Disney’s new course in animation peaked quickly with 1991′s ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ The film is opening in theaters tomorrow for a limited engagement, chiefly to promote sales of the restored home video version in 3D.
As a compromise in order to see a 20-year-old film on the big screen where it belongs, the 3D is tolerable. It adds absolutely nothing to a classic that has held up remarkably well after multiple viewings, and still looks splendid. As I suspected in advance, the only things that looks dated are the brief, computer-animated moments (the dishes in “Be Our Guest,” the ballroom in the title song / dance).
Otherwise, it’s flawless. The performances by a voice cast led by the terrific Paige O’Hara and the growling Robby Benson are superb, with Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury especially notable. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is very much a Broadway musical, so adults who are a bit older may appreciate it more than those raised on more recent “modern” movie musicals, but it really is a splendid marriage of music, words, and visuals, with nary a wasted frame.
Miss it on the big screen at your peril.
‘Beauty and the Beast 3D’ opens wide across the Metroplex tomorrow.