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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
1991 - Gary Trousdale / Kirk Wise
United States
111
Opening Shot

Recalling the classic Walk Disney inspired films of the past (Sleeping Beauty, Snow White), Beauty and the Beast opens with a beautiful shot looking through the woods where a magical castle sits in the backdrop. Here the film begins low, inside the woods (with prominent flowers and a waterfall framing the shot and is seen drinking water by the stream) as the camera dollies through to emerge towards the castle. The shot fades in closeup to the castle as narration begins, "Once upon a time in a faraway land a young prince lived in a shining castle..."

The Film

"If I didn't know better, I'd say you had feelings for that monster." Ah yes, how many great things can you say about Disney's animated musical, Beauty and the Beast (which is based of Jean Cocteau's 1946 French masterpiece). Disney has made many classics, but this may be my favorite (alongside Dumbo). Beauty and the Beast is a study of the human soul. It's a classical fairy tale about good vs evil and love that is sad, scary, tense, funny, heartwarming, and absolutely romantic. The film examines a man whose horrible soul has been shown over his body for all to see, and the woman who strengthens a change and ultimately restores his humanity. It's a timeless film for all ages. There so much magic and imagination, but the film is also deeply humorous and romantic and there is a complexity and beauty to the film that makes it such an endlessly watchable treat. The classic songs (you have to admire the visually stunning, Busby Berkeley inspired "Be Our Guest number), memorable characters, and beautiful romance were enough to earn the first ever Best Picture Academy Award nomination for an animated feature film. However, Beauty and the Beast is not just a great animated film, it's a great film in general… It's a work of art!

The Filmmaker

Gary Trousdale began working with Disney in 1985 when he was hired as a visual effects on The Black Cauldron. He then worked on story boards for the 1989 film Little Mermaid. His breakthrough came in his directorial debut in 1991 with Beauty and The Beast which went on to become the first ever animated film to earn a Best Picture nomination. At Disney Kirk Wise has always been a regular directing partner of Trousdale as the two worked together on Beauty and the Beast and then The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) afterwards. After completion of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Trousdale moved to Dreamworks Animation where he he completed two made-for-tv short spinoffs of Shrek and Madagascar. In late 2001 Wise helped out with the American distribution of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and then helped out Sony Animation with their release of Open Season in 2006. Trousdale is currently in production on his first theatrical feature for Dreamworks with Master Mind, set for a 2009 release. Wise is also in the early stages of production on his own feature.

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Resources
trailer (youtube)      
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