Beauty And The Beast
Tale as old as time

I was only seven when I saw Beauty And The Beast in the local cinema. The Dutch version, of course, but hooked I was. It's surely one of the most accomplished Disney animated classics ever. Heck, one of the most accomplished movies ever!
Today, after countless viewings (first on VHS, then on DVD), I can safely say it will always remain a pristine jewel in Disney's crown.

The music by Alan Menken and the great late Howard Shore is still beautiful. One of my favourite pieces is the very first piece of music, when you first see the castle. The ting-ting-ting is gorgeous music. Angela Lansbury's performance of the titlesong is heartstoppingly chilling. Her fragile, raspy but warm voice is uniquely suited to the song.

The animation is unbelievably great : Belle is, without competition, the most attractive animated woman ever. The beast is a brute, but you grow to love him. Lumière and Cogsworth are so much more than sidekicks ; their humour and enthusiasm soon captures the audience. It captured me for sure. Every new supporting character that's introduced is more loving than the last. Except for that bastard Gaston of course ... I'd like to pummel him good.

The intro is bonechilling : the wrath of the sorceress is justified, because the prince is a selfish brat. The narrator does an outstanding job explaining the circumstances.

The ballroom-scene is my favourite. Belle in her magnificent golden dress, the beast in a fitting tuxedo. No one says a word. Both stand on top of the stairs. Belle slowly decends. The Beast follows. She slyly looks at him, he smiles. He takes her hand by his arm and leads her down the stairs, to the ballroom. All the while, they're accompagnied by said song by miss Lansbury. Brings several tears to my eye, every bleeding time.

Words can't describe how good Beauty And The Beast is. It's the only animated movie ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. That may say more than my humble words. If you've seen it, see it again and relive the magic. If you haven't seen it, don't hesitate to rent it. You may not like Disney-movies. You may hate Disney-movies, but you will love this one. Take my word for it.

Julian De Backer, 3 november 2005