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Beauty And The Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) by Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B003DZX3US
Date: 10 October 2010 List Price $39.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com / IMDB.com - Awards / Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont / 'Beauty and the Beast' / Show Official Info /

Premiering on November 13, 1991, "Beauty and the Beast" was released in the US and Canada on November 22, 1991, beginning that year's pre-Christmas season with a big winner. Nominated for 4 Oscars, it shocked Hollywood by winning 2 Oscars for "Best Music, Original Score" (Alan Menken) and "Best Music, Original Song" (Alan Menken (music) and Howard Ashman (lyrics) for the song "Beauty and the Beast"). According to IMDB.com, in addition to those 2 Oscars, it had another 16 wins and 14 nominations, including a 1992 nomination for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, losing to "Terminator 2: Judgment Day".

When I saw the promo spots for Beauty and the Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) on other Disney releases, I knew that Disney would spare no expense in their digital restoration of this modern classic animated feature.

Directed by
Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise

Writing credits:
Linda Woolverton (animation screenplay)

Roger Allers (story supervisor)

Brenda Chapman (story) &
Burny Mattinson (story) &
Brian Pimental (story) &
Joe Ranft (story) &
Kelly Asbury (story) &
Chris Sanders (story) (as Christopher Sanders) &
Kevin Harkey (story) &
Bruce Woodside (story) &
Tom Ellery (story) &
Robert Lence (story)

Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont story (uncredited)

Cast (in credits order) verified as complete:
Paige O'Hara ... Belle (voice)
Robby Benson ... Beast (voice)
Richard White ... Gaston (voice)
Jerry Orbach ... Lumiere (voice)
David Ogden Stiers ... Cogsworth / Narrator (voice)
Angela Lansbury ... Mrs. Potts (voice)
Bradley Pierce ... Chip (voice) (as Bradley Michael Pierce)

The classical story of "Beauty And The Beast" is one of the oldest fairy tales around, existing in cultures around the world, and although uncredited here, the version by French novelist Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont is considered the definitive version. At its most essential, the story of "Beauty And The Beast" is one of a self-centered, hardhearted prince who angers a fairy when he refuses to let her take shelter from the rain. She turns him into a hideous beast and tells him that only by finding true love, can he break this curse.

Disc 1 (DVD):

Three Enchanting Versions of Beauty And The Beast:
'Special Extended Edition' includes the musical sequence, "Human Again". (91:42) Originally cut from the Theatrical Release, the sequence has been seamlessly integrated back into the film. Listening to the music at the end of the scene where the Prince is magically transformed back into a human being is Classical Disney in more than one sense of the word.

'Original Theatrical Release' is the Oscar winning movie audiences around the world know and love, winning two Oscars for 'Best Original Score' and 'Best Original Song' - "Beauty And The Beast", 1991) (84:53)

'Work In Progress Edition' – Producer Don Hahn explains the evolution of the story with the original storyboards running simultaneously with the film via state-of-the-art picture-in-picture technology. (84:53) Here Producer Don Hahn briefly mentions that the Work In Progress Edition of Beauty And The Beast was first screened at the New York Film Festival in October 1991. Initially the animators were shocked at the idea of anyone seeing their unfinished work, then they were fearful of how it would be received by the audience, and finally how they were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response. The Work In Progress Edition included colorized final scenes, colorized stills, black & white animated scenes, and black & white stills, all with the final audio track.

All three versions are wonderful in their own right. If you consider the 'Original Theatrical Release' to be the gold standard, then I have to say that the 'Special Extended Edition' is even more golden. Rather than saying that the 'Work In Progress Edition' is incomplete, I prefer to say that it is a small glimpse into the work of the worthy successors to the legacy of Disney's Nine Old Men, the core animators who created some of Disney's biggest classic animated features dating back to the 1930s.

