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.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: October 4, 2011
Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. French and Spanish 5.1 DEHT
Running Time: 85 Minutes
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).
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.
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
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