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By Alexander Alexiou

What is the measure of a good film? So many Disney classics are hailed as being great, but does that mean they are on the same level? How do we separate the exceptional few? It is my opinion that a good--no, GREAT--Disney animated film must meet the following:
- It must be enjoyable by all audiences, or at least a vast majority/variety.
- It must have characters that the audience can sympathize and empathize with.
- It must have a good story. (That is enjoyable the whole way through.)
- It much touch the audience and evoke emotions from it. (This goes further than just laughing. It must make the audience cry at the right times, get excited at the right times, etc.)
- The Animation MUST be GOOD! (There are very few, if any, (generally liked) Masterpieces that are ugly. The movie must be beautiful to look at.)
- It must have great songs.
- It must be timeless.

Beauty and the Beast is one of those exquisite and exceptional films. Beauty and the Beast appeals to all audiences and is loved by all audiences, no matter their age or gender. Many Disney films, while they may also be enjoyed by anyone, appeal primarily to children, as that is their target audience. And while a child may grow up with, oh let's say Oliver and Company and enjoy it for no other reason than that, if an adult were to see the movie for the first time, he/she might be put off by it, and its child-targeted theme. This is not so, with Beauty and the Beast, as it is a primarily adult themed movie, but not in the way The Hunchback of Notre Dame was. (Hunchback was a great movie and may be discussed in another DIScussion, so I am moving on.)

In addition to appealing to a variety of audiences, the movie must also have enjoyable characters, this also helps add to the variety of people who enjoy the movie. The movie contains many characters that the audience instantly falls in love with, and as the movie continues, the audience continues to feel each of the characters' happy points, sad points, angry points. All of the characters in the movie are three-dimensional, personality wise. They are not just one way, as with other Disney films, but rather multi-faceted. Audiences can relate to the characters. And while all Disney films seem to have those goofy sidekicks, love them or hate them; it is more apparent in other films, what the characters are and that they are to distract from the serious parts with their humor. (These characters are usually for the childrenís benefit.) Beauty also has these characters, but they are so well done that they may not at first be recognized as such. All of the characters serve important roles in the story, even the ensemble roles. For me I was able to empathize with all of the characters, but mostly with the Beast and Belle.

The story has to be good and has to touch the audience. I think the BATB story is wonderful, and is a story that has the power to deeply move me. It is the only Disney movie that has ever made me cry uncontrollably. I was 4 Ĺ years old when I saw the movie for the first time in theatres and I remember crying and crying leaving the theater. I believe this was sparked on by the Beastís "Death" and my mom kept reassuring me that the Beast was alive, and I think I knew that, but it didnít matter. Whether my crying spell was solely to blame on the movie or other factors, I donít remember, but till this day, every time, the Beast laying dying, and he says the words "you came back," I get choked up. Even now writing this and thinking about it, and I am not a person who gets emotional easily.

Another part in the film does this for me and that is when the Beast lets Belle go, so she can tend to her sick father. Giving up his dream of ever becoming human again, because he has finally learned to love and puts her happiness above his own. (the only other animated films to choke me up were, The Iron Giant, where the giant says "superman" as he crashes into the comet, and The Land Before Time) In addition, Beauty and the Beast has the power to make me laugh at the right parts, feel good at the right parts, and angry, and worried at the right parts. The score for the movie and the story make it so wonderful to watch.

In addition to a wonderful score and story, the film has wonderful animation, and it isnít just the style of drawing, but also the scenery, the characters, clothing, color techniques, matching the moods of the film with the changing seasons.

Beauty and the Beast also has great songs. Everyone of them is enjoyable, and adds to the story/movie. It has the musical feeling, and well, itís now a musical. But it also has a gothic feeling at times, and a special close intimate feeling at times. This is another example of the multi dimensional feeling of the film. Well, I canít really pick a favorite as they are all good, but I think the title song Beauty and the Beast, sung by Angela Lansbury is very nice.

I believe that we can all agree that Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time. This story will never age and will most undoubtedly remain of favorite of the audience for as long as it is around.

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