Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Movie Review - Beauty and the Beast

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Starring: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
Year: 1991

It's been well documented how much I love the old late 80s, early 90s Disney films.  I won't start listing them off again; you know which ones they are, you saw them, and you probably loved them too.  That era was just a perfect blend of everything both children and adults enjoy: great stories, excellent visuals, wonderful music, cool characters, brilliant color, catchy phrases.  We were given what we wanted, in animated form, and we were thankful for it.  That's why we still remember and enjoy these movies, because they were unapologetically pleasant and delivered all the happiness we so often crave but can't exactly get from more "adult" movies.  Beauty and the Beast fits that description, a film that makes you feel good, one that you will always remember.

Belle is a girl who's always wanted more than her tiny country world.  She loves reading, imagining adventures, and doesn't want to settle for the simple life of marrying the handsome Gaston and raising his children.  Well, adventure comes her way in a manner she never expected.  Her father, the eccentric inventor Maurice, accidentally stumbles upon a cursed castle while on a journey.  The master of the castle, a hideous Beast, claims Maurice as his prisoner.  That is, until Belle comes to take his place.  She must stay forever in the enchanted estate, and she soon learns that she's not alone, but that every servant in the castle has been turned into a lively object.  The Beast himself is not as he appears either, and his gruff attitude hides a softening heart.  Can Belle help lift the curse, or will Gaston claim his bride & his greatest hunting trophy before the Beast can reveal his true nature?

It's a classic tale, one you can read in countless books.  And every version is slightly different, but I'll always be partial to this one.  I really like how Gaston is an integral part of the story, not just some random villain who loves to be evil.  The way he interacts with Belle is both infuriating and hilarious, setting up a very cool story.  And of course the Beast is interesting, Belle is beautiful, and the side characters are all very strong.  But it's the music that really makes the film.  Belle's theme, Gaston's theme, Be Our Guest, Something There, Beauty and the Beast; incredible music that translates well to the stage or to your living room.  This is just one more in a long line of incredible Disney animation, something they perfected in the 90s and continue to pump out with success.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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