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Teen Movie Critic

Beauty and the Beast

by

Roger Davidson

Beauty and the Beast
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Finally, after years of being in the animation doldrums, Disney at last regained their past magic, with The Little Mermaid and this beautiful contemporary look at the classic fairy tale. Young Belle is a bookish Beauty (Paige O'Hara), who becomes the prisoner of a ferocious Beast (Robby Benson) in his crumbling castle. After a few difficulties are set straight, they begin to learn how to love each other, with the help of the magical appliances, Lumiere the candlestick, Mrs. Potts the teapot and Cogsworth the clock (respectfully voiced by Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury and David Ogden Stiers). A major problem arises when the handsome, but egotistical Gaston (Richard White) learns of the relationship between Belle and the Beast. He becomes jealous and raises a mob to take the castle and kill the beast.

Filmed in the fashion of a spirited Broadway musical (the only way to revive the dying film musical seems to be through animation), it has more well-rounded characters than ever before in a Disney production. Belle is a far cry from the muddle-headed heroines of the past. Intelligent, compassionate, a woman who is completely liberated and one who is not so easily outsmarted, this is the biggest surprise to come out of the animation studios in a long time. Among the great songs, they include the boisterous "Be our Guest", the charming "Something There", the thrilling opening number "Belle" and the lovely title piece (one of the most romantic moments captured on film, even if it is animated). This would have to be Disney's best animated feature of all time.

My Rating = Four Stars


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