Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast is the cause of much excitement, but it’s fair to say that there’s also much fear and trepidation over exactly how the movie will turn out. Will director Bill Condon manage to successfully bring a new, magical take on the animated classic to the big screen, or will his adaptation fall short and leave us all wishing it had never been touched? Hopefully, it’s the former – and certainly the trailers, images and TV spots that have already been released show promise – but, let’s face it, it’s the music of the movie that will make it or break it.
The original songs and score for Beauty and the Beast were composed by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, and won universal critical acclaim as well as multiple awards including the Grammy and the Oscar for Best Song for its titular number, ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Performed in the original movie by Angela Lansbury, the song was then released as a duet by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. The same pattern has been followed this time around, with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ being released as a single by Ariana Grande and John Legend, and performed in the movie by Emma Thompson, as Mrs. Potts.
Following a brief showcase of Emma Watson’s vocals, as Belle, the first clip of Thompson singing the iconic number has appeared online after being played at a gala event at the Toronto exhibit at the Casa Loma Castle. Take a listen (and sing along), above.
Thompson is no stranger to musical theater, having performed in Sweeney Todd and Me and My Girl, but it’s rare to see (or hear) her in a musical on screen. While the clip is only brief, it does confirm that Thompson can deliver the number beautifully, and it should fit well in the film, as Belle and the Beast dance around the ballroom. In fact, similar to Lansbury’s version, Thompson’s take on the song could well prove far more popular and enduring than the single from Grande and Legend.
The full, original Beauty and the Beast soundtrack will be recreated for the live-action film, so we can also look forward to Ewan McGregor singing ‘Be Our Guest,’ and Belle and the Beast’s duet for ‘Something There.’ Menken has also written new songs for the movie, with lyricist Tim Rice, and they will include new numbers for Stanley Tucci and harpsichord Cadenza, as well as end credits songs for Josh Groban and Celine Dion.
On screen, from what has been seen in trailers, it looks as though each musical number will be lavishly staged and choreographed, which will certainly enhance the already impressive soundtrack. We’ll be able to judge for ourselves (and minutely critique every vocal), when the soundtrack is released on March 1oth, a week before the movie arrives.
Source: Brief Take