Bonus Features:
Music & More – Sing Along Track On/Off

Classic DVD Bonus Features – Audio Commentary on the Special Edition only lets you watch it with commentary by Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, Producer Don Hahn, and Composer Alan Menken. (84:53) This was one of my absolute favourite features and the words I would use to describe it include awesome, hilarious, and 'must see'. Here we learn that many of the main people in the story department went on to become animation directors. Did you know that Beauty And The Beast was shot like live action, not like animation as was the norm back then? Or that the additional scene in the extended Special Edition was shot 10 years later with the original actors and many of the original animators? The voice of Angela Lansbury as the charming Mrs. Potts is easily recognizable to TV viewers of a certain age, but did you know that she sang "Beauty and the Beast" in a single take?

Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go

Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray Is Suite!

Sneak Peeks

  • DisneyMovieRewards.com
  • Promo for The Princess and the Frog on Disney Blu-ray, DVD, and Movie Download
  • Promo for The Lion King (Diamond Edition) on Disney Blu-ray and DVD – Fall 2011
  • Promo for Alice In Wonderland (60th Anniversary Edition) on Disney Blu-ray and DVD – 2011
  • Promo for Dumbo (70th Anniversary Special Edition) on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
  • Promo for Disney's A Christmas Carol on Disney Blu-ray and DVD
  • Promo for Disney Mickey Mote and Interactive DVDs
  • Promo for Disney Parks
  • Trailer for Tangled in Disney Digital 3D in Select Theatres and reaL D 3D – Coming Soon (according to IMDB.com, it is scheduled for November 24, 2010)
  • Our Family Scrapbook including promo for Disney Combo Packs
  • Promo for Bambi (Diamond Edition) on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
  • Promo for Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2-Movie Collection on Disney Blu-ray and DVD

Disc 2 (Blu-ray):

  • Trailer for Tangled in Disney Digital 3D in Select Theatres and reaL D 3D – Coming Soon
  • Our Family Scrapbook including promo for Disney Combo Packs
  • Promo for Bambi (Diamond Edition) on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
  • Promo for Toy Story 3 on Disney Blu-ray and DVD

Three Enchanting Versions of Beauty And The Beast:
'Special Extended Edition' includes the musical sequence, "Human Again". (91:42) Originally cut from the Theatrical Release, the sequence has been seamlessly integrated back into the film. Listening to the music at the end of the scene where the Prince is magically transformed back into a human being is Classical Disney in more than one sense of the word.

'Original Theatrical Release' is the Oscar winning movie audiences around the world know and love, winning two Oscars for 'Best Original Score' and 'Best Original Song' - "Beauty And The Beast", 1991) (84:53)

'Original Theatrical Release' with BONUSVIEW (requires that your Blu-ray player has BONUSVIEW) (84:53)

You can also enjoy the Audio Commentary exclusive to the 'Special Extended Edition' which lets you watch it with commentary by Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, Producer Don Hahn, and Composer Alan Menken. Commentary - On/Off (91:42) This was one of my absolute favourite features and the words I would use to describe it include awesome, hilarious, and ‘must see’. Here we learn that many of the main people in the story department went on to become animation directors. Did you know that Beauty And The Beast was shot like live action, not like animation as was the norm back then? Or that the additional scene in the extended Special Edition was shot 10 years later with the original actors and many of the original animators? The voice of Angela Lansbury as the charming Mrs. Potts is easily recognizable to TV viewers of a certain age, but did you know that she sang "Beauty and the Beast" in a single take?

In addition you can watch the 'Special Extended Edition' (91:42); 'Original Theatrical Release' (84:53); and 'Original Theatrical Release' with BONUSVIEW (84:53), all with Sing Along Track On/Off.

Backstage Disney
'Composing A Classic: A Musical Conversation' with Alan Menken (Composer, Beauty And The Beast), Don Hahn (Producer, Beauty And The Beast), and Richard Kraft (Music Agent and Disney Historian) (20:18) This is a touching tribute to the late Howard Ashman and his work on Beauty And The Beast.

Deleted Scenes
Alternate Story Opening with Introduction by Peter Schneider (Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios) (18:00) It was okay but I'm very glad they made the choice they did.
"Belle In The Library" with Introduction by Roger Allers (Story Supervisor, Beauty And The Beast) (8:11) This doesn't come close to the choice they made.

