To me, Beauty and the Beast is kind of the epitome of animated movies and movie musicals. It's got beautiful animation (some of my favorite of Disney movies--I mean, that whole opening sequence!) and I've always found the story to be kind of perfectly paced. At the same time, it's essentially a Broadway musical that was drawn. It's got all the same dramatic elements and songs. The "Belle" sequence feels just like the opening of a musical onstage, doesn't it?
I've seen the musical onstage, too, and I actually find the movie much better. While the movie lends itself so easily to being adapted for the stage and a couple of the added songs are wonderful ("If I Can't Love Her"--just go listen!), something about the story comes alive better in the movie.
Ohh, the music, too! What's interesting about Beauty and the Beast to me personally is that it doesn't really have what I would consider one of my favorite Disney songs in it. There's no "I'll Make a Man Out of You" like Mulan or "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King (two of my all-time favorites, probably because they're so ridiculously fun to sing), and yet it's the movie I love the most. Maybe it's because I love the story so much or relate to Belle so much better than the other princesses (don't we all?). But, if I have to pick a favorite, it's "Something There". It's such a turning point in the story and Belle and the Beast's relationship, where dislike turns to loooove, and I love it.
Well, I can't say this is the most productive or classically critical kind of post, but I've never got anything negative to say about Beauty and the Beast and that's that. I'm not sure how much I'd move it on my list because I'm obviously still way behind and I can objectively rate, but we'll see!
Next up, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, another I know NOTHING about! :D