Blacks have excellent depth and dynamic range while falling just shy of the ink like levels of the best discs available in high definition. This is merely an observation and doesn’t necessitate a deduction from a superlative and flawless presentation that simply looks stunning.
Disney provides a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel surround mix which retains much of the feel of the original soundtrack while adding a bit of polish. This was a well balanced presentation that features high level detail in a resplendent blend of dialogue, sound effects, bass and music that maintains a frontal perspective with discretely placed effects and atmospherics that utilize the entire soundstage. The film’s award winning music sounds simply marvelous as the variety of musical numbers take center stage to create an involving surround experience. This isn’t a dynamically enhanced mix but bass response is both discerning and appropriate in support of the soundtrack’s elements. The audio is crystal clear, free of the edginess and never shows its age which says something for the care that went into the encoding.
This is a three disc set that includes two BD-50 Blu-ray discs containing the high definition versions of the film and bonus features plus a standard definition DVD containing the three versions of the film and bonus content.
- Special Extended and Theatrical versions of the film
- Storyreel PiP Mode: An enhanced viewing of the theatrical cut in an early version as seen via storyboards, rough cut animation, and preproduction modules
- Audio commentary with Don Hahn, Gary Trousdale, and Kirk Wise
- Sing along mode
- Disney’s Fast play
(HD) Beyond Beauty: The untold stories behind making Beauty and the Beast - This interactive documentary experience takes fans on an in depth journey not only behind the scenes of the production but into the world of Disney. Using the remote and pressing enter when prompted by the appearance of an icon onscreen allows fans to expand areas of the documentary to reveal more about each topic and peeling away layers of additional content which includes Walt’s fascination with fairy tales,Kurt Wise/Gary Trousdale short, Broadway’s adaptation of the film, deleted scenes, casting, animation/production galleries, history of animation, tribute to Howard Ashman and more…
- (HD) Composing a classic: A musical conversation with Alan Menken, Don Hahn, and Richard Kraft – 20 minutes
- (HD) Deleted scene with intro by Roger Allers
- (HD) Alternate opening with intro by Peter Schneider
- (HD) Broadway beginnings – 13 minute featurette
- (HD) Music video – “Beauty and the Beast” by Jordan Sparks
- Enchanted musical challenge – Quest/trivia game
- Bon Jour who is this? Teleplay game – Secret identity game for 2-8 players
- Classic DVD Features:
- The story behind the story
- “Beauty and the Beast” music video by Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion
- Early presentation reel
- Alternate version of “Be our guest”
- Alternate score “The transformation”
- Deleted song
- Animation tests
- Camera move test
- Trailers and TV Spots
- Sneak peeks
- Disney BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD of Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is one of the most beloved Disney animated feature films and a personal favorite. Seeing it brings back fond memories of watching it with my children when they were little. Beauty and the Beast has been highly anticipated for release in high definition and I am happy to report that the results are spectacular. Kudos to Disney on a well rounded Blu-ray Disc offering that presents this wonderful family film looking and sounding better than ever. It is brimming with bonus features including Blu-ray disc exclusive and interactive features that present fans with a great way to enhance the high definition experience. This set is a must have and gets my highest recommendation. Enjoy!
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
LG BD-590 Blu-ray Disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video) * In for review*
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package