A few months ago, Metro revisited Disney’s iconic animated masterpiece The Lion King, whose original 2D visual pallet had been converted and re-released as 3D entertainment. This writer was charged with taking his budding movie buff four and a half-year-old son Jack to see the movie, a father/son rite of passage and also an alarming reminder at how times have changed. Because no matter how spectacular The Lion King remains, its level of emotional intensity and violent confrontation is something that, well, kids today in this more nervous pop cult landscape just aren’t as familiar with.
Today, the house the mouse built digs up another masterwork, again in 3D: 1992’s sumptuous, Oscar-nominated Beauty and the Beast. For this round, I opted to not only bring the sophisticated of taste Jack with me to critique, but also another member of my film-reared brood, three-year-old Elliot, a young man who adores motion pictures ... but abhors wearing 3D glasses.
Now that’s as good a place to start as any.
Beauty is just that, a ravishing classic fairy tale, with every single hand drawn frame a work of warm art. So why then, cut up those delicate frames into 3D? The answer is, of course, to compete in today’s screen leaping obsessed marketplace. Fair enough, but while The Lion King’s conversion — with its bright, sun burnt vistas — benefited from that dimensional goose, Beauty is a much darker affair and much of the gimmick is ineffective. And in Elliot’s case, annoying, as the lad kept removing his specs, refusing my many attempts to put them back on.
No matter. He still was gripped by the picture. Both boys were. It’s tight, colourful, lively, operatic and brisk, with not a shred of flab upon its meticulously designed body. And while it’s still a rather intense, frightening affair (compared to say, Arthur Christmas) it lacks the relentless flesh eating and traumatic patricide of The Lion King. Instead, every gothic shock, howling wolf and the screaming beast is instantly reeled back in with singing teapots, spunky heroines and comic relief. And although the new 3D sheen lacks the punch it promises, it’s still exciting to see Beauty and the Beast return to screens so that parents raised on its romantic, passionate charms can share it with their kids.
It also for me, marks a milestone in Jack’s cinematic pallet in the form of his newly minted disdain for chick flicks.
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“I loved that movie,” he remarked as the credits rolled.
“But I hate girls in dresses that kiss.”
There you have it.