Director(s): Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Cast: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Jesse Corti (VOICES)
Release Date: September 20, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Walt Disney Pictures’ magical animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” captures the magical journey of Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), an independent and intelligent, modern-day heroine who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of Robby Benson) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince.
Disney’s animated masterpiece ‘Beauty and the Beast’ returns home on Blu-ray as the second installment in Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment’s new lineup of Signature Collection releases which kicked off earlier this year with ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’ (you can read our review of that release here), and continues with the 25th Anniversary release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (and just in time to coincide with the upcoming live action release of the timeless tale). This latest release of Disney’s acclaimed animated feature chronicling the epic tale of the beautiful Belle and the hideous, yet caring beast she is forced to live with includes three versions of the film to select from: the ‘Original theatrical version’, a ‘New advanced sing-along version’ and the ‘Extended version with “Human Again” song sequence’; each presented in stunning high definition for your viewing pleasure.
Diehard fans of Disney’s beloved animated classic as well as those households with children (both young and old) that may have missed out on the previous Blu-ray release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will almost surely want to make certain to pick up a copy of the 25th Anniversary Signature Collection Blu-ray before it’s back in the vault yet again. This latest release of the animated gem features three different versions of the film, each presented with stunning high definition video and audio. It also includes some fun new supplemental material including audio recordings with Walt Disney, a Sneak Peak at Disney’s upcoming live action ‘Beauty and the Beast’ film adaption and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below), altogether sure to make this one a definite must own for the diehard fans of this animated gem as well as those who missed their last opportunity to bring the film home on Blu-ray.
Overall, while some folks who already own Disney’s animated masterpiece ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Blu-ray and were content with the release way want to hold off on this latest edition, many diehard fans of the film and those who previously missed out on their opportunity to purchase the film on Blu-ray will likely want to make sure to pick up a copy of the 25th Anniversary Signature Collection release to add to their collection in order to have the ability to experience this wonderful animated feature time and again with impressive high definition video and audio presentations and a number of new extras exclusive to this release.
The 25th Anniversary Signature Collection Blu-ray release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all three included versions of the film. The video presentation(s) look outstanding and deliver a sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish that beautifully captures the vibrant colors and stunning animation. It suffers no notable faults throughout and holds up admirably down to the edges of each animated line. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Disney complimented by a more than adequate bitrate that should easily thrill fans of this beloved animated classic.
This Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all three versions of the Feature Film. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds outstanding and provides a consistently crisp, clean and often quite active audio presentation throughout. Utilizing all seven available channels regularly in order to send the film’s memorable music throughout the various speakers, while also contributing some bits of dialogue, crowd chatter and more from the rear channels, yet never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The 25th Anniversary Signature Collection Blu-ray release of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ includes a few enjoyable new extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary’ track (only available on the Extended Edition), a ‘Song Selection’ option (available only on the Sing Along version), plus a brief look at Disney’s upcoming live action adaption of the timeless tale in the ‘Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peak’ (running approximately 90 seconds in length), in addition to a collection of Featurettes which include retrospective looks at the film with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Always Belle’ (running approximately 12 minutes), ‘Menken and Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration’ (approximately 19 minutes), ‘#1074: Walt, Fairy Tales and Beauty and the Beast’ (10 minutes), and ‘The Recording Sessions’ (4 minutes). ’25 Fun Facts about Beauty and the Beast’ (approximately 90 seconds), and a ‘Classic Bonus Preview’ (1 minute) are also included.