Beauty and the Beast in 3D Review

Figured I might as well start with one of the films that started it all… Because the fantasy nut had to start somewhere, and where better than an enchanted castle? Between this movie, The Last Unicorn, and Bruce Coville’s Unicorn Chronicles series, my world fundamentally became mystical before I was even ten.

I went into the film a giant skeptic. I have mixed feelings about suddenly re-releasing everything that was ever considered a major film in 3D, simply because some of them are not going to take the treatment well. However, I also figured an animated film such as this one had a better shot than most, plus that Tangled short was calling my name, so I bit the bullet and paid the extra money for the full experience.

That extra lump of change? Totally worth it within the first five minutes of film. Going through the forest to zoom in on the castle and the stain glass was done amazingly well, I was literally in awe like it was my first time watching it all over again. (Even though I swear there was some rewording in that narrator-prologue in one spot. My friend says I’m crazy, and she may be right since I don’t have the original film on hand to compare.)

Sadly, the greatness could not continue. I immediately spotted how, when they were making everything into 3D, some coloration, primarily shadows and subtle shading to some of the characters, was lost in the process. They sometimes just sat on the ground, without shadows to indicate anything was there at all or a change in the ground to show that dirt was being displaced by a foot. The sound started sounding goofy about the same time, making some of the background dialogue seem really loud (though that is potentially a theater, not a film, problem). Some of that background scenery earned new notice with the treatment, though, and made me giggle. Such as the woman who sings, “You call this bacon?” actually holding up a fish. No, a fish is not bacon (not that I think bacon is part of the time period either). Much like how in Mahjong, we cannot figure out how a bird is related to bamboo, which we also call bacon because of the way it is drawn. (Okay, we really can take an education guess at the bird, but it has become a running joke now.) The little moments and awesome scenery really just out-showed the now flat-color characters (worse than the original, I mean.)

They went a little crazy adding extra branches to the dark woods for 3D effects during slow parts. It got a little too overcrowded visually for me at some points, especially with Phillip and Maurice in the first scene there in the woods. It was a little better with Belle and Phillip vs. the wolves later. The rain on the castle got nuts. I understand adding to it for 3D, but it got out of proportion with the rest of the frame in some scenes or too heavy period in others… Plus, proportions in the castle got absolutely bonkers. I understand, enchanted castle. Things are going to probably be a little wonky. All the scary gargoyles become angels, for pity’s sake, after the spell is broken. But still… I think the interior ended up being about eight times bigger than the physical. See that line, about a mile back…? Yeah, it’s the line of believability, and it got crossed.

Another aspect of disappointment was the 3D’s affect on the Beast. Maybe this is the fact the coloration on my childhood TVs were always pretty dark, but I never knew completely what the Beast looked like until Belle first saw him. I know we all now know what he looks like, but it is such an awesome cinematic introduction, with sharp overhead lighting after so much shadow and suspense… It makes me really sad that he got lightened up to the point of easy visibility in the earlier scenes with Maurice.

The sound and flat colors continued (plus me just noticing a couple of color fails on the original’s parts. Phillip’s feathers should have been white…), especially in Lafou’s song (OW, my ears, he was so out of proportion with the others singers in “Gaston”). The ballroom scene, thankfully, survived moderately intact. There was one moment of color fail with Belle’s dress where instead of that rich gold it was canary yellow, but that was the only moment I cringed in that scene… Belle didn’t escape problems entirely, though. Her eye color kept changing. It started out the same color as her hair, then it became green, then an olive brown. It was a little weird. The big changing scene also had this long scene with Belle next the Beast as he rose up into the air… I don’t remember this scene. Was this another short insert (there’s another of a random screen shot of the stairs)? Hmm… Don’t see the purpose, other than to shoot starbursts at the audience.

Good news, no random insert of song from the re-release on DVD/Blue-ray, that’s a total YAY moment. I still went “AWWWW!” embarrassingly loud when the Beast said he loved Belle, and whimpered when Belle said the same thing later (This movie turns me into an even worse sap). I still inwardly grumbled about the Beast changing back, but that’s a problem I have with the story itself. For some reason, I keep wanting the monsters to physically stay, you know…monsters. Gaston is still a major slime ball… Though apparently his whispering to Lafou makes no sense at the end of “Gaston.” My friends swear they heard random, unrelated words this time. Chip is still adorable and confused by the grown-ups talking over his head… I totally recommend the movie, just for the opening and closing sequences because they are worth the 3D charge.

…And the Tangled short is just awesome sauce. Not gonna lie.

(Random preview story: There was a clip. With silver, type-face font. Talking about how last year, the four disappeared from the screen, and were returning this summer. My friend and I literally reached over to grab hands, thinking it was an Avengers preview and about to SERIOUSLY FREAK OUT and just go completely geek in the theater (to the mortification of the other two with us, I’m sure).

…It was for Madagascar 3. We were NOT amused.)

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About Rebecca M. Horner

A spinner of yarns (of the story sort, though I do crochet...and sew, and learning to make armor...) View all posts by Rebecca M. Horner

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