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3D Blu-ray Reviews

Beauty and the Beast: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW



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#1 of 1 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 39,283 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted September 24 2011 - 02:38 AM


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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



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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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