Beauty and the Beast

(Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, USA, 1991)


Watching this version of Beauty and the Beast, I wondered whether today’s Disney animators had fallen into a time warp.

The problem is not in their choice of material – the story of Belle in the castle of the cursed Beast will always be worth retelling – but in the style they employ.

Every aspect of this animated feature is modelled on memories of ’50s musicals, from the cute secondary characters to the songs, which sound like out-takes from Brigadoon (1954).

The colour, the spectacle, the dramatic sweep of the animation – all this is of course skilful and at moments even entrancing. But I wonder how many children can truly relate to its old-fashioned references and squeaky clean sentiments.

This is an animated universe into which the likes of Roger Rabbit or The Simpsons have certainly never intruded.

MORE Trousdale/Wise: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

© Adrian Martin August 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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