Beauty and the Beast was the first film I have memory of seeing in a theater, back when I was four years old. All I remember from the first viewing was being petrified of the beast, but then being engrossed by the story.
Now, almost a quarter of a century later, I decided to return to it again. It is still one of the best animated films ever made, as well as one of the best musicals.
Everyone knows the story: Belle, who lives in a quiet village, wants adventure, but gets more than she bargained for. Her father, Maurice, is an inventor, and on his way to a fair is lost and stumbles upon a castle beyond anything imaginable. The beast’s castle may have held the position of best magical film castle until Harry Potter came along.
The film has many successful parts. The songs are obviously one of them: “Be our Guest”, “Gaston” (one of the best villian songs ever written), and, of course, the title song. Even today, I catch myself singing with the songs as they play.
Another key aspect of the film is the supporting characters. There is Cogsworth, the over controlling clock, Mrs. Potts (voices wonderfully by Angela Landsbury), the teapot, and, of course, the scene stealing Lumiere (the late Jerry Orbach) the candlestick.
I won’t go more into the film, because chances are, if you are reading this, you have seen the film before. Parents, this is a film that is not to just put the kids in front of, hoping to get them distracted. You OWE IT to your children to watch the film with them.
In 2009, the Academy Awards started nominating more than five films for best picture (at least five, but no more than ten). This led to Up and Toy Story 3 being nominated for Best Picture (and rightfully so). Still, when there was only five nominated pictures, only one animated film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year, and that was Beauty and the Beast.
Overall: Five Stars *****