|(drawn animation and some cgi animation)
Disney returned to the realm of fairy tales and magic to tell a “tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme,” Beauty and the Beast. Taking a few liberties with the classic French story, the studio used music, song and recent advances in computer animation to create a love story set around a small 18th-century village in France.
Plucky beauty Belle is the book-loving daughter of “crazy old Maurice,” an inventor. Local stallion Gaston (every last inch of him’s covered with hair) tries to woo Belle, but she wants more than this provincial life. When Maurice gets lost and captured on his way to a fair, Belle goes into the woods in search of him. This leads to an encounter with Maurice’s captor, the large, hideous Beast, a former prince cursed with his current looks until he can find true love.
Belle offers to take her father’s place in the Beast’s castle, a Gothic mansion filled with animated inanimates-a candleabra named Lumiere, a clock named Cogsworth, a motherly teapot named Mrs. Potts and more. If the Beast can win Belle’s heart, the entire castle will be freed from its curse; but if he can’t control his temper and selfishness, the curse will remain forever.
With stunning animation, a moving score and characters with more depth than most “children’s movies,” Beauty and the Beast was a new Disney masterpiece, an instant classic. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized the studio’s achievement by nominating the film for a Best Picture Oscar, the only animated film to date to receive that honor.
The film was dedicated to the late Howard Ashman, lyricist for both this film’s and The Little Mermaid’s songs. Ashman won a posthumous Oscar with composer Alan Menken for Beauty and the Beast’s title song.
The film remains one of the studio's proudest achievements, and Belle and company continue to appear in direct-to-video adventures like Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle's Magical World.