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3D Blu-ray Review Beauty and the Beast: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.






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    BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


    Studio: Walt Disney

    Product Release: October 4, 2011

    Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. French and Spanish 5.1 DEHT

    Running Time: 85 Minutes

    Rating: G



    3dsmall.jpg

    ON A SCALE 0-5

    Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4

    3D Separation: 3

    3D In Yo' Face Factor: 0



    "tale as old as time"


    Beauty and the Beast is a wondrous product of classic animation combined

    with CGI.  It played in theaters for 48 weeks, grossing $144.8 million and

    earning a Best Picture Oscar nomination.  It is the only film to date that has

    claimed such an honor.  The making of the film took 4 longs years with more

    than 600 animators.  The end is result is clearly one of the most "magical"

    animated pictures of our time.


    Beauty and The Beast was the second film to use the Computer Animation

    Production System (CAPS) developed by Pixar.  This resulted in animation

    that was trulygroundbreaking for its time,  providing sweeping camera movements

    against three-dimensional backgrounds. 


    The story is about a selfish prince (voiced by Robby Benson), who lives

    in an enchanted castle.  After turning away an old beggar woman, the

    prince is transformed into a beast.  Given only an enchanted rose, he

    is told that if he can learn to love another, and earn the same in return

    by the time the last petal falls, the spell would be broken.



    The story is also about a girl named Belle (voice by Paige O'Hara),

    who is widely adored by the people in her small town, particularly that

    of an arrogant Gaston (voiced by Richard White) who wishes to make

    her his wife.  One day, upon searching for her missing father, Belle

    arrives at the castle where she finds him imprisoned for trespassing.

    Belle strikes a bargain with the Beast:  if he releases her father, she

    will stay with him.


    To prevent the film from becoming overly dark, the film introduces

    us to the film's most lovable characters, the castle staff, who have

    also fallen under an evil spell.  They include Mrs. Potts (Angela

    Lansbury), Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers)

    and Chip (Bradley Pierce) who urge the young Belle to "Be our

    Guest," in one of the film's most memorable songs.



    Speaking of which, Beauty and the Beast features what could

    be perhaps be the most spectacular score written for any Disney

    film with music written by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman

    (who passed away shortly before the movie opened in 1991). The

    film's title song won the Academy Award for the Best Original category.


    What more can be said about this film's transfer than being

    absolutely magnificent?  Here is a flawless presentation with images

    that are breathtakingly striking and a color palette that is remarkably

    vibrant.  The painted backgrounds look absolutely stunning here. Of 

    course, all of this beauty would not be possible if not for the high 

    definition clarity that only the Blu-ray format could provide.    


    Having just witnessed the wonderful job the stenographers did with

    the 3D conversion of The Lion King, I went into this film with high

    expectations.  My only concern was that it was announced in January

    of 2010 that the 3D theatrical release of Beauty and The Beast would

    be indefinitely postponed after the studio spent millions on the conversion.



    Upon just completing viewing this new 3D release, I can confidently say that

    I don't see any technical issues with the conversion.  In fact, like 

    The Lion King, I find that Beauty and The Beast benefits greatly from

    the enhancements it has been given.  Take for instance the film's 

    opening musical number where Belle is greeted "Bonjour!" by the townspeople.

    The best way to describe the appearance of this scene would be if one

    opened a pop-up book and discovered its perimeter lined with cut-outs

    of villagers with a horse and carriage sitting squarely in the middle. The

    scene is very effective in establishing depth, though the deepness

    between foreground and background seems more subdued than animated

    films that are specifically formulated for the format.   The animators who

    worked on this project starting in 2007 simulated the 3D environment by

    giving various characters, props and effects the impression of volume.  In

    seemingly more ways than The Lion King, the animators had a lot of

    props to play with.  Take for instance the scene where Belle's father is

    lost in the woods.  The animators put emphasis on having the characters

    placed behind eerie tree branches and wind-swept leaves that take the

    forefront of action giving a real sense of foreboding danger. To give you

    an idea of how character sizing is used , one needs only to look at the

    scene where Cogsworth is giving Belle a tour of the castle.  As the tiny

    clock walks down a long hallway lined with suits of armor, you really get

    nice sense of deep depth.   I can just imagine how the castle became

    a virtual playground for the animation team who put emphasis in bringing

    the goth statues and hanging chandeliers to the forefront.  Falling snow

    and rain also do well here, taking on a life of their own as the action plays

    out beneath it.  Even a more subdued effect featuring a sprinkling salt

    shaker in the musical number, "Be Our Guest," is quite effective.  The 

    infamous ballroom dance scene is enhanced with the 3D process as the

    chandelier becomes a more prominent centerpiece as the camera swoops

    down the staircase.  Even the long glass ballroom windows with their star-filled

    sky backdrop looks more lifelike then ever before.  Don't expect anything to

    leap or poke out from the screen.  There wasn't any moment that anything

    extended beyond the borders of the display


    The only minor problems that exist here, hardly worth mentioning,

    is a bit of noticeable aliasing in the quick movements of the animation.

    I think I only noticed it briefly here and there.  Ghosting is essentially

    nonexistent -- only really saw it in Lumiere's character during the "Be

    Our Guest" number, outlining his candle figure.  



    The Blu-ray's 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix (downcoverted to 5.1 on

    my system) is the perfect compliment to the film's pristine video.  With

    clear dialogue firmly fixed across the center channels and the rears bringing

    up the film's score and effects, the mix becomes an engulfing experience

    for the viewer.   As one would hope, LFE support is immense here, particularly

    during the beast's roar or the rain and thunder that underscore the film's final

    climatic battle scene.  


    Beauty and The Beast arrives as a 4-disc set with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray 2D,

    DVD and Digital Copy housed in lenticular packaging.  The 2D Blu-ray 

    boasts three versions of the film (original theatrical, special extended and

    original storyboard version).   There are deleted scenes, an alternate opening,

    featurettes on the digital restoration as well as Broadway Beginnings (to name

    just a few).



    CONCLUSION



    Beauty and The Beast remains a captivating, enchanting tale

    with the some of the most memorable music and lovable

    characters ever brought to the animated screen. I'll say the same

    thing about this conversion as I did for The Lion King....it looks

    like a labor of love from the animators that worked so diligently on it.

    I actually prefer the 3D on Beauty of The Beast more for the fact

    that there are so many more props to work with.  


    There are those that just won't tolerate a 2D film that has been

    re-imagined for 3D.  I can't blame people for feeling that way when

    in the past, studios have done a rather sloppy job in the the 

    conversion process.  It's very clear that in the case of Disney,

    real thought and care was put into the project. It's just astounding

    to see a piece of artwork like this brought to new life by the depth

    that 3D provides.  It's an effort truly deserving of the stamp

    Disney puts on it.


    No hesitation recommending Beauty and The Beast on 3D Blu-ray. 



    Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 



    Equipment


    LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

    Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player

    Denon 3311CI Receiver

    Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

    SV Sound Subwoofer

     

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