Despite flaws, seeing ‘Beauty’ again is a must

Disney musicals of late haven’t quite measured up to the impressive run in the early 1990s, which resurrected the animated feature. Beginning with The Little Mermaid, hitting the pinnacle with Beauty and The Beast and continuing the success with The Lion King, Disney was back on top of the film world and appeared to stay perched for a long time to come. Then, when the formula began to run dry with Pocahontas and the material weakened with Hercules and the dismal Emperor’s New Groove, there was no place to turn but back.

And thus, the perennial cash-cow feeder Disney decided to bring back its favorite child for a new generation.

A new musical number is inserted into the re-mastered version of Beauty and The Beast for its large-screen-format release. The number, “Human Again,” is a lively daydream for Beast’s cursed servants that is entertaining, funny, and, at the same time, seemingly out of place.

Originally written for the movie, only to be cut and re-appear later in the Broadway musical version, “Human Again” will only distract those who are seeing the animated classic for the first time. Although, for those who love the only cartoon ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, taking advantage of seeing it again, this time on the IMAX screen, is a must. However, seeing it on Broadway is not.

Beauty and The Beast is the rare musical that is more successful on screen rather than stage. Sure, it tells the same story and the makeup is fabulous, but overall, you’re watching grown men and women with really animated faces dance around in a fairy tale land that never quite takes you away.

Never is the necessity to transport you more evident than when viewed on the IMAX screen. Because the seats are tilted back, the experience brings you closer than ever before to the enchanted world of Belle and her Beast.

However, with this closeness comes the realization that some of the background drawings are as simplistic as kindergarten-finger paintings. Because everything is magnified three times its normal size, all of the imperfections are not only noticeable, but they are also distracting as well.

Although, not all is lost. Beauty and The Beast still tells a great story, and the film works for its characters and music. High-tech animation wasn’t important to most moviegoers until Toy Story. Beauty and The Beast transcended the age gap when it was released 10 years ago, and it serves the same purpose today.

  • Beauty and The Beast is Rated G and only playing at MOSI IMAX and Channelside Cinemas IMAX.

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