What movie was that...?

19 May 2010

Beauty and the Beast

directed by Gary Truesdale and  Kirk Wise

In light of my recents posts, I feel it is high time for a little light from all this darkness...
I was recently lamenting the fact that my generation didn’t have any truly classic traditional Disney films to boast of, when I remembered the magnificent Beauty and the Beast. Sure, some may tell you that The Lion King ranks up there, or even Aladdin, but the sad fact is that neither of these hold up like such iron clad classics as Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, Bambi, Fantasia or Peter Pan, and that’s just naming a few. During the so-called Disney Renaissance, several strong films emerged that showed promise, but of the newly accomplished bunch, only one possesses the pure magic that elevates it to such timeless ranks as the aforementioned. The story of Belle discovering love at the hands of her captor is pure Stockholm syndrome folklore, but Disney somehow manages to find the same transcendent core of the story that Jean Cocteau did with his 1946 version, and perhaps it was my age that helped engross me so, helped to enrapture me, but Disney’s pitch perfect fable is simply marvelous. Honestly, can you look back on The Little Mermaid with such affection, such objectivity? Or Pocahontas? These films are great, don’t get me wrong, but they are not of the same caliber and that’s a fact, Jack. You should be proud of your contributions to the grand Disney canon, Mr. Eisner, and you should be proud of such an achievement as having one of your animated films be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Hell that’s only happened twice, and it took a doubling of candidates for Up to make it into the recent running. Go back, experience it again. It is important to revisit places and things that conjure up such powerful youthful emotions, especially when they are such blood warming comforts as Beauty and the Beast. Blending computer animation with traditional animation for the first time, Beauty and the Beast is also bittersweet in that it marks the beginning of traditional animation’s wane in the universe. Watching it now is like watching an old home movie about the last few days of summer, when the days grow shorter, and time slips away faster than you care to admit. 

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