Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Beauty & The Beast @ the Arclight Tonight

Ah, What a lovely movie poster design.

Disney's B & B was, I think, the last mainstream animated film to use proper voice-actors in its main cast. Ok, there were a few celebrities (Broadway legends) playing Lumiere & Mrs. Potts, but the leads were talented actor/singers and voice-actors not A-List film actors thrown in to attract audiences. After this, Aladdin, Lion King, and pretty much every film of theirs after that casted as many big name non-voice actors as possible. PDI's first film Antz had Woody Allen, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, and every CG film after that (Shrek, Shark's Tale, Over the Hedge, etc) focused entirely on big-name actors.

B & B has an amazingly sophisticated score (written by two Broadway composers), which is why it made it later a great Broadway Musical. While Tim Rice (Lion King) has a history of writing musicals, he pales as a lyricist compared to the late Howard Ashman. (Why anyone decided Elton John (Lion King) or Phil Collins (Tarzan) should write animated musicals is beyond me.) Melodically, every song is memorable (despite some self-plagiarism -- "Be Our Guest" is basically "Le Poisson" from Little Mermaid.)

There's just something very romantic about this movie in a way unmatched by any animated film since. I suppose we're more cynical now. We prefer "chemistry" (lust), sarcasm, and South Park-ian humor now, which is fine, but I do miss the naivety, beauty, and timelessness of this film.

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