Beauty and The Beast, Disney’s timeless tale of a brave outdoorsman and the woman who turns him down because she’d rather spend her days perusing a smelly ox-man’s book collection, finally gets the Blu-ray treatment. And it’s definitely worth buying. Disney’s done some great work with their Blu-ray conversions, and this is one of the best. The picture is sharp – every strand of Gaston’s chest hair can be seen, and the glass eyes of his many trophies look even deader than they did on the big screen. And the sound is perfect – the movie’s centerpiece, in which the townspeople sing a rousing tribute to the film’s hero (the aptly named song “Gaston”), will make even the most jaded viewer stand up and expectorate. Viewers can watch the original version, or a Director’s Cut, which unfortunately does not feature Gaston. Come to think of it, it’s a little odd that the press release I received didn’t have much to say about the film’s hero.
“Beauty and the Beast features a cast of top vocal talent. Veteran stage actress and singer Paige O’Hara is the voice of Belle, one of Disney’s most beloved and independent heroines, and Robby Benson (TV’s “American Dreams”) delivers a powerful portrayal of the Beast. Three-time Oscar®-nominated screen star (The Manchurian Candidate in 1963, The Picture of Dorian Grey in 1946, and Gaslight in 1945) and six-time Golden Globe® award winner (TV’s “Murder, She Wrote” in 1992, 1990, 1987 and 1985, The Manchurian Candidate in 1963, and The Picture of Dorian Greyin 1946), Angela Lansbury gives a bubbly performance as Mrs. Potts. The late Jerry Orbach (TV’s“Law and Order,” “House of Mouse”) shines as the voice of Lumiere, the passionate candelabra, and David Ogden-Stiers (TV’s “M*A*S*H,” Lilo & Stitch) is Cogsworth, the tightly-wound mantel clock who functions as the head of the household.”
See? No mention of Gaston, or the great Richard White, who voiced the character, and brought depth, pathos, and nuance to what could have been a stereotypical Disney leading man. I don’t get it. Did these people watch the same movie I did? Anyway. While the movie still has the same downbeat ending, kids may enjoy the part with the singing plates.