the Buzz for January 29th, 2012


Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers,
and Angela Lansbury
— “Be Our Guest”
(from Beauty and the Beast [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]) — Be Our Guest - Beauty and the Beast (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

For a glorious evening last week, A managed to drag me away from the 2012 Republican presidential race — which, with its daily plot twists and turns and constant sniping about adultery, sex, and foggy finances, has proven to be a quite adequate substitute for my dearly departed favorite soap opera — and to the movies, where we took in a showing of Disney’s 1991 touchstone Beauty and the Beast, which has returned to theaters this month with a dazzling new update just in time to mark its twentieth anniversary. For this latest reissue, the film has been converted — wholly unnecessarily — to RealD 3D, which required special glasses that I had to wear on top of my regular glasses and which had given me an ginormous headache by the time the credits rolled. Still, it was worth it for the rare chance to revisit one of my all-time favorite films once more on the big screen; even with all the three-dee hoohah, the masterfully hand-drawn animation is as sumptuous as ever — warm and inviting in a way that none of those so-called masterpieces from Pixar will ever be, if you axe me — and the soundtrack — anchored by this stunning set piece, still a magnificent mind-blower, even two decades hence, with all its dancing dishes and frisky flatware moving around in expertly executed choreography — continues to stand tall as Disney’s most brilliant best. (Oh, and young or old: when that garish Gaston meets his ultimate fate during the film’s exquisitely intense climax, you’ll still stand up and cheer.)