Posts Tagged ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ 3-D

May 20, 2012

An Active 3-D review of the Ster-Kinekor 3-D Blu-ray release.

[An expansion of my review that appeared in the Johannesburg Saturday Star newspaper:]

Movie: *****

Disc set: *** 

“Allow me to waltz you around my newly dimensionalised library…”

The suits who run the show over at Disney are seldom afraid of recycling product, and this fine film has certainly done the rounds, having appeared in standard cinemas, on home video (in numerous formats), and on IMAX screens. Now, with the entrenchment of Digital 3-D on the theatrical scene, the studio’s taken to converting some of their older releases to 3-D for re-release. This movie recently opened on the 3-D cinema circuit in the States, but the option to do so locally was dropped – which is where this 3-D Blu-ray edition really comes into its own.

The story is a jazzed-up version of the original tale by 17th century French author Charles Perrault, and tells of a beautiful young lady who is held captive by a hideous creature, and who learns, in the course of her stay, to recognise the real, inner beauty of others, regardless of their external appearance. Apart from the extra characters that were created to flesh out the story for a feature-length movie, the tale was turned into a musical; and one that was good enough to be parlayed into a hit Broadway musical. Does it work in 3-D? In stiller scenes which involve lots of foreground and background interest, the 3-D is breathtaking. I found the faster-moving sequences not terribly easy on the eye, however. The original film used a mix of traditional 2-D animation and computer-generated backgrounds, and the 3-D process somehow heightens their differentness…

Extras: Some interesting featurettes, including a chat with the composer of the songs, Alan Menken, and a ‘story reel’ of the original visualisation of the first third of the film – which is worlds apart from the finished product. We also get four versions of the film to watch: the original 1991 cinema release, the same version with accompanying behind-the-scenes videos shown “picture-in-picture”, a slightly longer re-release cut, and – obviously – the 3-D edition. Sadly, this boxset still falls a flat in the bonus features department. Given the vast capacity of Blu-ray discs, one would expect Blu-ray releases to carry forward all bonus features from previous DVD releases. This carries some, but not all.

Also, the bonus disc promises the fascinating behind-the-scenes featurette called ‘Beyond Beauty’ (I’ve seen it on DVD) plus another extra or so, on some other “Disc Two” which doesn’t exist. It turns out that this bonus disc is nicked from the two-disc 2-D Blu-ray edition, in which it is Disc One… (Still with me?) A disappointing rush-job, which one doesn’t expect from a normally-meticulous studio such as Disney.

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Disney’s 3-D Slate

September 12, 2009
Jim Carrey in Disney's 'A Christmas Carol'

Jim Carrey in Disney's 'A Christmas Carol'

You wanted the most up-to-date listing of Disney’s coming 3-D releases, and we have ’em right here, on the blog for South Africa’s 3-D faithful.

First up is A Christmas Carol, which opens toward the end of the year. Although it’s in 3-D, it features four dimensions of Jim Carrey – i.e. he plays Ebenezer Scrooge in addition to the triad of Yuletide spooks.

Some will moan that this is overindulgence on the part of Carrey, but I would argue that the three Ghosts of Christmas are actually projections of the Scrooge character – or parallel-universe possibilities of the same man, to express it in another way. It therefore makes absolute sense that one actor should play Scrooge and all of the ghosts. (And, given the current economic climate, I daresay that the studio saved millions in additional star salaries…)

Then, early in 2010, the original Toy Story and its sequel are being released in 3-D reincarnations. That way, the studio gets to milk even more box office out of titles that have already been fat cash cows on both theatrical and DVD release. These stereoptifications will further serve as a teaser for Toy Story 3, which opens shortly thereafter – in 3-D, of course. Would I miss any of these screenings? Don’t be daft!

Due to open here early in April, Disney’s 2010 take on Lewis Carroll’s trippy classic, Alice in Wonderland: 3-D, directed by Tim Burton, stars Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee and Timothy Spall. If that doesn’t sound like cinematic Nirvana to you, I’m afraid you’ve probably been watching too many WWF reruns to recognise a good thing…

The splendid Beauty and the Beast (arguably one of the best Disney animated movies to be made after Uncle Walt’s passing), underwent an image format conversion for its IMAX release a few years ago, and is now also being revamped for Digital 3-D release. For that happy day, I’ll go out and buy a suit.

In case you’re concerned about the possibility of the hallowed art of Disney-style ‘cel animation’ perishing in this brave (yet counter-traditional) new digital age, fear no more. For the past few decades, Uncle Walt’s nephew (and Disney Vice Chairman) Roy Disney, has fought off the “modernisers” by insisting upon the preservation of his uncle’s style of animation. More recently, Pixar/Disney’s Big Guy John Lasseter has added his considerable muscle to this lobby.

The result of their campaigning can be witnessed in Disney’s new 2-D, “hand-animated” film, The Princess and the Frog, which releases in SA on January 29th 2010. (Yes, this is a blog for the 3-D geek, but I’m a Disney devotee, so I trust that you’ll pardon this small digression…)

Those who enjoyed the Pixar title Cars will have to wait until 2012 until they can clamp eyes on the sequel, which will be in 3-D, of course. And finally, fans of the sci-fi author Philip K Dick (whose novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? inspired Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner), are busting a spleen in anticipation of Disney’s King of the Elves. It will be a good two years-plus before they can sample the Disney Studio’s adaptation of this short story of Dick’s.

Disney 3-D Slate with Anticipated South African Release Dates:

A Christmas Carol 3-D – November 6th 2009

Toy Story: 3-D (The original, reworked into 3D) – January 1st to February 26th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Toy Story 2: 3-D (The original, reworked into 3D) – January 15th to March 12th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Alice in Wonderland3-D – March 5th to April 2nd 2010

Beauty and the Beast3-D – May 28th [* This release date has been put on hold by the Disney organisation.  I’m pretty sure that the movie will still be released – just no longer sure when, at this stage… *]

Toy Story 3: 3-D : 3-D– August 6th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Rapunzel: 3-D – November 26th 2010 [Updated September 16th 2009]

Tron: Legacy3-D – December 17th 2010 [This title added September 16th 2009]

Newt3-D – Winter 2011

The Bear and the Bow3-D – December 2011/January 2012

Cars 23-D – Winter 2012

King of Elves3-D – December 2012/January 2013