By Dr. Zaius
Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray
Director: Bill Condon
Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on the original screenplay by Linda Woolverton
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Distributor: Disney Studios
Rated PG | 129 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast has already grossed close to $1.2 billion worldwide, and it debuted in theaters less than 3 months ago! The film received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. It somehow managed to retain the magic and aura of the 1991 animated Best Picture nominee (the first ever animated film to receive the honor), all the while breathing new wonder into the timeless story. Given 25+ years to review the original classic, the writers and Director Bill Condon covered up some of the continuity errors, and added a few beautiful new songs to mix alongside some of Disney’s most famous tunes like “Be Our Guest” and the titular number. Featuring a star-studded cast headlined by a radiant Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite films of 2017 thus far, as well as my 6-year old daughter’s, who loved every minute.
Check out the features below.
The Blu-ray features a seamless HD transfer, and is loaded with special features. The “Enchanted Table Read” is just awe-inspiring. Because it’s a musical, Condon had his actors sit around a huge table to script-read the whole film, completely in character and in tune, as the band and background dancers played in the background. The highlights here were Emma Watson’s waltz while Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) sang “Beauty and the Beast,” and Luke Evans (Gaston) performing the song AND dance routine to his titular song. I have to pause to give special compliments to Luke Evans and his performance as Gaston. My daughter Charlotte HATES him so much that she sits cross armed and angry while he’s on screen and then giggles at his death scene. That is devotion to playing a bad guy!
Next up is an expansive behind the scenes featurette, “A Beauty of a Tale” which takes its time in four parts, discussing everything from the spectacular sets in England’s famous Shepperton Studios, to staying faithful to the original whilst creating something new. They delve into the music and songs, and of course the incredible digital technology used to create the world of the film. I don’t want to spoil this, but suffice to say this really feels like a special feature as you’re taken onto the sets, into the studios, and get really interesting and thought-provoking interview material from nearly everyone in the cast and crew. It really is a wonderful addition to the set. There’s also a tearful tribute to Howard Ashman, the head songwriter along with Alan Menken who died back in 1991.
Some other special features include:
Women Behind Beauty of the Beast: Simple and interesting look at the many women who helped put the film together. The film is course about a strong-willed woman, in Belle, but Condon surrounded the set with strong women in key positions such as Production Designer, Set Decorator, Costume Designer, Casting Director, and Editor. Simple and effective little featurette showing the leadership and effectiveness of women; appropriate in that this Blu-ray came out during Wonder Woman week.
From Song to Screen: Self explanatory featurette delving into creating the musical scenes. Best part here is hearing Emma Watson describe “Be Our Guest” as “boring” since she’s literally the only human in the set acting off cues for later digital effects. The scene took two and half years (!!!) to complete thanks to all the effects. They go all the meticulous work of the other songs including “Gaston,” and of course, “Beauty and the Beast.”
There are deleted scenes, music videos, and a special section with Celine Dion who sang the new song for the soundtrack, “How Does a Moment Last Forever.” Truly I can’t think of many collectible films, dating back to my days collecting VHS tapes, to DVDs and Blu-rays that showcased as many wonderful special features as the Disney’s Beauty and the Beast set. As stunning and wonderful as the film is, the features are hypnotizing, and you’ll find yourself and your family fully immersed by them. Kids will enjoy watching how Dan Stevens becomes the Beast, as well as all the incredible songs.
I cannot possibly recommend this set more. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of Beauty and the Beast debuted in stores on Tuesday, June 6th and is available now. Make it part of your collection today.