Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast

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Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast
Sandra Stewart
There seems to be a trend in movies recently: more interest in the human element, less in hi-tech spectacle. Ironically, two of the best movies I’ve seen in the last couple of years that explore the area of human relationships are cartoons. Both are Disney productions exemplifying the highest standards of artwork, complex musical scores, and a strong storyline. Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin are alike in these ways, but Beauty and the Beast, unlike Aladdin, is a movie with a message. Both movies open with a narrative voice-over, setting the scene. In each the artwork is wonderful. The story Aladdin begins with the terrifying Tiger-God set against a deep, dark sky sparkling with stars. Even though it’s all drawings, you feel the emptiness of the open spaces, and you know that the villain, Jafar, I really evil. Beauty and the Beast opens by moving the viewer through a forest. You really feel as if you are part of the scenery. Even though it’s all a cartoon, the camera leads the eyes of the audience deeper through the tangled growth of forest bushes. What amazes me is how the cartoonists managed to give depth and perspective to that forest. In Aladdin the artwork is at its most brilliant in the wild carpet-rides, first through the cave of treasures and then in the romantic flight over the countryside that Aladdin and Jasmine take. In the case of Aladdin, the star is undoubtedly the Genie. The changes in his shape and size are so fast. This is amazing, especially when fluid movement is not sacrificed to that rapid pace. Beauty and the Beast excel in the flowing movements of all it characters, but especially Belle. She moves like a real ballerina with none of the jerkiness you‘d expect from watching Saturday morning cartoons. In addition, Belle’s face is so expressive. Her acting is better than some Hollywood movie stars. Moods are shown and she has this unruly lock of hair that is always falling across her face and...
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