Today, Beauty and the Beast premiered in 3D, and the urge to watch one of my favorite movies on a giant screen in the dark while eating popcorn was too strong to ignore!
Actually, it’s been too strong to ignore for a couple of weeks now. I started trying to buy tickets on January 4, although our local IMAX wasn’t quite ready for me. By Saturday, less than one week until the big premiere, they still didn’t have their showtimes updated. Clearly, Tinseltown in Rochester wasn’t taking this as seriously as me.
Finally, on Tuesday, they released their schedule and … the IMAX was playing Mission: Impossible. I ended up settling for a closer theatre showing the movie in RealD 3D.
IMAX or RealD 3D, I have to admit, my butt was in that seat tonight not because it was OMG3D but because it was Beauty and the Beast on a giant screen. In the dark. With popcorn. I don’t think I can repeat that enough.
Disney movies are part of my DNA. They were always on in the house when I growing up. But I never saw them in theatres. Beauty and the Beast is overflowing with wonderful and expressive secondary and even tertiary characters. There’s so much amazing detail that it deserves to be on a big screen. I was extremely excited about seeing the love story unfold the way it was meant to be seen.
But, before we could enjoy a classic, we were treated to a really cute new short, Tangled Ever After. The 5-minute film takes place as Rapunzel and Eugene make their vows before lords, ladies, loyal subjects and reformed criminals, but their nuptials are not exactly center stage here. Instead, we find ourselves on a rollicking adventure through the kingdom alongside Maximus and Pascal. Not only was it full of great slap-stick and visual effects, it was especially effecting because we already know and care about these characters. Two thumbs up. I really hope they’re planning more in this vein!
As our feature started, I was immediately impressed by the depth and weightiness of the film. As we’re led through the stained glass scenes of the Beast’s transformation, the windows are framed by twigs and leaves. It immediately expands your field of vision, and it’s stunning! When I think of 3D, I think of things popping out of the screen. I think of Mickey’s Philharmagic, where you find yourself getting up close and personal with instruments, bubbles, corks and Donald Duck himself.
This is nothing like that. Because it was originally produced using Disney’s Computer Animation Production System, Beauty and the Beast already had a lot of depth to it. The animators “shot” it more like a real movie, and the 3D conversion really just builds on that, deepening the layers. The ballroom scene, in particular, was beautiful. It was like watching a real, flesh-and-blood film, and it gave me a bit of goose flesh.
It wasn’t perfect. There were several scenes that looked flat. For me, most of Maurice’s scenes in the first half of the film were a little off. The first musical number, where Belle walks through town in the morning, was especially flat; most of the characters look almost like paper dolls. But we’re quibbling here. More than anything else, it was awesome to be able to see (and hear) an old favorite in a real theatre.
Even if I couldn’t sing along.
Did you see the “tale as old as time” in its new format? What’d you think? Let us know in the comments below!