While there is undoubtedly much excitement surrounding the forthcoming release of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, there are also concerns. Trailers, teasers and images released thus far have all proven themselves to be worthy of much discussion and while the film certainly looks magical, there is one aspect of the movie that is worrying fans on social media, and that is the appearance of the enchanted characters. The Beast, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Lumière and all the household staff are under a curse to alter their appearance, but while the animated version delivers highly loveable animated teapots, clocks and candlesticks, the live-action versions of the popular characters seem a little less appealing.
Really, it’s simply because they look much more realistic than their animated counterparts, which therefore takes away some of the cuteness factor, and it remains to be seen whether that will affect the audience’s ability to connect with the film. Now, another look at these characters has emerged, only this time it’s the staff in their human form.
Beauty and the Beast Movie News have tweeted a new photo of a movie theater display, showing a staircase with all the characters surrounding it. On the left of the picture we have Emma Watson as Belle, Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Gaston and LeFou, respectively, and Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s dad. In the center, ascending the stairs toward the dancing figures of Belle and the Beast, are the enchanted versions of Cogsworth, Lumière, Mrs. Potts, and Chip, but it’s the right hand side of the picture that delivers something new.
Just below the picture of the Beast (Dan Stevens), we have Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, followed by the dashing Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as Lumière and Cogsworth. Underneath them are Audra McDonald as Garderobe (the enchanted closet), and Stanley Tucci as Cadenza. The character of Garderobe is enlarged significantly from the animated version and, as Cadenza’a name might suggest, Tucci’s character is very musical. In fact, he is the piano and will sing in the movie. Finishing the lineup is Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster and girlfriend of Lumière.
It’s easy to see that, like the live-action Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast will be highly stylized and true to the period of its setting. Not a bad thing, necessarily, since it gives rise to some fabulous costumes and opulent sets, but will audiences warm to these characters, whether in human or enchanted form? In all honesty, if this Beauty and the Beast follows the animated version then we won’t really have the human forms on screen for very long, so the human form won’t matter all that much. As for the CGI enchanted versions, it will be down to the stellar voice cast to really make these characters endearing to us, and they’ve got quite the task ahead of them.
The strength and overall magic of the movie will carry it through regardless; the relationship between Belle and the Beast, the brutish misogynistic behavior of Gaston and the wonderful music of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman are all things we are looking forward to, and though these characters might take some getting used to, that Disney magic can do wonderful things.