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A pretty decent DVD release of an excellent Disney film

  • Nov 15, 2007
Beauty and the Beast (Platinum Edition) is a two disc set; the first disc contains several versions of the film and some bonus features, while the second disc is comprised entirely of bonus features.

The menu for the first disc is in a street sign motif (the street sign is designed to be like one from the little village where Belle and her father lived). From here, you can choose to play the movie (which will automatically default to the Special Edition version), setup (choose the spoken language and whether or not you want English for the hearing impaired captions), scene selection (the scene selection was done in a storybook setting, and there are 22 scene selections in all), see the bonus material, see an intro for a game that appears on disc two, and see "sneek peaks" of upcoming Disney releases (there are a total of seven "sneak peeks").

If you go into the bonus features, you can choose to see the Special Edition version of the film (with or without audio commentary), the original theatrical film, the "work in progress" version of the film that was shown at the New York Film Festival in 1991, or you can see the film with a "Sing-Along" track to sing along with the songs in the film. The only thing different about the Special Edition is that a song originally cut from the film ("Human Again") is put back in; personally, I thought the new sequence helped to enhance the story. You get to see the enchanted objects excited about becoming human again, and you also get to see Belle and the beast getting even closer than you did in the original film. The "work in progress" version was interesting to watch, in order to see some of the animatics and storyboards for the sections of the film that were not completed in time for the festival; however, this is not a version of the film that I would watch very often. The audio commentary for the Special Edition was amusing and entertaining, and you learned a lot about what went on behind the scenes.

Also included in the bonus material is "Maurice's Invention Workshop Game," where a player helps Chip finish building Maurice's machine to get a code to open the castle door for the "Break the Spell" game on disc two. In order to play this game, the viewer needs to answer questions about the film by choosing one of the objects on the side of the screen that answers the question; the interface for this is to choose the answer by using the arrow keys on the player's remote. I thought the interface was a little cumbersome, and, overall the questions were rather simple (I assume this was done in order to make it easier for young kids to play the game).

The second disc's menu has a stained glass window motif. There are four stained glass windows: Cogsworth and Lumiere, Chip, Mrs. Potts, and the rose (which is an entrance to the forbidden "west wing"). The first time you click on the rose window, the beast growls about that being the west wing, and that it is forbidden to go there. If you click on it a second time, it takes you to the "Break the Spell" game. You use the code you got from the game on disc one and enter the castle. You and Chip see in the magic mirror that the glass case has blown off the rose during the storm. You must follow Chip and complete tasks on the way. For each mistake you make, one petal falls off the rose. When five petals have fallen, the game is over, and no one becomes human again. I can't say much about the actual game itself, because I never made it past the first task (trying to avoid hitting candles on the dining table).

If you choose Cogsworth and Lumiere's window, you get a lot of the background information about the film and musical (documentary-type pieces, artwork, etc.). Included here are "Origins of Beauty and the Beast," development (which includes an early presentation reel), story (which includes an alternate version of "Be Our Guest" and the deleted song "Human Again" with storyboards), music (which includes an alternate score for the beast's transformation and the deleted song "Human Again" with storyboards), production design (including galleries for concept art, design and layouts, and backgrounds), animation (including animation tests, roughs, clean ups, and a pencil version of the beast's transformation), tricks of the trade (including a camera move test), release and reaction (including awards, Howard Ashman: In Memoriam, two theatrical trailers and four TV spots, original release and large format publicity galleries, and the music video for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson's version of the theme song), and the Broadway musical (musical publicity gallery and costume design gallery).

If you choose Chip's window, you get "Disney's Animation Magic" (a documentary hosted by the young stars of "Even Stevens," which is designed to show kids how animation is done), the video for Jump 5's version of the theme song, and "Chip's Musical Challenge Game." In the game, the player watches what objects are chosen for making the music, then the player must choose the items in the exact same order; again, this game utilizes the arrow buttons on the remote. This game was definitely intended for kids; as an adult, I found it to be rather tedious.

If you choose Mrs. Potts' window, you get some documentaries, the music video for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson's version of the theme song (which opens with Celine Dion talking about the song, and closes with an ad for soundtracks featuring Beauty and the Beast music), and "Mrs. Potts' Personality Profile Game" (after choosing your gender, Mrs. Potts asks you multiple choice questions; from your answers, she determines which Beauty and the Beast character you are most like). The main documentary, "Tales as Old as Time: The Making of Beauty and the Beast," runs about 28 minutes long, is bookended by an opening and a closing by Celine Dion, and includes interviews with a number of people involved with the film. The other "documentaries" are "The Story Behind the Story," where celebrity hosts reveal the stories behind seven other Disney films; this includes an introduction hosted by Celine Dion. Personally, I wonder why "The Story Behind the Story" section was included, since it has nothing to do with Beauty and the Beast (and the DVD already has quite a few extras on it).

The magic mirror, which is also part of the interface of disc two, shows everything available.

Despite the few faults I think the Beauty and the Beast (Platinum Edition) has, I feel that this DVD is a must-have for any DVD library.

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September 30, 2010
One of the movies I only own on VHS. Time for me to update my copy! Thank you for the wonderful reviews and welcome to our community!!
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Lesley Muir Aeschliman ()
Ranked #37
I'm a freelance writer whocovers anime and manga on her blog, Lesley's Musings... on Anime & Manga. I also have a music blog called AeschTunes that I post at every once in a while.   … more
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The film that officially signaled Disney's animation renaissance (followingThe Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination,Beauty and the Beastremains the yardstick by which all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father's place, imprisoned in the Beast's gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle teaches the Beast to love. What makes this such a dazzler, besides the amazingly accomplished animation and the winning coterie of supporting characters (the Beast's mansion is overrun by quipping, dancing household items) is the array of beautiful and hilarious songs by composer Alan Menken and the late, lamented lyricist Howard Ashman. (The title song won the 1991 Best Song Oscar, and Menken's score scored a trophy as well.) The downright funniest song is "Gaston," a lout's paean to himself (including the immortal line, "I use antlers in all of my de-co-ra-ting"). "Be Our Guest" is transformed into an inspired Busby Berkeley homage. Since Ashman's passing, animated musicals haven't quite reached the same exhilarating level of wit, sophistication, and pure joy.--David Kronke --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Director: Gary Trousdale
Genre: Animation
Release Date: November 22, 1991
MPAA Rating: G
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2002
Runtime: 84 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
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