Relive a Disney classic that broke boundaries and made history as Disney celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Beauty and the Beast.” “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” aired on ABC and blends the classic animated film with some live performances and a look back at history hosted by Rita Moreno. It’s a beautiful way to pay tribute to the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

It remains one of the most beautifully animated films to this day and tells an amazing story that still resonates to this day. It really is a tale as old as time with songs as old as rhyme. We get to see some amazing live performances of the songs with H.E.R. portraying Belle and Josh Groban portraying the beast. There are also some great performances from Martin Short as Lumiere, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, David Allan Grier as Cogsworth and Joshua Henry as Gaston. All of these people are amazingly talented and it’s wonderful to get to see them bring a live action performance to blend with the animation.

My only real complaint is the live action version of the beast. I have no complaint about Josh Groban’s singing or his performance once the beast becomes human, but the beast costume he had to wear was extra creepy. He did his best to distract from the creepy costume with his amazing voice and talent, but that costume was just too distracting for me.

Something that brought about mixed reactions in my house was Shania Twain’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast.” She sang it live with Alan Menken playing the piano. I thought she sang it beautifully, and it was a nice tribute to the legendary Angela Lansbury who passed away earlier this year. However, my wife was not a fan. She wanted Celine Dion, who sang the commercially released version in the 1990s, to sing it. While I understand that wish, given Dion’s own health issues and the fact that Twain had been cast as Mrs. Potts for everything else, I think it only made sense to have Twain sing the song.

I would like to see more tributes to Disney classics like this one. “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” are three others just from the Disney Renaissance that are worthy of this treatment. We can also go further back to other classics including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Cinderella.” Plus, it’s a way to mix in some live action performances without having to go all in on a feature length live action film. We’ve seen those can be hit or miss; this was more of a hit. Let’s have more like this please.

Rating: 4 stars

What did you think of “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration?”

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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