Book Review: “Tale as Old As Time: The Art And Making of Beauty and the Beast” – Updated 2017 Version

Hi everyone!

We received the updated book Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast to review. This updated version of the original 2010 book was released on January 31st, 2017, just in time for the new film – it includes a forward by Bill Condon (director of the live-action version), and new chapters that include both the 2017 movie as well as the New Fantasyland expansion to the Magic Kingdom that opened in 2012.

Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast begins with the history of the classic tale, well before the original animated version came into play. And not only the origins that go back hundreds of years, but original story artwork from Disney artists before the 1991 film was created (it turned 25 last year). Early character art often looks unlike what the animated film became.

In 1989, a handful of the animated film creators and animators took a trip to France, which inspired the work that became the animated Beauty and the Beast. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise were tapped to direct the film, and up until then their only directing experience was the former Epcot attraction Cranium Command that was housed in the Wonders of Life pavilion.

Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast  then continues as the evolution of the original film, including concept art and the death of Howard Ashman along the way, his talent and influence permeates everything that Disney has done with Beauty and the Beast. The book does also include a chapter on the stage version before heading into New Fantasyland.

For those who already have the original version of the book, there are about 40 pages that I can see within the newest chapters. Not everying is 100% currently accurate, like Gaston’s Tavern no longer serves the pork shank that was the speciality when it opened. It also goes into the creation of the Grey Stuff (which actually has a different look at a temporary restaurant at Disneyland). There are pages on the design of The Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction. And then the last major chapter is about the new film, with concept art and story information – including the new looks of Beast, Cogsworth and Lumiere, and how Dan Stevens had to play Beast in motion capture.

I highly recommend Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast for anyone who wants to know more about the progression of the Beauty and the Beast story.

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