Beauty & the Beast (Trousdale & Wise, 1991)

What's it about? This weekend sees a welcome re-release of the updated Disney version of the much-loved, centuries-old fairy tale. The beautiful Belle is imprisoned in an enchanted castle by a ferocious Beast, but soon starts to see past his fierce appearance. Can true love break the spell?

Is it any good? Marvellous. One of the very best fairy tales, full of the danger, darkness and magic that appeals to the child in all of us. But the real genius of the film is in how music, visuals and script are layered upon the story to bring it all to life. Best of all, the toe-tapping songs are not simply shoehorned in as musical interludes – they actually help tell the story, driving the narrative along with their clever lyrics and economically moving us from one part of the story to the next. An almost perfect romantic-comedy-musical - go check it out on the big screen when you have the chance.

I don't trust you. What do others think? It cemented the renaissance of Disney animation after a barren couple of decades, paved the way for the commonplace use of computers in animation, inspired the hit Broadway muscial and was the first animated film ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. It appears regularly near the top of greatest animated film lists. Look, it's pretty good, okay?

Anything else I should know? Also rewards the film enthusiast by paying homage to films such as Citizen Kane, The Sound of Music, Bambi, Frankenstein and, fittingly, Jean Cocteau’s ethereal version of the same tale, La Belle et la Bête, which makes an intriguing companion piece to the Disney production.

What does the Fonz think? Beauty & the Beast teaches us that looks aren’t everything, but in this case, they are.

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