Beauty and the Beast


Walt Disney Home Ent., $29.99

WHEN I TRIED to give away my copy of this special-edition two-disc set to a friend's daughter, the child refused to take it. She thought it pass魭the equivalent of smelly old 1991 clothes. Its immortal Broadway-musical score was no match for Britney. Is there really anything new and special about this DVD (released Oct. 8)? Not for kids, but film buffs may just have to have it.

You get three versions: the original release; the original with one added musical sequence, "Human Again," wherein the crockery and mops waltz to celebrate the Beast's getting lucky with Belle; and the working print, with lots of scenes represented not by finished animation but pencil sketches. "Human Again" comes off humdrum in its finished form. It's also redundant, slowing the progress of the story, which is why it was cut. The tune seems unmemorable, the action uninspired—more like a dance class than an actual dance. But the rough first draft of the sequence, done in pencil sketches, is a gas. And the sketchy sequences in general are not for nerds only. Most of them pack more evocative power than the overpolished, denatured final version.

This suggests that, in its dire hour, Disney should loosen up its animation, forsake its tradition of perfection and total global mind control, and encourage its animators to let their imagination rip. The contemptible interactive game features on this DVD suggest that Disney has lost its mind. Memo to Eisner: time to shackle the MBAs and unshackle the artists.

Tim Appelo

DIRECTOR BARRY Sonnenfeld unshackles his tongue to comment on Big Trouble (Oct. 8), thankfully unaided by Tim Allen. The same date sees the Italian weepie The Son's Room, J.Lo in Enough (with extra music video!), and Ethan Hawke as cannibal in 1993's Alive. Christopher Guest and Kevin Bacon comment on 1989's The Big Picture, which also boasts a few deleted scenes. Contain your excitement: Scooby-Doo claims Oct. 11 for itself as a DVD release date. Cast member commentaries are promised but not specified— so perhaps buyers will be privy to the minds of young marrieds Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. What a treat.


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