Beauty remains one of Disney's finest works. It was unequivocally the best animated film of its era up until arguably The Jungle Book (1967) or even Disney's comeback with The Little Mermaid (1989), depending on your point of view. It succeeds thanks to its awesome score -- borrowed from Tchaikovsky's waltzes -- as well as unprecedentedly detailed animation (dig the backgrounds) and its insanely over-the-top villain ("Me, the mistress of all evil!"). There's no freakin' singing animals or easy solution to the problem -- the prince has to hack his way through a wall of thorns then beat down a dragon in order to get his lady back! Young kids may not really dig the non-caricatured imagery and the lack of child-friendly messages; this isn't exactly the kind of movie you sing along to. (Poor Tchaikovsky missed the Mickey Mouse Club era by about a century.)
The story is unfortunately a little drawn out (lots of cake-making and such before we get to the meat of the story) and not terribly surprising, but such are the typical constraints of animation. The new Disney DVD adds a number of extras, but not much of them are worth watching. An Oscar-winning short from 1958 can be found on disc two, and there's an exhaustively informative (but deathly snoozy) commentary track on the remastered feature disc.
Definitely one to own, even if that second DVD never comes out of the box.
Run time: 75 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th February 1959
Box Office Worldwide: $51M
Distributed by: Buena Vista
Production compaines: Walt Disney Productions
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Producer: Walt Disney
Starring: Mary Costa as Princess Aurora, Bill Shirley as Prince Phillip, Eleanor Audley as Maleficent, Verna Felton as Flora, Barbara Luddy as Merryweather, Barbara Jo Allen as Fauna, Taylor Holmes as Stefan, Bill Thompson as Hubert
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