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Blu-ray Review: Beauty and the Beast

June 6, 2017

By John Corrado

A live action remake of Disney’s beloved animated classic, Beauty and the Beast updates the story of a prince (Dan Stevens) cursed to live as a beast, and the young woman (Emma Watson) who sees through his appearance and starts to fall in love with him.

The highest grossing movie of the year so far with over a billion dollars worldwide, this new version of Beauty and the Beast has gained a big fan base in its own right.  Even though I still think the animated one is superior, this film really does do justice to the material, offering a beautifully crafted and often enchanting musical that is carried by a great ensemble cast.  For more on the film itself, you can read our three views of it right here.

The Blu-ray also includes a solid selection of “behind the scenes” footage.  First up is Enchanted Table Read, where we get to see some delightful footage from the elaborate read through they did which was basically a stripped down rehearsal of the full film complete with singing and dancing.  Next is the extended featurette A Beauty of a Tale, which takes us through various aspects of the gigantic production, from the elaborate sets and costumes that were modelled after the animated version, to the amount of work the actors put into doing justice to their iconic characters, spending months practising the choreography and singing.

The short but worthwhile piece The Women Behind Beauty and the Beast features Emma Watson introducing us to some of the many powerful women who worked on the film, from the entirely female crew of department heads to editor Virginia Katz.  The solid four-part featurette From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences delves into how several of the animated film’s iconic numbers were transferred over to their new form through a mix of live action and seamless special effects, with original composer Alan Menken working closely alongside the new crew to preserve the legacy of his and the late Howard Ashman’s iconic original songs.

We also get a brief discussion of how Celine Dion was brought back in to perform the end credits track “How Does a Moment Last Forever” in Making a Moment With Celine Dion.  Finally, the disc includes several deleted scenes with introductions by director Bill Condon and an extended alternate version of the song “Days in the Sun” which had to be reshot for the final film, as well as the music video for Ariana Grande and John Legend’s take on the classic title song and a brief look at the making of the video.  This is a worthwhile selection of bonus material overall, that provides a highly enjoyable glimpse into the amount of passion and work that went into making the film.

Beauty and the Beast is a Walt Disney Home Entertainment release.  It’s 129 minutes and rated PG.

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