Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson enters the world of Disney in Beauty and the Beast. The upcoming musical from director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Mr. Holmes) is a live-action remake/re-imagining of the Mouse House’s Oscar-winning 1991 animated musical – itself, based on the classic fairy tale (or rather, the Tale as Old as Time).
The live-action Beauty and the Beast was writen by Condon, along with Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and Stephen Chbosky (who directed Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower). It looks to tell the same general story as its animated predecessor, wherein a selfish prince is cursed and transformed into a terrifying beast by an enchantress. Dan Stevens plays both the human prince and Beast, while Watson plays Belle: an outsider from a local village, who agrees to become the Beast’s prisoner in exchange for her father Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) freedom, after he inadvertently stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and is imprisoned as punishment.
Anyone who’s seen the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast (or any version of the fairy tale, for the matter) knows there’s much more to the story than that. You can get a taste of what the live-action remake has to offer by checking out the new full-length trailer that was classified recently and is now online (following its debut on Good Morning America).
Disney’s original animated Beauty and the Beast is well-renowned for its rich sense of atmosphere (among other things) and the live-action version appears to have captured much of that, if the new trailer is any indication. Condon appears to be taking a similar approach to re-envisioning the “Tale as Old as Time” as Jon Favreau did with his live-action take on Disney’s The Jungle Book this year; drawing on iconography from its animated predecessor, yet at the same time creating a lush color palette and magical atmosphere all of its own. It also boasts unique designs for the Beast’s enchanted servants and castle, as well as some subtle tweaks to the big guy himself.
Speaking of the Beast’s servants: the new trailer includes appearances by a few of them, including the suave Lumiere (voiced by Ewan McGregor), pompous Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and kindly Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson). We will have to wait for a future trailer to hear them perform some of the classic songs from the animated Beauty and the Beast (along with some of the film’s brand-new showtunes), but for the time being their voice-work seems just about pitch-perfect. The same goes for the brief glimpse we get here at Luke Evans as the villainous Gaston.
All things considered, Beauty and the Beast is shaping up to be yet another excellent re-imagining of a beloved installment in Disney’s animated filmography – following in the footsteps of Cinderella and The Jungle Book before it. It may be a tale as old as time, but there seems to be enough that’s new and fresh here to make it one worth listening to again.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures