I had children later in life. I am now in my mid 40s with three kids below the age of 10. It makes for some interesting afternoons. This Sunday I thought about loading them all in the car (ok Minivan) and taking them to see the new Beauty and the Beast live action movie. I showed them the preview and well, one of them was scared, one didn’t care, and the other said sure. Instead of suffering through with two kids that didn’t want to go I went a different way.

I decided instead to invoke the fantastic Apple TV device, sign into iTunes and purchase the animated version, which we sat and watched with some cut up watermelon, raspberries, and cheese with crackers. It was a blast, the kids enjoyed it but I also found myself recalling the way this movie hit audiences years ago when it first came out.

The thing holds up. I have downloaded some of the classics (Snow White, etc) and they don’t. The animation isn’t great, the audio is meh, and the kids wander off quickly. They will someday watch those and enjoy them, but not at the age they are now.

The 1991 animated movie though was one of the earliest to intertwine (in a positive way) computer animation with hand drawn characters. The waltz scene in the massive ballroom is still impressive. So being the nerd that I am I looked up some stuff that made me even more impressed with this now 26-year-old film.

They weren’t on the normal Disney feature production schedule which allowed four years per film. They did this thing in two. The ballroom was a 3-d simulated space that these two characters waltzed around seamlessly. Now, in 2017 that seems like child’s play for modern computers but remember at this point in time not every home had a PC and those that did were likely still coping with dialup modems, the internet was an infant, and email hardly existed.

I implore you to watch this film again and consider not just the amazing storyline, but also the technological breakthrough that Disney (and Pixar who was part of this software) achieved when putting this out for us to enjoy.

Hat’s off to Disney and I hope they continue to innovate and surprise us for years to come.

If you are wondering my featured image here has nothing to do with the movie. I just like it, and its computer imagery so it kind of fit the topic.

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