If you were born anytime after this movie came out, it might as well have been around forever. I literally cannot imagine a world where this film did not exist.
In case you do, in fact, live in that world, and you haven’t seen this film, it’s the epitome of a Disney classic. Beauty and the Beast is the story of Belle, a young woman in provincial France who educated herself by reading. When her father, an inventor named Maurice, is forced into stumbling upon a castle, she goes looking for him. The castle is the home to a foul prince who was cursed to take the form of a beast, and Belle offers herself in place of her dungeoned father.
Against all odds, Belle falls in love with the Beast, the only way to break the spell, returning all the enchanted servants to their human forms. There is nothing particularly original about this “tale as old as time,” but I have not seen a version as undeniably magical as this.
Beauty and the Beast was the first animated feature to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. It contained the first fully animated and computer-generated background (the ballroom scene). Nearly every song is cemented in the hearts and minds of children all over the world.
It’s really the type of film that doesn’t need to be reviewed, as you’ve likely formed your own opinion on it, whether you first watched it as a child or with your child. In my eyes, this is a magnificent film, and that statement is true as it can be.
Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 20. It is available on digital platforms now, but you probably already own it.
[Editor’s note: the version I watched most recently was the Special Edition, which contains a deleted song, “Human Again.” It is an interesting concept of a song, but I am slightly thankful it was left out of the theatrical cut.]