Beauty and the Beast: Movie: Yes // 3D: No
If ever an animated Disney movie deserved a second theatrical release it's Beauty and the Beast. It was the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Motion Picture Academy Award after all. It's beautiful to watch. The characters are compelling. The music and songs are completely classic. In fact, Alan Menken and Howard Asman's work on the music and songs earned it two Oscar wins.
The story follows Belle (Paige O'Hara), the local beauty in a small town in France. Her father, Maurice (Rex Everhart), is an inventor who ends up at a creepy dark castle one night where he is imprisoned by the resident beast, Beast (Robby Benson). Belle comes to rescue her father and stays in his place. After a rocky start, the two begin to get closer. And following the dramatic law of relationships, we all know where that's going.
The castle is populated and cared for by, among others, Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers)—a clock who's wound a bit too tightly, the teapot Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury)—a piece of crockery with a soft heart, and the candlestick Lumiere (Jerry Orbach)—apparently the only being in all of France to have a French accent. When the curse they're all under is finally broken (oh, uh, spoiler alert) you have to wonder if they had to go out and buy completely new plates, flatware and furniture, since they're all human again.
It's been years since I've seen the movie, and it still holds up completely. If you don't have it in your video library already, especially if you have young kids at home, it's definitely worth a big-screen viewing. Though if you do have it in your library, it's up to you to choose whether the cost of a big-screen movie is worth watching something you can watch at home for free.
So far as the 3D conversion, however, I suggest avoiding it.
I've already gone on record as being completely underwhelmed with the 3D conversions that have been coming out recently. The best conversions basically aspire to not becoming a distraction at most.
That being said, I was curious what it would be like converting a cell animated film into 3D. (I missed the chance to see the 3D Lion King conversion.) But there are serious problems with converting this kind of movie.
Often, the backgrounds for cell-animated features are built with a distorted perspective to create the impression of a bigger world that doesn't exist. When you try to make that into a 3D image, things can get weird.
Also, there's a frame-rate problem. Depending on the format, standard films will usually have a frame rate of 24 - 30 frames per second. Now, nobody wants to draw that many pictures for an entire movie, so animated films usually animate on the 2s. That means they only draw a new image for every other frame. This is because it's still a high enough frame-rate to slip past the human eye but dramatically cuts down the work required.
I understand the chariot scene on The Prince of Egypt was animated on the 3s or 4s which cut the frame rate down even more and added to a much more choppy sequence, like using shaky-cam in a live action film. On the other hand, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was animated on the 1s—which means they skipped no frames with their animation—which is why Roger's ears are always in constant yet very smooth motion.
The reason this frame-rate matters is that there are sequences of action—for instance, I noticed it in the scene where Beast is rescuing Belle from the wolves—where the movement is so fast that the frame rate starts to get in the way in 3D. In 2D, it's okay. But in 3D your eyes are already putting so much effort into figuring out what's happening that the low frame rate becomes much more noticeable and distracting.
That's not to say that the whole thing is bad. There are moments where you can tell that real effort was put into making the image look great. But the rest of the movie ranges between "that just doesn't look quite right" and "it's actually not too distracting right now."
The 3D brings little new to the movie and at best doesn't get in the way.
That being said, the movie itself comes in with a 10 / 10 from me.
Beauty and the Beast is rated G but contains scenes of action violence and a few female characters who may need a little more top on their dress.