Disney's Beauty and the Beast on IMAX
faces many hurdles in restoring this classic to a medium it wasn't
speaking with some who have had the opportunity to see Beauty
and the Beast on IMAX early, I'm happy to report that some of
the concerns expressed in the article below (which was written
in early 2001) have been addressed and are no longer concerns.
Unlike the Sorcerer's segment in IMAX Fantasia, there is reportedly
no distortion with Beauty and the Beast and the images are very
big congratulations to the team that has apparently done a nearl
flawless transition to IMAX.
Joe Tracy) Once upon a time, in a not so faraway land, a young
executive lived by Sleeping Beauty's castle. Although he had everything
his heart desired, the executive wanted some things to be bigger
and better. So then, one night in March 2002, a customer, inspired
by the castle, offered the executive a single ticket in exchange
for shelter in an IMAX theater to witness a fable brought back
1, 2002, Disney is releasing its animated classic, Beauty and
the Beast, not to the big screen, but to the big, big, big
screen - IMAX. What's unclear is why Disney chose this medium
to release this timeless classic when it could have released it
to a much larger audience on widescreen, a medium that surely
would reach deeper pockets.
heavily invested in IMAX, which is likely the main factor in its
decision. Beauty and the Beast will pack IMAX theaters
in droves and possibly breathe additional life into a struggling
venture. But Disney faces these problems in route:
There aren't that many IMAX theaters in the U.S. Thus Disney
is alienating a large portion of the US audience who would pay
to see the re-release of Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty and the Beast wasn't created for IMAX, but rather
for widescreen. It was created for 35mm negatives and will now
be blown up to 65mm negatives. So what happens when you take
an image and blow it up so much? Take a look at Figure 1 and
Figure 2 below to see how an image becomes distorted when blown
1: Original Image
2: Original Image Blown Up (please see note at top of this article
as this concern has been addressed and there is no distortion
on IMAX as shown in this image).
When you blow a picture up any movement has a greatly exaggerated
effect on the eyes. Disney could face problems in keeping scenes
like the spinning camera sequence in the ballroom from making
people dizzy and possibly sick.
have an extremely hard time overcoming all these obstacles. But
even with these obstacles, there is one guarantee -- Beauty
and the Beast will likely become the highest-grossing "IMAX
follows a policy of allowing only educational films to be shown,
Disney is crafting educational supplement material to support
the film as "educational". Here's what a Disney press
release says about the material:
advantage of the unique educational opportunities offered by Beauty
and the Beast, the Studio is creating two complete resource
guides -- one complete program for elementary school students,
and another for middle school students -- to assist teachers looking
for real-world examples of their everyday assignments. The guides
will include lesson plans in Language Arts and Reading, Social
Studies, Science and New Technology, Art, Music and Dance, and
to the distortion issue is that it has spent over a year "enhancing
the image and refining character faces, backgrounds, and special
effects, in order to let the film shine brightly on the giant
screen." This is also what Disney said about The Sorcerer's
Apprentice segment of Fantasia 2000, which received many complaints
concerning the overall distortion.
and the Beast - A Timeless Classic
IMAX problems aside, Beauty and the Beast is a timeless
classic and remains the only animated film to ever be nominated
for an Academy Award. The roots of the movie go way back to a
time when Walt Disney was crafting animated stories. Walt had
discussed the idea of Beauty and the Beast with several
of his team members. The story was being crafted until everyone
hit a road block on what would occur after Belle was imprisoned.
At this point, the movie was sidelined until decades later when
producer Don Hahn began production with a small group of animators
was a very challenging story to tell," says Hahn. "In
the original fairy tale, Beauty's father goes to the castle and
picks a rose. The beast is enraged, throws him in a dungeon but
agrees to let him go if he sends his daughter back in his place.
She passively follows her father's instructions and the rest of
the story is essentially about two people having dinner together
every night with the beast repeatedly asking her to marry him."
that the story needed to be energized with more creative scenarios
and "making our heroine move things forward by valiantly
going to the castle on her won to fight for her father's release,"
One of the
most fascinating aspects of Beauty and the Beast is that
it breaks the mold of many animated films. There is no clear cut
of our films, the hero has some outside obstacle that he's fighting
against, whether it's a witch or a dragon or a madman," says
supervising animator Glean Keane. "In this film, atlthough
Gaston becomes a definite threat, the beast's real foe is himself
and the real struggle is an internal one with his own nature.
This made the character much more interesting to work with."
For the IMAX release of Beauty and the Beast, Disney is
adding a new scene that was cut from the original. It is a song
called "Human Again". Featured in the hit Broadway musical
Beauty and the Beast,"Human Again" is an upbeat, festive
sequence in which the enchanted characters dream about what they'll
do when they change back into their original forms. This marks
the first time that Disney has ever animated a new sequence for
a previously-released feature.
What Happens After IMAX?
It is likely that Disney will release Beauty and the Beast
to widescreen theaters after its IMAX performance. Disney is keeping
very tight lipped about its plans, however, as not to hamper the
publicity surrounding the IMAX release. It is also likely that
Disney will release Beauty and the Beast to DVD in late
2002, just in time for the Christmas shopping season. The DVD
will likely get royal treatment along the lines of the Toy
Story Ultimate Toy Box 3-Disc set and the Fantasia
Anthology 3-Disc set. And should all these likely scenarios come
about then fans of Beauty and the Beast will likely live
happily ever after.
is the publisher of Digital
Media FX and the author of Web
Marketing Applied. All Beauty and the Beast press images
used are (c) Walt Disney Pictures.
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