Beauty And The Beast review

How do you turn the IMAX format from a try-it-once sideshow into a serious commercial proposition? For starters, you stop showing retardo-plot 3-D extravaganzas and wishy-washy crap about dolphins and the Great Barrier Reef. Disney realised this a couple of years ago, plastering the new version of Fantasia 50-feet high. And now they've gone one better, re-releasing the classic that ushered in a new golden age of animation and was the first `toon to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

The time-honoured (though slightly tweaked) story is as emotionally engaging as ever, with our heroine Belle (Paige O'Hara) setting off to save her father from the Beast (Robby Benson), but unexpectedly finding love within his grand castle. Given the substandard Disney fare of the `70s and `80s, the joy here is the depth and detail applied to both the animation and characterisation. Belle is a prime Disney new woman, her vibrant strength and forceful looks aligning her with contemporary values, while the smooth blending of CGI and hand-drawn animation creates astonishing texture - even if the joins begin to show on a screen this size. BATB also boasts a vivid score (including a stunning new song and dance number), raucous humour, unforgettable sidekicks and soaring, startling imagination. The greatest IMAX movie ever? Well it sure beats Encounter In The Third Dimension. And T-Rex: Back To The Cretaceous. And...

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