More than 25 years after the animated classic first captivated audiences, Beauty and the Beast returned to cinema screens in a stunningly beautiful live-action version that became one of the studio’s most successful ventures yet, grossing more than $1.2 billion worldwide. This week, the film makes its way to home video in a packed Blu-ray release, and we’ve been fortunate enough to revisit the film and dive into the supplements.
Since we already reviewed the film during its theatrical run, we won’t bother with a full recap here. Below you’ll find a short excerpt from our theatrical review:
Realistically, there’s no way that a live-action Beauty and the Beast could ever measure up to the original 1991 classic. Released during the early years of the “Disney Renaissance” period that also birthed Aladdin and The Lion King, it’s not only one of the studio’s most iconic features, but arguably one of the most revered animated films of all time, a beloved piece of Disney history whose legacy will almost surely outlive us all.
But Condon’s film is a worthy successor, an astonishingly beautiful adaptation that’s every bit as romantic and enchanting as its predecessor, capturing the magic of the original version while utilizing the wonders of modern filmmaking technology to expand the scope of the fairy tale about a girl from a poor provincial town who dreams of adventure in the great wide somewhere. It’s a tale as old as time, but Condon knows just how to tell it.
It should come as no surprise that Beauty and the Beast, in typical Disney fashion, offers yet another pristine audio and video transfer for the Blu-ray release. Colors are rich and vibrant, and there’s an incredible amount of detail in the surround sound track – if you really want to impress your friends and show off your home theater system, the “Be Our Guest” sequence in particular is an absolute stunner.
Disney generally offers a nice selection of special features to augment their home video releases, and Beauty and the Beast arrives with some impressive supplemental material. Most interesting is Enchanted Table Read, which goes behind the scenes for the first gathering of the cast and creative team. Unlike a traditional table read, this one featured several dance numbers, including an early rendition of “Gaston” that Luke Evans performed to the surprise of his fellow cast members. It’s a delightful segment that showcases just how much love and care went into the making of this film.
Also of note is a 30-minute “making of” featurette called A Beauty of a Tale, and brief explorations of the challenges in bringing each of the animated film’s iconic songs to life. There’s also a collection of deleted scenes (pulled mostly from the climactic battle in the Beast’s castle), a music video complete with its own behind-the-scenes segment, and plenty more.
Beauty and the Beast is arguably the best of Disney’s live-action remakes, paying homage to the original version while crafting a gorgeous new vision. Most fans will likely have experienced the film on the big screen, but the quality of this Blu-ray release is every bit as astonishing, and it belongs in any collection.