Have you dreamed of one day watching Belle and the Beast waltz beneath a massive chandelier or a herd of wildebeests nearly stomp young Simba to death in glorious 3D on the big screen? Well, that fantasy will come half true - both Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King will be released in Blu-ray 3D in 2011.
Walt Disney Pictures announced their slate of Blu-ray 3D releases for this year, which includes those two 2D-animated hits, alongside more recent, digitally-created features like Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons.
Last summer Disney released the teaser trailer for its planned theatrical re-release of Beauty and the Beast in 3D and announced their intention to do the same with The Lion King. Word got out a while ago that the studio had scrapped said plans after the early results of the post-conversion process on the hand-drawn films proved to be less than satisfactory. Apparently, the Mouse House's stereoscopic technicians have been much more successful in converting the movies to the third dimension for Blu-ray.
No less than fifteen titles under the Disney banner will be, to paraphrase the studio, "meticulously dimensionalized" for Blu-ray 3D this year, including last year's Tangled and TRON: Legacy, and previous 3D titles like Bolt and G-Force.
Computer-animated fare can be readily converted into the 3D format as it requires a relatively simpler rendering of each individual film frame - compared to the process for converting live-action footage that was not shot using 3D camera rigs. 2D or traditional animation is a trickier proposition when it comes to being converted into 3D, as the visuals are less suited for the format and tend to turn out more blurred and disproportionate as a result.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is also arriving on Blu-ray 3D this year and the cult stop-motion picture had a successful run in theaters as a 3D feature that was re-released every October for a couple years in a row. Nightmare benefits from the immersive atmosphere of 3D as it was shot in such a fashion that the camera often seems to be exploring the Tim Burton-designed worlds of Halloween Town and the Christmas land.
Both Beauty and the Beast and Lion King have their share of moments that could look all the more impressive when fully realized in three dimensions - specifically, the previously referenced "Beauty and the Beast" musical sequence and the wildebeest stampede scene. We'll have to wait and see whether the films as a whole benefit from being viewed in 3D on home television screens.
Depending on the success of these classic animated features on Blu-ray 3D, Disney may well go ahead and release many more entries from its beloved cartoon vault. It's entirely possible that flicks like Aladdin and The Little Mermaid or even much older titles like Snow White and Fantasia could be made available for viewing in the format as well.
But is that something you're really interested in seeing? Sound off in the comments section below.