If The Little Mermaid launched the studio into a bright future, Beauty and the Beast took it to glorious new heights. A perfect blend of stellar animation, a wonderful score, catchy songs and spectacular characters, Beauty and the Beast is one of the studio's finest (if not the finest) efforts. Many of the people that worked on Mermaid also worked here so there's a sense of continuity and fluidity between the two. The CAPS system that was launched with the (underrated) The Rescuers Down Under is fully developed in this movie and the characters are richly drawn and colored. The backgrounds and locations are breathtaking and full of detail so you're fully immersed in the character's world. The most enthralling thing though is how they take a very flawed human (or in this case, creature) and turned him into a deeply likable and sensible character that's the heart of the film. We also have a very smart and strong woman and together, they become one of the best couples that Disney have ever created. The supporting characters offer more than just comic relief becoming essential elements of the story and adding more depth to an already layered story. The score and songs created by legendary duo of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (in one of his final contributions before his untimely death) add an epic scope to the movie that makes you think you are watching a big Broadway musical with dazzling numbers like 'Belle', 'Be Our Guest' and the utterly romantic 'Beauty and the Beast' that only adds to the movie's grandeur. Not only that, but this film was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (something that won't happen again until Pixar's Up 18 years later) and won two Awards for Best Original Song and Score (also won the Golden Globe for Best Picture Musical or Comedy) and earned huge amounts of money cementing itself as one of Disney's most popular and beloved classics. The tale may be a little old but it hasn't lost any of its luster. A masterpiece. Rating: 5/5.
Next Week - Animated Classic #31 Review: Aladdin (1992)