Daily Archives: September 8, 1995

A Beauty and a Beast

From the Chicago Reader (September 8, 1995). — J.R.

Arabian Knight

Rating *** A must see

Directed by Richard Williams

Written by Williams and Margaret French

With the voices of Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Beals, Eric Bogosian, Toni Collette, and Jonathan Winters

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

No stars (Worthless)

Directed by Beeban Kidron

Written by Douglas Carter Beane

With Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner, Arliss Howard, Jason London, and Chris Penn.

It might be argued that a talent for abstract thought defines the radically different achievements of Arabian Knight and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. In Arabian Knight–a wildly imaginative and somewhat delirious animated feature that’s reportedly been in the works for over a quarter century — it’s a talent for graphic abstraction, a talent that is its own reward; this movie takes the highly dangerous step of pursuing formal beauty above all else, story and characters be damned. By contrast, in To Wong Foo — a terribly written, terribly directed, terribly designed, and for the most part terribly acted (if nobly intentioned) comedy –i t’s a talent for pure concept: three drag queens driving from New York to Hollywood enlighten bigoted middle Americans on the subjects of style and beauty.… Read more »