It feels as though its been a lifetime to wait for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, but all good things come to those who wait, and now the movie’s release is almost upon us. Excitement coupled with intrigue seems to be the vibe from those who are awaiting Beauty and the Beast’s arrival; will this version ever recapture the magic of the animated classic? Will it bring something new and worthwhile to what was already a practically perfect musical? Will the new cast be able to sing?
Well, previously released trailers and TV spots seem to suggest that director Bill Condon has gone with honoring the original movie, right down to the same dialogue being used and the costumes for the central characters being replicated, but he’s also not been afraid to branch out and introduce new aspects, such as a more detailed backstory for Belle, and new characters such as Cadenza (Stanely Tucci). There are also new songs for us to enjoy, courtesy of Alan Menken and Tim Rice, which will be worked into Menken’s original score. As for the singing; a brief clip shown in a TV spot confirms that Emma Watson can indeed hold a tune, though people were of course, quick to compare her to Broadway star Paige O’Hara, who voiced Belle originally. Still, Watson seems to embody the strong minded Belle, and looks to be the perfect princess for young girls to try and emulate. Ahead of the film’s release, the final trailer for Beauty and the Beast has dropped online and can be viewed, above.
Beauty and the Beast stars the aforementioned Watson alongside Dan Stevens as the Beast, with Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, and Kevin Kline as Maurice. The script comes from Evan Spiliotopoulos and Stephen Chbosky, with score from Menken and Howard Ashman, with new songs from Menken and Rice. Director Condon comes to Beauty and the Beast with a strong film musical background, having directed the 2006 movie, Dreamgirls, as well as writing the screenplay for the Oscar winning Chicago.
Executing the perfect reimagining of such a beloved classic is no mean feat, and Condon must pitch it exactly right. Too much like the animated movie and he will be criticized for lack of vision or for trying to copy; too different and new and he’ll come under fire for trying to mess with a classic. It’s a fine line, and we’ll only really know if he’s made it when the movie is released in March. For now though, at least, it looks as though Condon and his cast and crew have done a fine job at delivering a fresh take on a classic.