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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thai Version of 'Beauty and the Beast' Rips Off the Disney Classic

[Source: Yahoo News] by Matt McDaniel
It's a tale as old as time, or so the song says. The classic fable of "Beauty and the Beast" has been told and retold countless times. But there's a difference between reinterpreting a fairy tale and the outright theft of intellectual property.

Slashfilm uncovered the trailer for an animated version of "Beauty and the Beast" that looks to be a shot-for-shot remake of the 1991 Disney version that was the first animated film ever nominated for Best Picture. The Thai version is done in cheap, blocky computer animation, not the sumptuous hand-drawn art of the Disney original. But it looks like every character, setting and situation has been lifted whole cloth from Disney's take. Here's the trailer for the Thai remake:

This version -- the title of which literally translates to "beautiful girl with curse devil" according to -- looks to follow the Disney version beat for beat, right down to the stained-glass windows that tell the backstory. There's a big-eyed brunette with a doddering father. She's pursued by a muscle-bound oaf, gets locked in the Beast's castle, and makes friends with the talking objects there. The Beast even has a rose floating in a glass case. And of course, Beauty and the Beast end up dancing together in a golden ballroom with the camera sweeping around them. 

There are some differences between this and the Disney version, most noticeably in the character designs. The Beast basically has the head of a lion -- it actually looks just like the adult Simba from "The Lion King" -- except with poofy hair and the horns of a water buffalo. The Gaston character has white stripes in his hair and a truly unfortunate beard. And their version of Lumiere is a single candlestick, rather than a candelabra. 

The trailer shows logos for GM Toons and Erawan Edutainment, but a cursory web search shows no results for either company. So the Disney Corporation might be out of luck if they're looking to sue for copyright violation. But the YouTube channel where this trailer was found shows off previews for several other animated movies, including a shameless copy of "Snow White." 

The Thai "Beauty and the Beast" trailer seems to indicate that the movie is available on DVD, but good luck tracking down a copy. You'll have an easier time finding -- not to mention a more enjoyable time watching -- the original Disney version. It was just released for the first time on Blu-ray in a new "Diamond Edition." Take a look at the trailer and clips from Disney's classic: 

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