Family Play
'Broadway Beginnings' with Jamie-Lynn Sigler ("Belle", Broadway Cast -- 2002-2003), Nick Jonas ("Chip", Broadway Cast – 2002), Christy Carlson Romano ("Belle", Broadway Cast -- 2004), Donny Osmond ("Gaston", Broadway Cast -- 2006), Deborah Gibson ("Belle", Broadway Cast – 1997-1998), Andrea McArdle ("Belle", Broadway Cast – 1999-2000), Steven Fickinger (Vice President of Creative Development and Licensing, Disney Theatrical Group), Ashley Brown ("Belle", Broadway Cast – 2005-2006), Alan Menken (Composer), and Linda Woolverton (Book Writer). (13:07) This was a delightful feature where the actors share their experiences of playing in Beauty And The Beast on Broadway and how much they loved their work.

'Bonjour, Who Is This?' -- A Disney TelePlay Game that requires BD-Live

Music & More
Music Video "Beauty And The Beast" performed by Jordin Sparks (3:26) There is no denying that Jordin Sparks is talented but here I feel she was miscast. She has a powerful voice, but this video makes her scale it back too much to be anything but uninspiring.

Sneak Peeks:

  • DisneyMovieRewards.com
  • Genuine Disney Movies
  • Promo for The Lion King (Diamond Edition) on Disney Blu-ray and DVD – Fall 2011
  • Promo for Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2-Movie Collection on Disney Blu-ray and DVD
  • Promo for Alice In Wonderland (60th Anniversary Edition) on Disney Blu-ray and DVD – 2011
  • Promo for Dumbo (70th Anniversary Special Edition) on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
  • Promo for Disney's A Christmas Carol on Disney Blu-ray and DVD
  • Promo for Disney Parks
  • Trailer for Tangled in Disney Digital 3D in Select Theatres and reaL D 3D – Coming Soon (according to IMDB.com, it is scheduled for November 24, 2010)
  • Our Family Scrapbook including promo for Disney Combo Packs
  • Promo for Bambi (Diamond Edition) on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
  • Promo for Toy Story 3 on Disney Blu-ray and DVD

Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go

Disney BD-Live

Disc 3 (Blu-ray):

Backstage Disney
'Beyond Beauty: The Untold Stories Behind The Making of Beauty And The Beast' is an Interactive Feature with Don Hahn (Producer, Beauty And The Beast), Charles Solomon (Animation Critic and Historian), Jeffrey Katzenberg (Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios), Peter Schneider (Former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios), Nik Ranieri (Supervising Animator, "Lumiere"), Mark Henn (Supervising Animator, "Belle"), James Baxter (Supervising Animator, "Belle"), Will Finn (Supervising Animator, "Cogsworth"), Glen Keane (Supervising Animator, "Beast"), Roger Allers (Story Supervisor, Beauty And The Beast), Alan Menken (Composer, Beauty And The Beast), Gary Trousdale (Co-Director, Beauty And The Beast), Kirk Wise (Co-Director, Beauty And The Beast), Linda Wolverton (Screenwriter, Beauty And The Beast), Angela Lansbury (voice of "Mrs. Potts"), Robby Benson (voice of "Beast"), Paige O'Hara (voice of "Belle"), Andreas Deja (Lead Animator, "Gaston"), Brian McEntee (Art Director, Beauty And The Beast), and David Pruiksma (Supervising Animator, "Mrs. Potts" and "Chip"). Footage Courtesy of ABC News – "20/20".

In this nearly hour long documentary (longer if you click every time there is additional footage and watch all the bonus material), Glen Keane talks of how Eric Larson and John Lounsbery, two members of the fabled "Disney's Nine Old Men" mentored the incoming young artists. "The story of "Beauty And The Beast" is one of the oldest fairy tales around, existing in cultures around the world, but it's far from the easiest story to film – even Walt Disney attempted to film it, obviously unsuccessfully. When Beauty And The Beast started, it was a much darker, not-very-family-friendly film, but it was thrown out after 6 months, but before resuming work the animators took an immersive trip to the Loire Valley in France. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken came in and made it into a musical, then Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise were brought on board as "acting" Directors, but after 6 months the "acting" part of their titles was dropped. Since Beauty And The Beast was now a musical, the wise decision was made to cast the voice actors in New York due to the fact that Broadway actors were experienced in acting and singing. Since it was the last Disney animated film shot with the best animators at Disney (after this Katzenberg decreed that the studio should make 2 animated films at one time and their "A Team" was split into two), Don Hahn refers to Beauty And The Beast as a Perfect Storm. Do yourself a big favor and click on every icon and savor all the additional treats. This was another of my favorite featurettes and a compelling reason why you should treat yourself to the Blu-ray Combo Pack.

