Disney started their Blu Ray venture with classic animation titles like Sleeping Beauty, which they restored to amazing color and detail. You could see the original brushstrokes and texture of the cels. Now they’re hitting their ‘90s era rebirth with the Oscar nominee Beauty and the Beast.
This is an interesting case study because it’s a blend of styles. There are still hints of the hand crafted animation with a pristine sheen of digital assistance. In a few establishing shots, the clarity is so unreal you’d think these animated locations really existed and they pointed a camera at them. Other times, you totally see a still background with moving cel characters in front.
Cool details to notice include the texture of the paper behind drawn French shops, and white specs of uncolored paper where a brush may have missed a spot. The character art is flawless, especially now with the sharp lines of high definition. Somehow, they made the snow glow like crystal.
Most impressively, the colors blend together. It’s nice when colors pop out of a scene, and Beauty and the Beast is certainly a colorful movie set in a European fantasy realm. Perhaps the advance in animation was blending the colors in a way that simulates a realistic scene. That stands out on the Blu Ray.