Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Blu-ray review

Sep 20, 2016- Permalink

Disney’s 1991 animated musical Beauty and the Beast was a cultural phenomenon, earning over $400 million dollars worldwide and becoming the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. On its 25th anniversary, Disney is now releasing it again on Blu-ray as part of The Signature Collection. The set includes three versions of the film: the original theatrical release, an extended edition with an extra six minutes or so, and a sing-along version for viewers to join in on the Oscar-winning songs. Sadly, the 2011 3D version is not included in the set.

The disc’s AVC encoded 1080p transfer is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, differing slightly from the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical release. The video presentation is definitely a beauty. The whole rich colour palette is beautifully represented whether we’re in a forest scene or a dazzling ballroom. The details of the animation are all there, and the lush, traditionally painted backgrounds of the animation look gorgeous. The transfer faithfully captures the artistry of Disney’s animators while not introducing digital artifacts that would distract from the presentation.

On the audio side, we get an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack and well as French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, French and Spanish. The soundscape is not a beast either. We’re pulled into this animated world and surrounded with its ambience. Dialogue is clear from the softest whisper and loudest shout to the best sung chorus. Low frequency effects are used well. The songs and music of Beauty and the Beast are well-served by this soundtrack.

The disc comes with a variety of supplements though some of them are only available digitally online and not on the discs themselves though they had been included on previous releases. You get the usual grab bag of behind-the-scenes looks, discussions with cast and artists and looks at the musical process. One of the new supplements, “Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration” features Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Lin- Manuel Miranda, Stephen Schwartz, and Alan Menken discussing and performing songs from the film.

On the Beauty side, the audio and video presentation are impeccable. On the Beast side, I would like to have seen all of the previous extras on a supplementary disc as opposed to being made available for digital download and in the sake of previous version completeness I would like to have had the 3D version included. Still, my review has far more Beauty than Beast, and if you don’t have the previous Blu-ray versions, than The Signature Collection 25th Anniversary release of Beauty and the Beast belongs in your home entertainment library.