Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray Review

'Beauty and the Beast' Blu-ray Review: An enchanted remake that will delight fans of Disney's original

June 14, 2017Ben MK

From the moment Emma Watson appears onscreen as Belle in Disney's live-action reimagining of Beauty and the Beast, you know you're in for a treat. The sets, the costumes, the songs — all of it has been carefully crafted to evoke the memory of the 1991 animated movie. After all, remaking their back catalog of animated features into live-action spectacles has become the studio's bread and butter, and they've gotten pretty darn good at it.

Director Bill Condon's retelling of the classic fairy tale — which has itself been adapted for film and television a countless number of times — is no exception to the rule. Co-starring a laundry list of Hollywood talent, including Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ian McKellen, it takes the tried-and-true formula Disney has been perfecting over the course of the past few years with films like 2016's The Jungle Book, and it even turns it up a notch or two here and there.

The story by Steven Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos remains ever so familiar, focusing on the love story between the beautiful but misfit Belle and the even more misfit Beast (Stevens), a handsome but selfish prince cursed with a feral outward appearance. Two kindred spirits who don't even realize they're kindred spirits, at least not until fate conspires to bring them together, their relationship gets off to a rocky start after Belle finds herself imprisoned in the Beast's imposing castle, but soon blossoms into something neither of them expected.

The performances are all solid across the board and the production design is grand and glamorous, but of course, it's the songs that prove to be the undisputed highlight of the movie. From Watson's charmingly low-key rendition of "Belle," to McGregor crooning "Be Our Guest" in a cartoonish French accent, you'd be hard-pressed to find a sour note among the bunch. Yes, there's even a brand-new CĂ©line Dion track, titled "How Does a Moment Last Forever," because, frankly, no Beauty and the Beast remake would be complete without it.

No doubt Beauty and the Beast represents the crown jewel among Disney's recent batch of live-action reboots, and, as such, the studio has afforded the film an impeccable Blu-ray presentation bursting with ravishing hues and razor-sharp details, all the better for viewers to admire the movie's lavish production and costume design. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix accompanying this veritable visual feast proves equally praiseworthy. The Beast's roars, the cast's vocals and composer Alan Menken's music resonate with impressive clarity, with the rest of the audio package rounded off by the sounds of growling wolves, galloping horses and an angry mob.

Disney's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack provides two additional options for viewing the movie (with a 3:06 Overture, or in Sing-Along Mode). It also includes an iTunes digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Enchanted Table Read (13:31) - Watch as the cast participate in a lively read-through of the script, performing a selection of musical numbers along the way.
  • A Beauty of a Tale (27:08) - A making-of documentary that touches on the production and costume design, the music and the dance choreography, the cast and their performances, the differences between the original animated film and the live-action version, the new songs written specifically for the movie, and the visual effects.
  • The Women Behind Beauty and the Beast (5:17) - Production Designer Sarah Greenwood, Set Decorator Katie Spencer, Costume Designer Jacqueline Durran, Casting Director Lucy Bevan and Film Editor Virgina Katz discuss their work on the movie and their keys to success in the industry.
  • From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences (13:26) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of four musical sequences, including the production and costume design, the casting, the visual effects and the lighting design, and the dance choreography and the rehearsal process ("Belle," "Be Our Guest," "Gaston" and "Beauty and the Beast").
  • Extended Song: "Days in the Sun" with Introduction by Bill Condon (4:08) - An extended/alternate version of the song from the film.
  • Deleted Scenes (6:23) - Eight scenes, with an introduction by Director Bill Condon ("Gaston Courts Belle," "Bread and Jam for Agathe," "Storming the Ice Gates," "Lumiere Torches LeFou," "Monsieur Toilette," "Cogsworth Rescues Lumiere," "Treacle the Lasses" and "LeFou and Monsieur Toilette Reunite").
  • Making a Moment with Celine Dion (3:24) - The singer talks about the impact the first movie and her late husband had on her life, and her decision to sing the song for this movie.
  • Beauty and the Beast" Music Video by Ariana Grande and John Legend (4:02) - The official music video for the song from the movie.
  • Making the Music Video: "Beauty and the Beast" (2:07) - Grande and Legend talk about reprising the iconic song for a new generation.
  • Disney Song Selection (33:09) - Ten shortcuts to all twelve songs featured in the movie, with sing-along lyrics ("Belle," "How Does a Moment Last Forever (Music Box)," "Belle (Reprise)," "Gaston," "Be Our Guest," "Days in the Sun," "Something There," "How Does a Moment Last Forever (Montmartre)," "Beauty and the Beast," "Evermore," "The Mob Song" and "Beauty and the Beast (Finale)").

Beauty and the Beast is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of June 6th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 9 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on March 17th, 2017.

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