Family Play
Enchanted Musical Challenge – Interactive Game

Classic DVD Bonus Features
'The Story Behind The Story' is an excellent featurette since it made me want to watch the ones I enjoyed one more time and to view the others for the first time.

Introduction hosted by Celine Dion (1:44)

  • Cinderella with Paige O’Hara (2:49) Excellent
  • The Lion King with James Earl Jones (3:36) Excellent
  • Pocahontas with David Ogden Stiers (3:13) Very interesting
  • The Jungle Book with Robby Benson (3:14) Very interesting
  • Sleeping Beauty with Jodi Benson (2:54) Excellent
  • Mulan with Ming-Na (2:48) Excellent
  • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame with Angela Lansbury (2:55) Excellent

"Beauty And The Beast" Music Video, introduced by Celine Dion who performed the original music video with Peabo Bryson. (4:31) This music video is fullscreen and is quite grainy in spots, but is still vastly superior to that performed by Jordin Sparks.

Early Presentation Reel with introduction by Producer Don Hahn (2:51) Early it may be, but it's magical nevertheless.

Alternate Version with introduction by Producer Don Hahn (4:55) The song "Be Our Guest" was originally sung to Belle's father Maurice, but it turns out that postponing it until Belle arrives at the castle was absolutely correct.

Alternate Score with introduction by Composer Alan Menken (2:01) Very interesting

Deleted Song
"Human Again" with separate introductions by Producer Don Hahn and Composer Alan Menken (6:58) It was wonderful seeing the series of storyboards (some colorized) set to singing.

Animation with introduction by Producer Don Hahn (4:54) Yet another excellent featurette, sharing the early animation with us.
"The Transformation" (4:54)

Animation with introduction by Glen Keane (Supervising Animator, "Beast") (3:13) Excellent

The Ballroom dancing scene with Angela Lansbury (2:06) Wonderful

Trailers & TV Spots
Introduction by Don Hahn (0:35)

  • Original Release Trailer (1:57)
  • Large Format Release Trailer (2:35) For the exclusive re-release on IMAX and other giant screen theaters on January 1, 2002.
  • TV Spot #1 (0:33)
  • TV Spot #2 (0:33)
  • TV Spot #3 (0:33)
  • TV Spot #4 (0:17)

While the four TV spots were fun, it was the Original Release Trailer and the Large Format Release Trailer that made me want to see the movie on the Big Screen again, much preferably an IMAX screen.

While I give the overall content of Beauty And The Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) an A+, I have to give the packaging a D. That's because the packaging is inconsistent to the point of being frustrating. Both the cardboard sleeve and the packaging on the black plastic DVD case list Disc 1 as being the DVD, Disc 2 as a Blu-ray Disc, and Disc 3 as a Blu-ray Disc. But the Menu on Discs 2 and 3 is maddening since the features are scattered across the two Blu-ray Discs. When you click on something on Disc 2 (the first Blu-ray Disc) and you get told to go to Disc 2 (meaning Disc 3, the second Blu-ray Disc). And when you click on something on Disc 3 (the second Blu-ray Disc), you are told to go to Disc 1 (meaning Disc 2, the first Blu-ray Disc). If you think my description is giving you a headache, then following their confusing instructions will make you reach for the Extra Strength headache medication.

Overall I still have to rate Beauty And The Beast (Three-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in DVD Packaging) as an A+ since the different versions of Beauty And The Beast are so magnificent and the treasure trove of bonus features is a veritable King's ransom that add up to a "BUY ME RIGHT NOW!!!" recommendation.

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