Beauty and the Beast (2017) Blu-Ray
It’s time to take a tour of the magic castle as Disney’s latest live-action adaptation, Beauty and the Beast, arrives on blu-ray this week. Does the fairy tale hold up for it’s home entertainment launch or fall flat? Be our guest (see what I did there) to our review to find out!
A Tale as Old as Time (But It’s Good Looking)
Beauty and the Beast is a classic story about the power of love, and how it affects those around us. Cursed in his younger days, a self-centered Prince and his castle servants are forced to live out their lives as various inanimate objects and (of course) a hideous beast until he can learn to love and be loved by another. Belle seeks adventure and when she offers to take her father’s place as a prisoner in the Beast’s castle, she’s set upon a path that could end the curse for good (check out our original theatrical review for more).
If you’ve seen the original Beauty and the Beast animated movie, then you pretty much know what’s in store for the live-action remake. More than any of their previous films that pull from the animated classics, Beauty and the Beast feels like the most straight up adaptation out of them all. Using many of the same songs, scene set-ups, and dialog it’s much more of a remake than a film that tries to make its own story. In some ways, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it a tough sell for audiences who weren’t exactly enamored with the original, or even fans looking for something unique.
At its core, Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale, with all the good and bad that comes with it. I’m not huge on fairy tale films, though I can certainly appreciate the care with which this one is put together. The acting is solid and helps pull you through some of the parts that don’t quite click (the Beast’s design and animation feels inconsistent throughout), and it’s gorgeous to boot.
Personally speaking, the animated 1991 film isn’t among my favorite Disney flicks...in fact, it sits pretty low. It’s just never been a story that resonated with me personally. As such, I was a little disappointed that the new film did little to change the formula and forge its own path.
This obviously isn’t a sentiment shared by countless others. To that end, I can say the new film is an excellent presentation of the story so many already know and love. The production values are through the roof. The lavish set design throughout the film (including the village and castle) do a great job of transporting you to a new location populated with vibrant characters.
There’s a definitive level of immersion the production values brings to the table, making for a great presentation of this story. In terms of the blu-ray release, it makes for a stunning showcase in HD. The image is crisp and clear, with deep blacks that make the colors and details on the intricate sets really pop. Everything stands out in impressive quality (sadly, this makes some of the weaker animation aspects stand out too), with a solid soundtrack mix to go along with it.
Beauty and the Beast comes with a bevy of special features for fans/buyers to sift through:
Enchanted Table Read – Join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more.
A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic.
The Women Behind “Beauty and the Beast” – Emma Watson introduces several of the talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.
Making a Moment with Celine Dion – Celine Dion shares what it’s like to sing “How Does a Moment Last Forever” – and be a part of the legacy of “Beauty and the Beast.”
From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – See what goes into making some of the best-known moments from “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Belle” — Filmmakers and cast reveal how it felt to shoot this memorable scene.
“Be Our Guest” — Discover all that went into creating this epic, primarily virtual performance.
“Gaston” — Join the cast for rehearsals and filming of this rousing, high-energy number.
“Beauty and the Beast” — You’re invited on set for the filming of this beloved, classic scene.
Introduction by Director Bill Condon — Director Bill Condon presents a collection of scenes that, for one reason or another, ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Gaston Courts Belle — Pleased with himself after settling a disturbance with the townspeople, a triumphant Gaston attempts to woo Belle.
Bread and Jam for Agathe — On her morning market rounds, Belle stops by to see Agathe, the village beggar woman.
Storming the Ice Gates — The angry mob of villagers, led by Gaston, overwhelms the castle’s defenses.
Lumière Torches LeFou — As the fight rages around them, LeFou scuffles with Plumette … until he experiences a sudden, extremely heated interruption.
Monsieur Toilette — LeFou escapes from the brawl into a small room, where he’s startled by a castle resident.
Cogsworth Rescues Lumière — When Clothilde the fishmonger threatens Lumière, Cogsworth leaps into the fray.
Treacle the Lasses — Three village lasses chase Chip and Froufrou – Madame Garderobe’s dog-turned-footstool – into the kitchen, where a surprise awaits.
LeFou and Monsieur Toilette Reunite — After the spell is broken and the castle residents are returned to human form, LeFou and his new acquaintance meet again.
Extended Song: “Days in the Sun” – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, introduced by director Bill Condon.
“Beauty and the Beast” Music Video – Award-winning artists Ariana Grande and John Legend perform a moving version of this iconic song.
Making the Music Video – Go on set to capture the magic as it happens in Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” music video.
Disney Song Selection – Jump directly to all your favorite songs and sing along with the movie.
The behind the scenes featurettes this time are pretty fun, especially for fans of the story. They offer a good inside look at how they adapted the story from animated tale to live-action epic, while giving you a look at the musical numbers, and character creation. They’re interesting to watch, but not likely anything you’ll come back to later on down the road.
Disney has never been one to skimp on the special features on their releases. It’s one of the most impressive things they bring to a home entertainment release every single time. Whether it’s their animated films, Marvel movies, or Star Wars ones, they bring a good quantity of extra content. That’s not to say all of them are amazing, many of these on Beauty and the Beast are pretty standard, but you always feel like you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Beautiful Presentation for a Classic Story
While I’m not a huge fan of the story, or fairy tale movies in general, that doesn’t stop me from recognizing the good work put into Beauty and the Beast. The acting is great, the production values are super impressive, and the blu-ray transfer makes all of this shine. Throw in a boatload of bonus features, and it’s hard not to recommend picking up Beauty and the Beast on blu-ray. It’s easily the best presentation of THIS story, and fans have plenty to be happy about.