📽️ Disney Time – Beauty and the Beast

List Item:  Watch The Disney Animated Canon
Progress: 30/57Title: Beauty and the Beast
Year: 1991

I guess I should start off this post with a bit of a disclaimer: Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film of all time. Hell, when I recently re-did my favourite films list at the beginning of the year, this ranked as my sixth favourite film of all time. So, to me, Beauty and the Beast is pretty much a perfect film and I honestly find it difficult to think of what I would critique – outside of how unfair it is to curse an 11-year-old prince for not letting a stranger stay in his castle.

If The Little Mermaid was Disney getting back to what made them great and kick-starting the Renaissance, Beauty and the Beast is them hitting their absolute pinnacle. Not only was this film a huge commercial success, but it was an unprecedented critical darling. Sure, critics adored Snow White and praise was reaped on The Jungle Bookbut neither of them won awards. This was something that Walt Disney was always a bit salty over, but at last his dream was posthumously realised through Beauty and the Beast.

Not only was it the first animated movie to win a Best Picture Award at the Golden Globes (with only The Lion King and Toy Story 2 doing the same), but it is the first and only animated film to get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture… before they opened up the nominees from five to ten.

Watching this as an adult, there is so much more that you can get from this film then when you were a child – something you cannot say with the likes of Robin Hood or Oliver & Company. This is especially apparent in the songs. For one thing, the level of vocabulary in the lyrics do not talk down to children (for example, I actually remember learning the word ‘guarantee’ from the reprise of ‘Belle). By doing this, you have great melodies and visuals that the kids can enjoy and then you have lyrics that adults can have more fun with – just watch the whole ‘Gaston’ sequence to see what I mean.

Also, Beauty and the Beast knew how to really bring the right level of darkness to a family film. Take the whole ‘Mob Song’ sequence – it’s a dark and quite mature section as it demonstrates how people can be whipped into a murderous fervour through fear and deception (which does go over children’s heads) and then they break it with a comedic fight sequence between the villagers and the cursed inhabitants of the castle.

Then there is the animation. To this point, Beauty and the Beast is the best that Disney had ever looked and I think it’s never looked this good since (although I could be swayed to make this joint top with The Lion King, but they didn’t have humans to animate). All the inhabitants of the castle are beautifully realised, the Beast’s face is able to morph from sympathetic to intimidating in the blink of an eye and all of the scenery is absolutely stunning.

Honestly, given the time, this is a film where I could easily write over 1000 words on. However, this isn’t what I do with this blog (with the exception of some very lengthy travel posts) so I’m going to be calling it a day here without going into how well this film is paced, the way that the first song managed to create a whole world or just talking more about the songs. I guess that’s just the way it goes.

Next up is Aladdin, which is a weirdly coincidental as my husband is currently playing the Aladdin section of Kingdom Hearts as I write this up.  Also, the live action version is (at the time of writing) due to be released in a week – which is another weird coincidence.

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