Disney not only broke multiple box office records in 2016, the studio and its affiliates released multiple critical darlings over the course of the year; among them, the original animated films Zootopia and Moana as well as the live-action retelling of Disney's 1967 animated feature film, The Jungle Book. The Mouse House aims to get 2017 started on the right foot too, by making its first major theatrical release another Disney animated classic-turned live-action movie, in the form of Beauty and the Beast.
The live-action Beauty and the Beast is co-written and directed by Oscar-winner Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) and retells the "Tale as old as time" about Belle (Emma Watson), an intelligent young woman who is imprisoned by a selfish prince who has been magically transformed into a "hideous" beast. Disney's marketing for the film to date has drawn heavily on iconography from the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast, at the same time teasing the musical performances of its stars, Watson in particular. That continues with the latest TV spot for the film, too.
Disney debuted a new TV spot for Beauty and the Beast during the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony (one which you can watch, above), in the process offering a preview of Watson performing yet another famous song from the film's animated predecessor, "Bell (Reprise)". Elsewhere, USA Today premiered a fresh screenshot from the movie, further teasing the live-action rendition of the famous "Beauty and the Beast" musical number (aka. the ballroom dance sequence) from the 1991 animated feature. You can check out said image, below.
Watson's singing voice as Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast re-imagining was only recently officially revealed by Disney and will no doubt continue to be a major discussion point for the film even after it hits theaters, especially for those moviegoers who grew up watching the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast and hearing Paige O'Hara perform Belle's songs. Other actors have performed Belle's solo numbers before, most notably Susan Egan (who, as it were, also voiced Meg in Disney's animated Hercules) in the Beauty and the Beast Broadway stage musical adaptation, but naturally Watson's performance begs more direct comparisons to O'Hara's original work.
Similarly, the live-action Beauty and the Beast itself will undoubtedly continue to draw comparisons to its Best Picture Oscar-nominated animated predecessor, especially among longtime fans of the latter who are hopeful that Condon and his collaborators succeed at putting a reverent, yet fresh spin on the Disney version of the fairy tale with their reimagining. Based on the footage like that featured in the Golden Globe TV spot, Beauty and the Beast continues to indeed show the potential to be another hit Mouse House retelling on the level with The Jungle Book, in terms of storytelling quality (to say nothing of the movie's box office prospects).
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) release date: Mar 17, 2017