By April Wilson, Senior Staff Writer
I was a child during Disney’s second golden age of animation, the late 1980s to mid-1990s. “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” were all repeatedly played until the VHS tape broke, but my favorite of all time, the one that led me to dress as the lead princess for four straight Halloweens, was “Beauty and the Beast.”
The release of “Beauty and the Beast” on Blu-ray caused me to finally break down and purchase a Blu-ray player after years of resisting the change over from DVD. So when it was announced that my favorite childhood film was coming back to theaters in 3D format, it was a foregone conclusion that I would again experience something new that I had been resisting for longer than most.
The 3D format has not appealed to me before now. It has always seemed to be a superfluous technological development that didn’t necessarily add anything of great value to cinema on the whole. Besides, who wants to pay $15 for a movie ticket? You get the same story with the same plot in a traditional 2D movie for at least $3 less. Therefore, I haven’t made the time or effort to see anything in 3D. However, fond memories of “Beauty and the Beast” warranted an exception.
The overall movie is unchanged. It is still the story of Belle, the delicate but self-assured bookworm who falls in love with the Beast, a selfish bully of a prince transformed by a witch along with with his entire castle and its staff until he can learn to love and be loved in return.
The 3D enhancements, while well done, don’t really add to the movie. The movie itself is as close to perfect as a children’s movie can get. While this may be merely my idealized childhood fondness for the movie, it has long been considered a favorite among many people my age and the 3D-ization is nice.
The problem I have with it is that, while it definitely is 3D, the characters are still very two dimensional. The enhancements to the movie also make several small flaws more noticeable, particularly the lack of consistent movement by some town’s people during the opening song “Belle (Bonjour).” Additionally, while the 3D snow and gusts of wind are beautiful, the torrential downpour during the final fight between the beast and antagonist Gaston is incredibly distracting. It obscures the view of the exciting and lively scene because all you can see is a sheet of white lines.
The large scenes of the castle and its interiors are breathtaking. The statues are so detailed, and the rooms seem huge! The 3D enhancements make these scenes feel deeper, as if you are sucked into the world of Belle and the Beast.
If you love this movie as much as I do, you will enjoy the 3D version despite its shortcomings. Being able to see a beloved movie on the big screen again is worth the high ticket price to be transported for a brief but lovely 84 minutes to another time and place.