Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast (1991) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directors: Gary TrousdaleKirk Wise. Cast: Robby BensonJesse CortiRex Everhart, Paige O’Hara, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury.

Let me be clear, I’m talking g about the 1991 Disney animated version, not the pointless cash-in remake. This was at the height of the so-called Disney Renaissance, which started with the Little Mermaid 2 years before and lasted for about a decade with masterpieces like “The lion King” and “Alladin”: in 1991 not only this film broke all the box office records (Back then it was the most animated feature and actually in Italy it was the most successful film of the year), but it also ended up being nominated for best motion picture (a first in Oscar history!), paving the way for what became the special award for animation. And of course it was so successful for a reason. All the Disney ingredients seemed to come together with a calibrated perfection: the overwhelming broadway-like musical numbers, the memorable characters (Lumiere, Teapot, chip and so on), a perfectly hateful baddie (Gaston is just as wonderful as his song his), the heartwarming fairy-tale story mixed with darker tones , the strikingly beautiful (hand-drawn) animation, the perfect comic timing, the magical score and a gripping story. Watching it tonight, 30 years after it was made, it felt as fresh, exciting and beautiful as it always did: the first musical number as rousing and detailed as anything ever done in animation before or since (or any musical in general to be honest). The way the lighting played with shadows and colours over the characters (for example the moment the Beast is introduced “come into the light”, the warm sunlight across the windows, the reveal of the library, the night-time sequences with the torches from the mob lighting the forest… and so on). The edge of your seat action on top of the castle at the end the film is as tense as some of the best action films. And of course, let’s not forget, the endless amount of charm, magic, excitement, lovely songs and smartzy cuteness!

This is an undisputed ageless classic, so put your cold heart to the side and go and look no further. Full stop.

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