Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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IMAX makes a big hit even better

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 7, 2002

Movie: The Beauty and the Beast-IMAX

Rating: G

Summary: This is the classic story of a prince who is turned into a hideous beast and locked away in an isolated castle because he didn't understand that beauty comes from within. The only way to reverse the spell is to find true love (and be loved in return), and he's only given until his 21st birthday to do so. He meets the girl of his dreams when she comes to rescue her father, who is being held captive for trespassing in the castle. Belle (voice of Paige O'Hara) makes a promise to stay with the beast (voice of Robby Benson) if he will release her father. He tries to woo her (with the help of his house staff -- who all have been turned into household items by the spell) and make her fall in love with him before it is too late.

My view: This animated movie was originally released in 1991, but in celebration of its 10th anniversary has been re-released in a Large Format/IMAX special edition. It is a fantastic story that enchants kids of all ages. I really enjoyed this film. The movie itself doesn't look too much different on the larger screen, but the colors are extremely vibrant. Because of the extraordinary IMAX sound system, the musical score comes through much cleaner and is quite spectacular. There was also one never-before-seen musical sequence entitled Human Again that was really fun and added a lot to the film. This is definitely a classic that will be enjoyed by many in the enhanced IMAX theaters. Beauty and the Beast is playing locally at the Channelside Regal IMAX Theatre and the Museum of Science and Industry IMAX Theater.

Favorite part: The sound was so clear and crisp in the IMAX theater! I greatly enjoyed the music, and even the dialogue was much more impressive with the enormous sound system.

Least favorite part: Aside from the sheer size of the screen and the color superiority, the picture itself didn't look much different from that of a regular movie screen. I guess I was expecting a little bit more of that "you're part of the movie" sensation most live-action and IMAX movies leave you with.

Recommendations: This is a great movie for kids of all ages, and adults. Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's best, and the theater adds a little special something to the whole experience.

Grade: A

- Billy Norris, 14, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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