December 29, 2016

Beauty and the Beast (1991).

Review #891: Beauty and the Beast.

Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (The Prince/Beast), Richard White (Gaston), Jerry Orbach (Lumière), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Bradley Pierce (Chip), Rex Everhart (Maurice), Jesse Corti (LeFou), Hal Smith (Philippe), and Jo Anne Worley (the Wardrobe) Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise.

What is there to say about Beauty and the Beast that countless others haven't said over the past 25 years since it was released? Especially from someone who had never seen it before? I'll try to keep my words around the usual level of babbling for a movie like this. In any case, it's easy to like Beauty and the Beast. It's also easy to love it. Why is it so easy? Maybe it's the gorgeous animation, or maybe it's the wonderful songs, or maybe it's the characters that give the movie its depth. There is a certain kind of grace the film has, from the opening scene narrating the tale of the Prince's turn into the Beast, to a climax that is executed neatly. The ballroom dance sequence is a particular scene that stands out, from the waltz to the animation (with the background animated in CGI mixing with the traditional animated characters) to just how delicate everything is handled, which makes for a fantastic scene. There is never a dull moment in the movie, and it certainly looks like great care was taken in terms of how everything flows from scene to scene. The characters are enjoyable as well, exuding their own fair kinds of charm and depth. O'Hara does a fine job at portraying this main character with a good deal of wit and grace, and her scenes with Benson are as entertaining as one would expect, with the latter giving the character the right amount of conflict and presence. White is a fun villain (with his look certainly helping), conveying the right amount of arrogance and some form of charm within an enemy as delightfully evil as this. Orbach and Stiers certainly go well together, and they (along with Lansbury) contribute to making these songs so catchy and so enjoyable, especially "Be Our Guest", with the rest of the cast also doing a fine job. On the whole, this is a great film, complete with everything anyone of any age could enjoy, from animation to characters. At 84 minutes, it's an easy film to recommend to anyone, especially if you're in the Disney mood.

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Overall, I give it 10 out of 10 stars.

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