4K March 2020 - Beauty and the Beast (1991)One of their biggest animated hits, Disney’s take on the French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast has arrived on 4K Ultra HD. Ah, but how does it fare on the format ? Is it, well, a beauty, or a beast?

The story: You likely know the story. Village girl is being hit upon by the local big-muscled, small-brained lunkhead, while elsewhere in the kingdom a rude prince has been turned into a beast via a spell. The girl and the beast cross paths and enmity turns to empathy and beyond – and all before the last petal of an enchanted flower hits the floor. Add a bunch of crockery and assorted other tableware that’s sprung to life plus a spattering of musical numbers and you have an animated love story treat.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had feelings for this monster.”

The 4K disc: While predominantly animated the traditonal way – complete with separate teams of animators for each main character – Beauty and the Beast also features some computer assistance. Most notably this applies to the big dance number near film’s end. The great news? It all scrubs up a treat, be it hand drawn or pixelated. Detail is superb, without a line out of place, and the addition of HDR has been done judiciously – there’s no turning it up to 11 as some animated features have suffered. As such, the extended range of light to dark comes across subtly but effectively when called upon.

A whole new world… oops, wrong Disney movie. Erm, anyway, a brand new Dolby Atmos mix graces this release, and it’s a veritable treat for the ears. From enthusiastic employment of surround channels through to subtle use of height speakers to fluff up the many musical numbers, the sound really is as clear as a Belle. Songs ranging from the opening number, Belle, through to See My Ves– sorry, Be Our Guest, sound alive like we’ve never heard them before. As with many Disney 4K Ultra HD releases things do require a little nudge above typical 4K listening levels, with those who do so definitely being rewarded.

This is a solo 4K disc release, and features no bonus goodies.

Release date: March 4, 2020
Format: 4K Ultra HD
The voices of Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.